Othello and the 7 Deadly Sins

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Shakespearean dramas are often studies of human frailty. Use Othello to focus a discussion on the extent to which this is true. “Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we: For such as we are made of, such we be”, here William Shakespeare puts into light the imperfection of humanity, we all have our faults. Shakespeare wrote plays that reflected the society of his era; he explored the extreme possibilities if our human frailty were to take over our better judgement, this is evident in his play Othello. Iago, who is the master manipulator in the play, exploits the weakness and frailty in the characters around him, through his use of the Seven Deadly Sins. These sins were used by the early Christians to educate and instruct believers concerning the human frailty of the tendency to sin. If these sins were committed it created the threat of eternal damnation for the sinner. The reader follows the characters to their tragic end through wrath, pride, envy, lust, sloth, greed and gluttony. One of the most prominent sins working in Othello is wrath, which spurs Iago to exact his revenge on Othello. To the reader, the origins of Iago’s wrath seem petty and are not enough to justify his actions. In Iago’s eyes Cassio’s experience in battle is not adequate, he has “never set a squadron in the field” and compared to Iago he is not fit for the position of lieutenant. Iago expresses the anger he feels towards Othello’s choice for Cassio over himself for lieutenant in his soliloquies, comparing his hatred to “hell-pains”. This is a biblical illusion that can compare Iago to Satan, also known as the accuser and the illustration of the sin wrath. Satan tempts humans to sin or commit evil deeds; Iago does the same by challenging Othello’s faith in Desdemona and later accuses Othello of sleeping with his wife Emilia, without any concrete evidence. Iago is now looking for an excuse to get even with Othello, and instead of an eye for eye it is “wife for wife”. So in retaliation for...
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