_othello_ by William Shakespeare Essay

William Shakespeare’s “Othello” I feel is one of the most interesting plays Shakespeare wrote. It’s hard to put down a play because you don’t know what happens next. What I think made this play great was that it has a villain behind the motive, which makes the play more interesting for me. “Othello” takes you on an adventure that makes you aware of whom you can and cannot trust; and who are your true friends. You can’t always believe what you hear.

In the beginning of act one Roderigo (a wealthy Venetian gentleman) and Iago (Villain, Othello’s ancient) tells Brabantio who is Desdemona’s father that his daughter eloped and she’s having sex and she will have the devils children. Othello was accused of tricking Desdemona into marrying him because they sneaked away and eloped. Since Othello is black they assume that Desdemona was tricked since no one at this time would marry a black man. Brabantio takes Othello to the duke to settle the matter. Othello says to the Duke and to the others to send for Desdemona and she herself will tell that she married Othello willingly and by her own choice. When Desdemona arrives she tells all that she loves Othello. Desdemona was attracted to his war stories and his adventures of his world travel.

The love that Desdemona feels for Othello is on the inside not the outside. In return Othello loves Desdemona because she is young and beautiful and he respects her. Now Iago is jealous that Othello chose Cassio (Othello’s Lieutenant and is part of the framework on Desdemona and does not know it and he is the foil of Othello) as his Lieutenant. Iago is also jealous over Othello because he wants his life. He hates Othello but has no reason to so he makes up these problems and manipulates. Roderigo is in love with Desdemona and Iago tells him that he could have her if he sells his land and gives Iago the money and he will buy all these jewels and he will give them to Desmonda. Iago is a manipulator.

In Act two Iago in his crazy mind pretends to believe that Cassio is in love with Desdemona. Iago acts on this and starts manipulating others more. Iago tells Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are in love with each other. Iago wants to turn Othello against Cassio and fire him from his Lieutenant position. This was the night that Othello and Desdemona were celebrating their wedding. When they leave Iago gets Cassio drunk because Iago knows Cassio can’t handle alcohol and will not be aware of his behavior. Then Iago tells Montano (Othello’s predecessor in the government of cypress) Cassio is drunk and tells Roderigo to fight Cassio.

During the fight Cassio hurts Roderigo and Montano because Montano was breaking the fight up. Othello finds out about Cassio’s behavior and takes his Lieutenant’s position away. Cassio is hurt by Othello’s decision, so Iago tell Cassio to talk to Desdemona and she will help get his job back. Iago also tells Roderigo that Cassio was fired. Roderigo now has hope that he will be with Desdemona. Iago tells Emelia (his wife) to make sure Cassio talks to Desdemona. The only reason he wants this is so Othello will see them and he will think Desdemona is unfaithful.

In Act three Cassio is talking with Iago and tells him he made plans to meet with Desdemona. Iago tell him he will help him. Cassio finally meets with Desdemona and she tells him that Othello still loves him very much and she will do all she can to help him get his job back; she will put in a good word for him. From a far Iago is with Othello; he planned it that way so Othello would see Desdemona and Cassio together. Iago begins to brain wash Othello into believing Desdemona is unfaithful to him. Othello is vulnerable to Iago’s insinuation because he doesn’t believe Iago would lie to him. Othello considers Iago to be a true friend because they had fought in wars together. Another reason Othello questions Desdemona’s loyalty was because she was able to deceive her father who she loved very much so she could easily deceive him. When Othello sees Desdemona after this he is still in shock and tells her that he has a headache and needs to lay down.

Read also  The Western Canon

Desdemona while talking to Othello drops her handkerchief (her first gift from Othello; it was his mothers). Emilia finds the handkerchief and gives it to Iago. Iago in his sneaky way knows he can use this to manipulate the situation. Iago plants it in Cassio’s home so Cassio will find it (he does not know it’s Desdemona’s). Othello does not yet believe that Desdemona is unfaithful and Othello wants proof from Iago. Iago tells Othello that he saw Cassio with Desdemona’s handkerchief Othello then makes Iago his Lieutenant and wants Cassio killed which is Iago’s responsibility and Othello would take care of Desdemona. Desdemona now is looking for her handkerchief and mentions it to Emilia; Emilia denies ever seeing it. Othello asks Desdemona for the handkerchief and she tells him it is not lost; she has just misplaced it. Desdemona begins to ask Othello about Cassio and he yells at her and sends her away. Desdemona runs into Cassio and explains to him that her helping him get his job back isn’t going well. Also Cassio found the handkerchief in his house and gives it to his mistress Bianca.

