English 1 H, Period 8
February 22, 2010
Victimization in Shakespeare’s Othello
Victims are those who have suffered because of the actions of others. They are subjected to hardship since they are frequently mistreated. Whether the damage done is physical or emotional, victims take in much abuse which often is reflected in the path of their lives and personality. The scars left from mistreatment and bullying can be permanent, and it usually has a severe and definite effect on one’s life. In William Shakespeare’s Othello, several characters are made victimized so that others can get what they want. In the play, the three characters that are most victimized are Desdemona, Roderigo, and Cassio.
To start, one character victimized throughout the play is Cassio. In one instance, Cassio is victimized when he is blamed for having an affair with Desdemona by Iago just so that Iago can get the Lieutenant position over him. After telling Othello a bunch of lies about how Cassio desired Desdemona, Othello believes him and says, “Within these three days let me hear thee say / Than Cassio’s not alive” (Shakespeare III.iii.473-474). Iago is an extremely convincing character, and readers can see that he has persuaded Othello into believing that Cassio is a bad person and Othello now wants him killed. Furthermore, Cassio is victimized when he is injured in the fight by Iago. The sneaky man creeps up from behind him, wounds him, and Cassio says, “I am maimed forever…” (V.i.24). It is clear at this point in the story that Cassio did absolutely nothing wrong, yet he is still ill-treated and almost killed by Roderigo and Iago. For these reasons, Cassio becomes another character suffering from victimization in the play.
Another character whose victimization is very clear in the play is Roderigo. Though his role is not that large in the story, he is made out to be an introverted person who is constantly taken advantage of, mainly by Iago. For example,...