‘Some Interpreters of the Play Have Suggested That Othello Is the Noblest of Shakespeare’s Heroes, While Others Have Suggested He Is Weak and Narcissistic. with These Readings in Mind, How Do You Respond to Shakespeare’

Topics: William Shakespeare, Othello, Narcissism Pages: 3 (1165 words) Published: April 11, 2013
Othello is an epic tragedy. Shakespeare’s character Othello is a tragic figure as he is one who is relatively respected in society, but not by everyone as Iago does not have respect for him. Othello is let down by his own weakness, which is strong love and being too trusting.This essay will explore Shakespeare’s representation of Othello and different interpretations of his character.

Shakespeare’s depiction of Othello can be perceived as weak and narcissistic or strong and heroic. One scene in which Othello is perhaps portrayed as being weak and narcissistic is even before the audience have met Othello. The audience are first introduced to Othello, through Iago, at the very beginning of the play, in Act 1 Scene 1. Iago introduces Othello as being hubristic and egotistical, describing him as “bombast” “...as loving as his own pride and purposes” and that he is “horribly stuff’d with the epithets of war.” Iago’s description of Othello sets the tone and villainises him, so when the audience first meet Othello they are expecting a man who’s full of himself but instead get a man who’s calm, strong, polite and in control – a complete contrast to what is expected. On the surface, Iago looks like the liar and Othello looks the more trusting. Iago then goes on to say: “I am not what I am.” Meaning he can’t be trusted. Ironically, Iago is the only character in the play who remains honest with the audience throughout, even though he is possibly one of the most deceiving characters – his honesty with the audience is always ever present. All of the characters in Othello can be considered duplicitous; they all have two faces – a public side and a private side. Othello’s character could be considered one of the most duplicitous characters, other than Desdemona. She also appears to have two sides to her – one that is more knowing, flirtatious, using her sexuality and knows how to play people or the more respectful , polite and innocent Desdemona. However, how the audience...
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