William Shakespeare’s character, Othello, testifies to the fact that everyone, no matter their rank in society, can be made vulnerable when they are brought to questioning their sense of self. As a person matures and enters into adulthood, they take on many different types of responsibilities as a functioning part of society. Society characterizes its members based on how effectively they deal with their responsibilities, and furthermore an individual’s identity and sense of self derive in part, from their ability to handle responsibilities. The way a person conducts his or herself determines how they as well as others perceive them. Ultimately, when making decision throughout life a person looks at what they as an individual value, and therefore what they perceive themselves to be influences their decision making. When one works to destroy the reputation of another they seek to tarnish the way others perceive said person. On the other hand, in Shakespeare’s tragedy we see Iago go a step further, whereas instead of just working to ruin Othello’s reputation, he targets the foundation of Othello’s sense of self. First, Iago plays on Othello’s jealousy by causing him to doubt and suspect Desdemona of being unfaithful without presenting any legitimate evidence. This jealousy leads to anxiety from which Iago goes on to insinuate that the very foundations of his love for Desdemona in fact are false and this brings into question everything Othello thought he knew, including his own self. Eventually Othello falls victim to paranoia by completely losing the characteristics that made in noble in the beginning of the drama. By exploiting Othello's jealousy and insecurity, Iago renders Othello victim to paranoia leaving Othello questioning every aspect of his life until he loses his own identity.
Iago takes advantage of Othello’s jealousy of Desdemona in the third scene of act three causing Othello to become overtly suspicious and form conclusions based not on...
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