In Act four Iago is still his usual manipulating self. He is still manipulating Othello by telling him Desdemona is unfaithful to him and fooling around with Cassio. What hurts Othello most is that the handkerchief is missing and Iago tells him she gave it to Cassio. Iago starts talking to Cassio and asking him things about his mistress. Now from the other side Othello is watching and he thinks that Cassio is telling Iago about him and Desdemona; then Cassio’s mistress shows up and throws the handkerchief at Cassio and fights with him. Iago then makes Othello believe that he must kill Desdemona because what she has done and he will kill Cassio. Othello meets with Emilia and asks her if Desdemona is unfaithful to him by fooling around with Cassio. Emilia explains that nothing is happening between them and their relationship is strictly platonic. Othello finally confronts Desdemona in the bedroom with Emilia by her side helping her get ready for bed as they talk about the situation. At this point Desdemona’s depressed.

Act five starts out on the street with Iago and Roderigo. Iago is telling Roderigo how to kill Cassio. Iago at this point is nervous because Roderigo keeps asking about the money he gave Iago that he was supposed to give to Desdemona. Cassio comes by and Roderigo starts to attack Cassio but Cassio stabs him first, then Iago stabs Cassio from behind. Iago then stabs Roderigo one more time and kills him to make it seem as if he was protecting Cassio. Bianca comes to attend Cassio and Iago point’s fingers at her trying to make it seem she is guilty so no one is suspicious of him. The next scene takes place in Othello and Desdemona’s room. Desdemona is still asleep and Othello kisses her. She awakes and Othello asks her if she has prayed, so when she dies her soul will go to heaven. Desdemona is still confused on what wrong she has done.

Othello confesses that he knows she gave Cassio her handkerchief, which means she has been sleeping with him. Desdemona tells Othello she is innocent and to call for Cassio and he will tell the truth, that nothing happened between them. Othello tells her Cassio is dead and he confessed as he died. Othello and Desdemona go on arguing and Desdemona tries to make Othello believe that she has always loved him and been faithful to him. Othello looks at her and then kills her. Emilia comes in and Othello tells her he has killed Desdemona and in Desdemona’s last breath she says she did it to herself making Othello look innocent. Emilia tells Othello that she found the handkerchief and gave it to Iago. Iago is now seen as guilty and kills his wife by stabbing her. Iago leaves and runs but is captured and comes back with Cassio and Lodovico. Othello then stabs Iago. Lodovico now finds out that Iago and Othello tried to have Cassio killed and were behind it. Cassio explains he found the handkerchief; Iago confesses that he planted it in his room. Othello ultimately kills himself over the grief he feels.

Read also  A Raisin in the Sun Vs. Julius Caesar

The true identity of who your friends are may surprise you. “Othello” is proof that greed and true bitterness can cause more damage then originally intended. Othello is a weak character that is easily convinced of wrong doings that never happened. His mind set on believing his friend over his wife is his ultimate downfall. The human mind is fickle and Shakespeare makes this the common theme throughout the play.

More Essays

  • The Merchant of Venice and Shylock Offering

    Many different people can be good or bad or might seem good but actually bad or the other way around. In The merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, shylock, the money lending Jew, is seen more like a villain then a victim. Shylock is a villain because he cares more about his money then he cares about...

  • Shakespeare Merchant of Venice

    In Act 2 Scene 9 of The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, we were presented with the Prince of Aragon and Portia. Now, the second man is trying to attempt to guess the right casket. Unfortunately, along with the Prince of Morocco, Portia doesn't want to be with this man either. Portia goes through...

  • _othello_ the Moor of Venice_ by William Shakespeare

    William Shakespeare's "Othello: The Moor of Venice," is full of deception, jealousy, and guilt. The title character, Othello, newly married to Desdemona and respected despite his differences for his strength of character and his valiant efforts on behalf of the Venetian state. Othello's character changes...

