How can a person become so caught up in what others say and do, that they lose sight of who they really are, and pursue something they’re not? Othello is overcome with jealousy and let’s himself become caught up in suspicion; this is his fatal flaw which leads to his tragic downfall. On the other hand we have Macbeth who lets his life become ruled by ambition and is blind to the damage that this causes. This can only end one way and will bring an end to the horror of Macbeth. These are both plays in which the protagonists are manipulated and both fall victim to their own desires and actions.
When the audience first hears about Othello, we immediately build up our own interpretation of him in our minds. We are given small pieces of his personality bit by bit which leave you wanting to find out more about him. Roderigo and Iago are the first characters to talk about him, however we don’t actually hear is name said until Act 1 scene 2, as they always refer to him as “the general”; this shows he is in a high position with a lot of power. Other names that he is called in the first scene are “thick lips”, “the moorship” and “him” which could suggest that he is not worthy of a name. Othello was from Africa and therefore had a different skin colour. In the play we can see that Othello has acknowledged that he is different and therefore doesn’t let these names affect him, however in the later part of the play you can see he is beginning to believe these names and is convincing himself that Desdemona is cheating on him because he is different and not the typical Venetian man. In Shakespearean times and for many years after, “black” people were looked down upon and were treated harshly; this is a key theme throughout the play and helps the audience feel sympathetic towards Othello.
In Act 1 scene 2 we see Brabantio’s anger developing for Othello and how he lets his personal feelings get in the way of seeing the true love between Othello and Desdemona. Brabantio speaks rashly and often very aggressively towards Othello yet Othello does not do the same. Instead he uses quite poetic and wise language. He remains calm and collected, maintaining his noble, respected status. “Tis better as it is” is his first line in the play and contradicts what we were told about him in the first scene. Another example of this is when Othello asks the Duke to allow Desdemona to go to Cyprus with him; “I… beg it not to please…my appetite….but to free and bounteous to her mind” this again shows his noble nature. It also gives the audience an insight into how much he loves he wife, especially when he is willing to put his wife’s needs before his own. This indicates his feelings for his wife.
Only a few lines further down this scene, you see Iago beginning to bring up things that Othello doesn’t want to talk about. “Sir, are you fast married?” is one of the first times in the play that the audience can see this happening and can see Iago feeding ideas into Othello’s mind that he should be worrying about his marriage. Othello is quick to change the subject and reassure himself that everything will be alright, but the seed of doubt has already been planted and will grow until it takes over him.
As the play progresses, the audience can really see how Othello is being manipulated and slowly letting that take over. In Act 2 scene 3 the audience sees how Othello’s character is changing as he begins to base feelings and opinions simply on people’s facial expressions, something a soldier should never do. “Honest Iago, that looks dead without grieving” is a great example of this as you can see Othello has been manipulated into believing Iago is honest and how he assumes that Iago is severely upset. This is the beginning of a significant change in his personality and language. From this point on you can see Othello’s language beginning to become more barbaric and “hell” like which is a strong indication that his thoughts and personality have changed. It...
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