Topics: Othello, Iago, Desdemona Pages: 5 (1417 words) Published: October 8, 1999

In the play Othello, the character of Othello has certain traits, which make him seem naive and unsophisticated, compared to many other people. This is why Iago, is able to manipulate him so easily. Iago told Roderigo, "O,sir, content you. I follow him to serve my turn upon him "(I, i lines 38-9). Iago is saying, he only follows Othello to a point, and upon reaching it he will not follow him any longer. This is the first sign of how deceitful Iago will be. Iago has his own evil agenda in mind and he will use his reputation of being "honest Iago" to influence Othello.

The Moor, as many Venetians call him, is of strong character. He is very proud and in control of every move throughout the play. The control is not only of power, but also of the sense of his being who he is, a great warrior. In Act I, Othello has runs into Brabantio, who has come to kill him, but before anything could happen Othello said, "Hold your hands, both of you of my inclining and the rest. Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it without a prompter" (I, ii, lines 80-3). The power shown here is quite astounding. The nature of Othello's character is of a dark man. A dark man, not only because he is black, but also because his whole person is very mysterious. He is mysterious in that he believes there is magic brewing everywhere. With this dark side he is also very outgoing, and not very bright. It is almost too easy for Iago to trick him into believing that Desdemona is unfaithful. Though he doesn't reflect too much on his past, it is apparent that he has been very successful in many battles and earned the rank of general. The fact that he is supposed to be a experienced soldier and leader contradicts his actions of letting his jealous emotions destroy his life.

For all the dangers and encounters he has been involved in, this man is still naive of the corruptness of other individuals. Othello has a trusting nature that will bring about his downfall. He put his trust in Iago during times of war and during Othello's marriage to Desdemona. Although this wasn't very bright of Othello, even if he was not as naïve or more cynical, it still would have been hard for him to discover that Iago was lying. Everyone considered Iago as honest, and it would be out of character for Othello to believe any different. Othello is unable to distinguish Iago's appearance from his true nature. For example, while in the council chamber Othello had told the Duke, "So please your grace, my ancient; A man he is of honesty and trust. To his conveyance I assign my wife, With what else needful your good grace shall think, To be sent after me" (I, iii, lines 284-8).

The control over any situation is one Othello's strong characteristics. Through the whole first act you can picture a powerful man with natural leadership ability, which makes it hard to believe that he would go to extremes because he is jealous. For example, when Lodovico had witnessed Othello hit Desdemona, he said:

"Is this the noble Moor whom our full Senate

Call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature

Whom passion could not shake? whose solid virtue

The shot of accident nor dart of chance

could neither graze nor pierce" (IV, i, lines 264-8)?

While Iago, being the honest man he is, answers:

"He's that he is, I may not breathe my censure.

What he might be (if, what he might, he is not)

I would to heaven he were" (IV, i, lines 270-2).

Another place where Shakespeare shows Othello taking control over

a situation is when Cassio and Montano are fighting after Roderigo antagonized him. These words Othello said are important now, but they will be more important later when he is alone with Desdemona in their bedroom. He will say:

"Now, by heaven,

My blood begins my safer guides to rule,

And passion, having my best judgement collied,

Assays to lead the way. If I once stir

Or do but lift this...
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