While Othello is a tragic figure, he is also responsible for his own destruction. Do you agree?
William’s Shakespeare’s 1603 eponymous play Othello, tells the story to an Elizabethan audience of a foreigner, a tragic figure, who descends into madness and unjustifiable actions by the curtains’ close of the play. Othello is, to an extent, responsible for his own destruction, however his “ancient” Iago also plays a large role in causing Othello’s ruin.
Act I begins introducing a “valiant” General Othello to the audience whilst the Venetian fleet is still in home port, however, in Act III a shocking decline in Othello’s “noble condition” becomes apparent as he descends into his fate as a tragic hero. The early acts present Othello as a discerning, “noble”, and wise general who displays such courage and elements of this greatness even in most trying times. Confronted at sword point, in the middle of the night, Othello demands those men “keep up (their) bright swords”. Othello keeps his weaponed sheathed and asks that Brabantio’s emotionally charged men do the same. However, in a similar situation in the later acts, Othello rages at the minor detail that Desdemona is unable to find his “hankerchief”. This change in Othello’s nature during his time in Cyprus is a key example of his decent into madness and a symbol of his forthcoming destruction. With both elements of greatness and psychosis Othello’s change is what makes him so tragic.
Othello can be held accountable for his own destruction because of his gullible nature. “Valiant Othello” is honest and truthful, willing to freely share his opinion in the Venetian Senate and amongst his friends. This trait of being able to be “led by the nose as asses are” is taken advantage of by his “ancient Iago” resulting in Othello demanding that Iago be the only one to bring him “ocular proof” of Cassio sleeping with Desdemona. This gullible nature is a key aspect in how Othello is responsible for his own destruction....
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