Othello's Image

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“Othello is a man of mystery, exoticism and intense feeling, trustful, open, passionate but self-controlled: so noble… he inspires a passion of mingled love and pity.” * A.C Bradley 1904
This statement by A.C. Bradley examines the Othello character in an interesting light that perhaps gives a false image of the play. The first statement Bradley makes is that Othello is “a man of mystery, exoticism and intense feeling…” These facts ring true. Othello is a mysterious foreigner who holds intense feeling for the struggles he has faced. The second statement Bradley makes however is lost on me. “…trustful, open, passionate but self-controlled…” Bradley believes Othello to be all these things when he clearly is a man who has many personal issues that are fully explored during the play. I completely disagreed with most of what Bradley stated about the character Othello. When he speaks of Othello being trustful I cannot help but think of the jealousy he was overcome with when he thought Desdemona was having an affair with Michael Cassio. Othello never searched out the answers from Desdemona herself, instead Iago is the one sought out for answers. Othello fell into a trance upon hearing that they lay together and that Desdemona has given Cassio his treasured handkerchief. This does not seem like a trusting man but one who becomes highly jealous without knowing the full story. Bradley was clearly not thinking straight when he came up with this analysis of Othello as a character and as a person. Othello also was not a self-controlled man as Bradley seems to believe he was. Othello was easily taken over by rage and jealousy which would lead him to unsightly things. In Act IV Scene I Othello strikes Desdemona after she mentions her move for Cassio, Othello misunderstands the love she has for Cassio and reacts irrationally. This highlights Othello’s own inability to remain self-controlled. Another example is Act V Scene II when Othello kills Desdemona. Othello is so...
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