  • Much Ado About Nothing Beatrice and Benedick

    The relationship between Beatrice and Benedick develops throughout the early stages of Much Ado about Nothing by William Shakespeare. Past encounters between the two characters ignites a skirmish of wit between the two where they attempt to get inside each other's head. The wittiness used by Beatrice and...

  • Enduring Value – Othello

    Shakespeare's masterpiece Othello has remained relevant beyond its original context not merely because of its universal themes of love and betrayal, but rather, due to its textual integrity, and the enduring value which is enhanced through the exploration of such issues, as marginalisation and the...

  • Rosalind and Celia the Main Character

    1. As you like it is full of characters pretending to be someone other than themselves. To what degree are the characters aware that they are role playing? Does their acting have serious consequences, or is it merely a game. In the text as you like it by William Shakespeare many characters have alter egos...

  • Politics and Hierarchy in Shakespeares as you Like It

    In William Shakespeare's play, As you Like It, there are lots of interesting themes which both drive the action and speak to the culture that the author lived in. Among those interesting themes are the classic Shakespearean ideal of love, issues dealing with family relationships, and perhaps more...

  • Love and Disguise in the Twelfth Night

    The art of love suggests that this complex emotion cannot be easily defined; it must instead be conceptualized within the confines of language and images.  One writer that mastered this presentation of love is William Shakespeare. Through his sonnets and plays, he immortalized the concept of love for...

  • Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

    "I am always directed by you" – Mariana "I am directed by you" – Isabella. Both these lines are addressed to the Duke. What do they suggest about women status in this play? What other evidence can you find to support your view? Measure for Measure is a play written by William Shakespeare in the seventeenth...

  • An Analysis of Freytag’s Five Steps in Shakespeare’s _the Tempest_

    In this essay I will analyze William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" using Gustav Freytag's five phases which are: exposition, point of conflict, rising action, climax, and denouement.  I will first begin with the exposition phase.  The exposition phase includes a description of the chief protagonist and...

Othello by William Shakespeare Essay

Othello by William Shakespeare is a tragic story of envy, hatred and giving trusting to a very iniquitous person. It tells a tale of two people who loved each other despite the fact that they are worlds apart in terms of race, age and experience. Othello was a Moor, and Desdemona was the prettiest woman. Envied by Roderigo and Iago, the latter devised a plan to deceive Othello that his wife is cheating on him with his most trusted lieutenant Cassio. Unfortunately for the main characters, the plan worked and Othello ended up killing his faithful wife.

Learning about what a fool he had become, not believing his own wife, Othello killed himself and died in his wife’s embrace. Roderigo was killed by Cassio and Iago was tortured to death. I have chosen to discuss Act V, Scene II of the play Othello, where Othello was convinced his wife was unfaithful and made up his mind to kill her. For him, this was the only honorable thing to do. The first part showed Othello looking at his sleeping wife amidst a flickering candle. He states: It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul,– Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars! — It is the cause. Yet I’ll not shed her blood;

Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow, And smooth as monumental alabaster. In this speech, Othello is trying to convince himself that it was Desdemona who was at fault that is why killing her must be done. He accuses his wife’s beauty as the cause of her infidelity. And because of this beauty that he will kill her with honor, and not damage any part of her splendor. He is obviously confused, hesitant, trying to make sense of what he is about to do. Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men. Put out the light, and then put out the light: If I quench thee, thou flaming minister, I can again thy former light restore,

When I have pluck’d the rose, I cannot give it vital growth again. It must needs wither: I’ll smell it on the tree. In these lines, Othello has affirmed reasons for him to kill his wife, and convinced himself that by killing her, he is relieving her of her sins, bringing back her purity and innocence, as if being born again. He then kissed his wife and this awakened her. Desdemona, quite feeling there is something wrong, tried to capture her husband’s love once again by inviting him to lay beside her but instead, Othello asked her whether she had already prayed because he does not want to kill an unprepared spirit.

When Desdemona appeared confused, Othello told her that is has been proven that she has betrayed him by being with Cassio and that he has the handkerchief that Othello so lovingly gave her. Despite Desdemona’s pleadings of innocence, Othello’s mind has already been poisoned by Iago’s stories, and he killed his wife. This scene, I believe is the umbrella of the whole play. Even though it was not actually stated in Act V, Scene II, it was obvious that Othello was a great man but was blinded by jealousy. And this blindness is a solid proof of Iago’s cunningness in manipulating the different characters.

