Othello and His Guilt

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Othello’s feelings of guilt arise from his skewed perception of Iago’s character. Throughout Othello, Iago gives off this perception to all that he is a honest and virtuous man, when in fact he is manipulative and malicious. This false perception even deceives Othello into thinking he is solely to blame for Desdemona’s death, when in fact Iago falsely proclaims her of infidelity to Othello. This deception makes Othello abandon reason and language, which allows his inner chaos to take over. For example, the emotional collapse within Othello begins to develop when Iago informs Othello that the handkerchief in which Othello had given to Desdemona in the past was in the hands of Cassio, and he is led to believe that Desdemona and Cassio were perusing a secret relationship. In Act 4 scene two, Othello tells Desdemona " Come, swear it; damn thyself; Lest being one of heaven, the devils themselves should fear to seize thee. Therefore be double damned;" which demonstrates that Othello begins to doubt Desdemona's honesty. Despite them trusting each other throughout the play, Iago's manipulative tactives trigger Othello’s doubt. Another piece of evidence supporting Othello's rage is seen in the following quote from Othello in Act 4 scene 1, when he claims" Get me some poison, Iago, this night. I’ll not expostulate with her, lest her body and beauty unprovide my mind again—This night, Iago!” Thus, Othello had again been encouraged by Iago’s mischievous actions so convincingly that he is pushed to act and kill Desdemona. Unfortunately, Othello’s feelings of guilt over his actions never cease since Iago is never incriminated. In other words, Iago’s successfully pulls off his scheme of manipulation purely because his character and his virtue aren’t questioned by Othello nor anyone else throughout the play. Othello inevitably suffers the quilt instead of feeling shameful for believing in Iago so confidently. -M. Ball
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