Othello and Faustus: To blame or not to blame
Trust is an essential part of a peaceful society. The way people act decides whether they are trustworthy or not. One who manipulates trust to deceive people is to blame for the disturbance. Those who places trust in the wrong person are also to blame. Placing trust in an unworthy person is the initial fault as it opens the protagonist to deception. Thus they base their actions according to the false information which condemns them. The person who is to blame is viewed as a villain rather than a hero. The object of the misplaced trust is decides to what extent they are to blame.
Othello and Faustus place their trust in unworthy people. Othello is a trusting man, causing him to trust a deceiver who wishes him harm. Iago explains his plan for Othello in this way, “After some time, abuse Othello’s ears/ that he is too familiar with his wife./ To be suspected—framed to make women false./ The Moor is of free and open nature/ that thinks men honest that but seem to be so;/ and will as tenderly be led by th’nose/ as asses are./” (A1 S3 L390-393). Iago plots to manipulate Othello when he states he will abuse Othello’s ears. He states that he will convince Othello that Cassio is having an affair with his wife and describes that he picked Cassio because he seems like the type of man to commit this offence. This quote also shows the excessive trusting nature of Othello. Iago believes that it would be simple to deceive Othello because Othello is honest to the point where he believes no one is dishonest. Iago will be able to lead Othello into believing Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona. Iago’s plan would cause the downfall of Cassio and Othello which is perfect for Iago’s motives. Othello’s trusting personality causes him to misplace his trust in a deceiver, which is the beginning of his downfall. Othello’s flaw of trusting is an excess of a good trait, placing more blame onto Iago.
Faustus places his trust in himself because he is prideful. He was knowledgeable in every acceptable branch of knowledge. Faustus is presented in the prologue in this way: “That shortly he was graced with doctor’s name,/ excelling all, and sweetly can dispute/ in th’heavenly matters of theology;/ Till swoll’n with cunning, of a self-conceit,/ his waxen wings did mount above his reach/ and melting, heavens conspired his overthrow” (prologue L16-21). The quote shows that Faustus was praised with the title of doctor after surpassing everyone in the subject of divinity, which is the most important branch of knowledge at the time. The quote continues to describe Faustus’ pride to be swollen, which means it has grown larger than it should be. Pride is the deadliest of the seven deadly sins and Icarus, who was prideful, reached beyond what he was capable of. Icarus flew too close to the sun even though he was warned by his father. This resulted in the melting of his waxed wings and ultimately killing him. Icarus bears the blame completely for his downfall. This quote shows that Faustus shares the same pride as Icarus. If Faustus were to fall because he were to reach beyond his capabilities with the knowledge that he should not, Faustus would bear all the blame and be viewed as a villain. Faustus understands theology better than everyone, but he chooses to be prideful. His excellence causes him to be prideful and believe he is better than what he truly is. Pride is viewed as a negative trait and will cause the reader to lean towards viewing Faustus as a villain rather than a hero.
The misplaced trust cause Othello and Faustus accept false knowledge. Othello vows to kill Desdemona because he trusts Iago. Othello expresses his plans as, “Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace,/ shall nev’r look back, nev’r ebb to humble love,/ till that a capable and wide revenge/ swallow them up. [He kneels.] Now, by yond marble heaven,/ in the due reverence of a sacred vow/...
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