Othello Comparison Essay

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How is the theme of suffering portrayed in ‘Othello’, ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’? The theme of suffering can come in numerous varieties; under categories both physical and emotional. Suffering is presented as a key concept in ‘Othello’, ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. All three texts explore many aspects of suffering in parts, however the most obvious and concentrated facet leans towards the psychological aspect rather then the physical side. In the three chosen texts many of the characters suffer from some sort of emotional trauma. Psychological suffering and distress is a major topic in all three chosen texts as the authors use this ailment in order to drive the storyline forward, invoke pathos and ultimately decide a characters fate. In this essay I will look at all types of suffering explored in the texts; closely studying how each character copes individually and looking at their experiences during their period of torment. The majority of the main characters in this all three texts suffer mentally and emotionally at some point in their own way. Psychological suffering is a prominent aspect in Shakespeare’s Othello. The most obvious character that falls into this category is Othello. The celebrated Moorish general is infatuated with the lady Desdemona; a love so great that it should transcend cultural and social differences, but instead it leaves them defenceless before the deadly intrigues of the vengeful Iago. Through the constant manipulation from Iago, Othello becomes the paranoid figure we see for the majority of the play. Iago persuades Othello that his beloved has been ‘cuckolding’ with the character Cassio. Iago expertly conducts this act in a sly manner, being coy with his answers to Othello’s questioning, which automatically sparks off Othello’s suspicions and the irremovable essence of doubt. Like Iago is the main instigator to Othello’s psychological suffering, in One flew over the cuckoo’s nest there are men on the ward whose problems have clearly been caused by other outside influences also, mainly other people. The character Billy Bitter, who has a severe stutter, suffers from this ailment due to his mother’s oppressive treatment towards him. The character Dale Harding also suffers emotional turmoil in the form of sexual jealousy merely by the attractiveness of his wife. Both of these characters psychological suffering is not aided by Nurse Ratched who is often referred to as ‘the mother’ on the ward. Her oppressive nature is evident, particularly when she frequently threatens to report Billy’s behaviour to his mother if he steps out of line. “You know Billy, what worries me is how your mother is going to take this.” Due to his vulnerable condition, such threats inevitably lead to Billy’s eventual suicide. In contrast, the character Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights has no outside influences when it comes to his emotional state. The characters jealous obsession for his only love Catherine directly corresponds to his psychological suffering. After what he sees as a betrayal when Catherine marries the respected Edgar, Heathcliff’s main objective in life was to gain revenge using his power and manipulation. This representation is very similar to the objective of the character Iago; manipulating others in order to satisfy his own ends. Unlike Othello however, Heathcliff’s revenge was not directed at Catherine, but those elements that prevented them from being together. Hindley, who at the point Catherine was married to Edgar, had taken to gambling and drink in order to contest his own psychological suffering over the death of his wife. At childhood, Hindley described Heathcliff as a “Cuckoo!” An invader into the family, and mistreated Heathcliff every time the opportunity arose. Again, when Mr. Earnshaw died and Hindley became master of Wuthering Heights, he enlisted Heathcliff into servitude and prevented his contact with Catherine. These acts upon...
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