Othello Research Paper

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Literary Madness
Far more advanced for his time period, Shakespeare’s talent went unrecognized in the category of not just literature, but psychology as well. During the Elizabethan time period, it was unaware that a human could have psychological defects, let alone have characters who express these faults in a play. Shakespeare’s Othello was produced with two of the main characters having significant behavioral disorders. With a changing motive, the antagonist Iago expresses the symptoms of a narcissist and a sociopath by manipulating the protagonist Othello with lies about his wife. The infected Othello becomes caught up in Iago’s deception which causes him to show the traits of having low serotonin levels and appears to be going through couple’s distress. The sick mind of Iago uses manipulation, and deceit to promote jealousy within Othello, in hopes of causing a downfall in the Moore’s relationship with his wife. The sick mind of Iago spit out cancerous thoughts that manipulated everyone he talked to. This began from the beginning of the play after Iago learned of the public announcement of Othello and Desdemona. Once everyone leaves the senate chamber, Iago has a soliloquy which first tells the audience of his plot against Othello. He planned to infect Othello’s mind by introducing the lie of Cassio having an affair with Desdemona. Cassio is a man that would be suspected of doing such, which creates a believable story. Iago goes on to say that people who are trusting of everyone, such as Othello, are easy to take advantage of. (Shakespeare, Othello Act I Scene III). Later on in the play, Iago begins his plan by planting the idea of Desdemona being unfaithful. Knowing that Othello would believe the words of a friend, Iago used deceit to put his plans in motion. To continue with the infectious plan against the Moore, Iago must lie excessively to Othello. After lying about Desdemona’s affair, Othello needs proof of her infidelity. Quickly Iago spits out a lie about Cassio receiving Desdemona’s wedding handkerchief from her. Now satisfied with some proof of her unfaithfulness, Othello wants to take a blood oath with Iago so they can always remain faithful to one another (Act III Scene III). Iago lies to Othello once again since he has no good intentions for Othello, before or after the blood oath. This trick has made Othello even more susceptible to Iago’s lies leading him further into darkness. The plan to bring down Othello comes further along in completion with the lies causing Othello to become jealous. For his plan to succeed, Iago will do whatever steps necessary to make sure he has Othello’s trust. By using his wife and taking extreme actions, Iago’s plan of deceit works even better. The first extreme action he takes is by using his wife. In order to obtain the handkerchief, Iago must use his wife who is always close to Desdemona. Through lies and manipulation about what he will do with it, he receives the handkerchief. Next was the blood oath that he took with Othello to seal his trust. When announced, Othello took this ceremony very serious, explaining that it was the highest honor that he could bestow on a friend. Iago disgraced this honor by using it to corrupt Othello. Then in the end of the play, Iago’s wife goes to tell Othello the truth about Iago’s plot so Iago ends up killing her. This extreme behavior is so that he can follow through with his plan to make sure it succeeds. The villainous actions of Iago are not seen as "evil" since that has become a term much in vogue in our current era. “Evil” may sound too allegorical or too concrete, too essentialist or too objective for psychoanalytic ways of thinking that are oriented towards the study of individual subjectivity (Shapiro 481). Instead, Iago’s characteristics of manipulation, compulsive lying, and extraordinary actions to see his plan through, contribute to two modern psychological disorders. The first one is narcissism, causing those who suffer to...
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