Othello Analysis

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The tragedy Othello is filled with a complex web of separate conflicts that are connected with each other. The external conflicts are very obvious, such as Iago trying to replace Cassio as lieutenant and Othello's belief in Desdemona's affair. In addition to these conflicts, however, many characters in the play also face their own internal conflicts in which they have to make a choice between two opposing forces. An excellent example of this internal conflict can be found in analyzing Roderigo. Roderigo's love for Desdemona creates conflict because he faces the choice of going back to Venice since he has no money left, or staying in Cyprus because he wants to pursue Desdemona. In more general terms, Roderigo deals with the conflict of desire and trust against rationality and common sense. Although Roderigo's conflict is internal, he is influenced by people and things outside himself that causes him to take different positions on it. Iago's influence on Roderigo's decisions also emphasizes the play's theme as a whole which deals with the consequences of vulnerability. One side of Roderigo's conflict, his love for Desdemona, is evident towards the beginning of the play. After finding out that Desdemona and Othello are married and she is, in fact, in love with him, Roderigo speaks of drowning himself. When Iago tells him he is silly for wanting to kill himself over this, Roderigo replies, "It is silliness to live, when to live is torment and then we have a prescription to die when death is our physician" (I, iii, 350-352). Roderigo's plan to kill himself because Desdemona loves Othello shows how desperate he is just to be with her. It can also be observed that Roderigo's desire for Desdemona causes him to be vulnerable to making rash decisions in the heat of the moment. Iago sees this weakness in Roderigo and is able to take advantage of it. "I say, put money in thy purse. It cannot be that Desdemona should long continue her love to the Moor – put money in thy purse...
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