Read also  Twelfth Night Lit Analysis

It was also shown here how Desdemona truly loves her husband by admitting suicide and not revealing that it was Othello who killed her. The painting that I have chosen (above) somehow shows the entirety of scene II of Act V. By looking at it, one can clearly see the difference in Othello and Desdemona’s lives. She was almost a goddess, sleeping in her white wedding sheets, and he looks like a confused peasant wearing a suit that is fit for him. There was hesitation, uncertainty and doubt in his eyes. He was holding a dagger evidently implying that he is about to kill her (although this was actually used to kill himself).

His pose seems like he was sneaking in to steal a look of his stunning wife. Desdemona on the other hand, looks so peaceful, almost illuminating in just a faint light of a flickering candle. Although the painting pretty much illustrated the scene from the play, it was still lacking of life and dimension. In a third person point of view, it would not be as effective in delivering the message unless the person really knows the story. Therefore, while I consider myself as a visual person, I still much prefer the written form of this particular scene.

It is more dramatic and touching to be able to create a scene with your own imagination. A major factor for this choice is that I have always loved reading because it can really take me on a journey where I can be in control. Also, I can have my own interpretation of different chapters in a book or novel whereas in watching a movie to looking at a photograph or painting, you can only interpret up to the limit of what the artist or director. Written literary works can give you limitless possibilities, and that is the challenge I treasure in reading.

More Essays

  • Othello Paper_ the Effects of Jealousy

    Jealousy is a common emotion that everyone shares at one point in life. At most times it is when a person is most vulnerable and insecure that he loses faith in the things he once felt so certain about. Othello, being of a different race, is a man who fights for all he has ever had in life including the...

  • Othello and Reputation

    Othello is tragedy written by William Shakespeare, that demonstrates the power and strength of reputation. The play describes how Othello and Desdemona attempt to build a life together, disregarding their difference in age and race. Although soon after their marriage, an envious Iago uses cunning lies to...

  • Shakespeare’s Othello

    Othello's destruction by Iago is inevitable due to a combination of Iago's plotting and Othello's character flaws. Iago's cunning character in Shakespeare's play has identified Othello's vulnerability through flaws of jealousy, trust, poor judgement, naivety and love for the fair Desdemona. Iago's pure hate...

  • If Othello Had Been Set in a Modern Era, How Would It Differ

    The play Othello is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare in around 1603. The story has four central characters: Othello, Desdemona, Iago and Cassio. Othello or "the moor" is a black general, admired for his superb leadership skills. He falls in love with Desdemona, and against Brabantio's will they...

  • O and Othello Comparison

    ‘Othello is one of the brilliant plays written by William Shakespeare. It is the story of man named Othello and how his mind was twisted and manipulated by a man named Iago and how Iago made Othello think that his wife Desdemona was cheating on him with his lieutenant Michael Cassio, which results in many...

  • An Analysis of Othello by William Shakespeare

    In the play "Othello" by William Shakespeare Iago plays the master manipulator and manages to deceive many of the other characters especially Othello and Cassio. It can be said that his motives are based solely on his insecurities due to the fact his goal in the play was to ruin Othello's life. He does this...

  • Desdemona as a Victim in the Tragedy of Othello

    Desdemona as a victim in The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare William Shakespeare is widely known for his famous plays, sonnets, and other works including the tragedy. In The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, many characters are unjustly victimized. Throughout the play,...

  • Othello and Oedipus

    Othello: the Moor of Venice and Oedipus are masterpiece tragedies that were written by great authors of yesteryear including William Shakespeare and Sophocles. These books are laden with varied themes which are still applicable today as they are still played in both community and professional theatres...

  • Reputation in Shakespeare’s Othello

    Reputation is what people think of you and it is a part of human nature. Nobody can dispute this fact whether they like it or not. To some, their reputation is a blessing because of positive attitudes towards them. To others, it can be an illness that they cannot cure. In William Shakespeare's Othello, the...

  • Othello Literary Masterpiece

    Introduction  Othello is one of the classical literary masterpieces written by William Shakespeare. Known as the dark-skinned Moor of Venice (Encarta Encyclopedia, 2002), Othello is a story of the mighty warrior whose life turned into a tragic downfall as he was corrupted by suspicion and jealousy over his...

Read also  Disguise in Twelfth Night