Analysis of the Tragedy Othello

Topics: Othello, Iago, William Shakespeare Pages: 3 (944 words) Published: September 2, 2008
William Shakespeare is considered to be among the greatest playwrights that have ever lived. He has written dozens and dozens of brilliant plays, most of those plays have been made into movies. One such play that has been made into a movie is “Othello.” The play “Othello” is one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies. It is about a black general in the Italian army, Othello, and what happened between him and his wife, Desdemona. The main villain in this play is Iago; who is a soldier under Othello’s command. Iago tells Othello numerous lies about Desdemona and Othello’s friend, and former right-hand man, Cassio. Shakespeare covers quite a few of the major issues that are still facing society today. These themes such as ethnicity, betrayal, and love are what make this play one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies.

One of the more noticeable themes that Shakespeare discusses in this play is Ethnicity. Othello is a moor that somehow managed to climb his way up the ladder to the rank of general. At this time in history, blacks were considered to be barbarians, and murderous heathens. It is a very rare thing that a black man would be able to obtain the rank of general in a predominantly Caucasian army. It caused quite a bit of jealousy among the other officers serving under Othello. This element may have fueled the fire behind Iago’s lies and hatred for Othello. Another example when the ethnicity of Othello caused a problem was when he and Desdemona were married. Desdemona’s father is furious over his daughter marrying a moor. They even end up going to an Italian court to settle this matter. Normally Othello would have been executed for his actions, but because he was needed to lead the army he was allowed to stay married to Desdemona. This decision by the courts is another element that contributed to Iago’s betrayal, because if the court had ruled against Othello, Rodrigo wouldn’t have had a reason to pay Iago to spread his lies and deception.

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