Honor in Othello and Hamlet

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Honor
Being one of the central themes in Othello and Hamlet, honor is used in very strange ways by Shakespeare. He has a way of showing how his characters can be very honorable or have a lack there of. He displays how honor is interwoven with personal integrity and how acts of attempting to keep a reputation can be confused with the acts of personal integrity. Lastly, he also displays how honor relates to the foresight seen by his characters. Honor can be connected to almost any actions made by any of the characters in these plays. He really keeps the readers/viewers guessing at what the motivations are for all of his characters. I will take a look into these motivations and explain my thoughts on such things.

In these plays, honor is very important to the characters. It is a driving force, of sorts, for much of what the characters do. Along with that, judgments made about certain characters, by other characters, are almost always based on honor. In Othello specifically, honor connects almost all of the actions and judgments throughout the play. Honor seems to be one of the main reasons Desdemona fell in love with Othello. Being much older and having so many military accomplishments sent Othello into an honorable light in Desdemona’s eyes. To me, that seems to be the sole reason she fell in love with him, in the first place. His own character influenced her love thereafter, but initially, I believe it was solely his honor. Cassio is also attracted to this quality in Othello. His platonic love for Othello is based around how honorable Othello has been in his life, prior to the end of the play. In Iago’s eyes, however, Othello’s honor means nothing. He cannot comprehend why Othello got the job he has, while he is stuck in the same position. Iago gives the impression that Othello’s honor is almost a negative thing in his eyes. Despite Iago’s negative views, every judgment about Othello is based on how honorable he is. His behavior prior to the end of the play...
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