The Downfall of Othello

Topics: Othello, Iago, Michael Cassio Pages: 4 (1545 words) Published: October 1, 2006
The Downfall of Othello
Othello, written by William Shakespeare, is the perfect example of a romantic tragedy in which events involving the themes of jealousy, greed, revenge, and appearance versus reality bring the play to its tragic end. The play begins with an argument between Iago and Roderigo. This conflict gives the reader a glimpse of what is to come. Shakespeare uses the technique of foreshadowing to help the reader predict the misfortunes that will befall the characters in the play. The unfortunate events leading up to the downfall of the characters come to life through underlying discord between the characters. These conflicts are, for the most part, initiated by a sole character, Iago. Although the reader is aware that he is a heinous and villainous person, to the other characters, he is a well-respected and trusted gentleman. This façade allows Iago to manipulate the other characters' actions and feelings for his own personal gains. This manipulation leads the characters to believe only what Iago and their eyes tell them. The characters' misconceptions of what is really happening lead them to jump to major conclusions, causing their demises. Through his ability to deceive the characters into believing what he wants them to believe and his aptitude for identifying personal flaws, Iago is able to cause Othello to become a beast without an ounce of rationality, which eventually, causes his downfall.

Iago seems to be the basis for all conflicts that occur throughout the play. However, he just serves as a catalyst, directing the outcome of the play, but he never seems to be directly involved in causing the conflicts. From the start of the play, Iago feels hatred for Othello because he was passed over for a promotion as Othello's lieutenant. Instead, Othello chose Cassio, who Iago feels is less qualified for the position. Having this hatred towards Othello, Iago does everything in his power to seek revenge against Othello. In order to...

Cited: X.J. Kennedy, and Dana Gioia, ed. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Bevington, David 9th ed.: 2005.
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