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Research Paper-Shakespeare's "Othello"

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Shakespeare's "Othello" is not simply a play. It shows people how jealousy and hateful treachery can drive anyone to tragic end. In this play, the main character is Othello. He is introduced as a tragic hero whose stories of hardships endeared him to his new bride Desdemona. She is truly in love and devoted in trust to Othello. Iago has a reputation for honesty and uses it for dishonest purposes. He is a smart person, but he has a very high opinion of himself, takes delight in his own evil. He knows that he cannot let Othello down, so he wants to have the position of Cassio who is Othello’s loyal lieutenant. In the whole play, Iago continues through out to use tricks and tell lies to accomplish his wishes. Roderigo is a Venetian gentleman deeply in love with Desdemona, and used by Iago. Emilia is Iago’s wife; however, Iago does not really like her. She knows that she could not find another man, so she tries her best to earn her husband’s affection. The affliction of Othello’s character is furthered by Iago’s emphasis upon Othello’s simplicity and honesty, which is sharply contrasted with Iago’s skillfully crafted towers of lies and bejeweled misrepresentations. Iago is a devil pyromaniac. He uses his hateful treachery to let Othello’s jealousy to reach the highest point, then, Othello kills himself. Iago also wants to prove that he can outsmart anyone.

Iago will not accomplish his wish by himself. Therefore, he uses Roderigo and Desdemona’s father Brabantio to help him. Iago tries to arouse Brabantio's anger at Othello by stirring suspicion in the middle of the night. In Act I, Scene I, Iago states “An old black ram is tupping your white ewe.” The word tupping is a nasty term for having sex. Then, Brabantio brings all his people to arrest Othello. Everyone knows Othello is a hero, and Desdemona comes out to tell the truth. At that time, Brabantio knows that he lost his daughter to the Moor, and Iago’s first plan is not successful. However, Iago will not give up. At this point, after Act I, Scene I, Iago totally understands that he could not bring Othello down, but he can try other ways. Each character will fall by the same tragic flaw, since Iago deceives in different methods. However, with an elegant astuteness, he tricks all of them.

Hating some people always has its course for destruction. For example, someone kills a boy’s father, and then the boy hates the murderer. However, Iago does not have a serious reason for hating the people who are surrounding him. In Act I, Scene III, Iago exclaims, “I hate the Moor.” He does not tell anyone specifically his reasons why he hates the Moor. He just wants to bring these people down because their positions are higher than he is. In Act I, Scene III, Iago states “Cassio’s a proper man: let me see now; to get his place, an to plume up my will in double knavery.” He immediately thinks of another plan to get his job done. He decides to use the help of Roderigo by saying “The lieutenant to-night watches on the court of guard. First, I must tell thee this; Desdemona is directly in love with him.”(Act II, Scene 1) Iago does not tell Roderigo directly to hate Cassio or want him to bring Cassio down. He just needs to say something that can make Roderigo feel angry with his rival in love. Then he convinces Roderigo to initiate a fight with Cassio, so he could lose his reputation. After Cassio has gotten drunk, gotten into a fight, lost his job, Iago shows how much of a devil he is. He does not run back to home and laugh until morning, but he convinces Cassio that the best way to get his job back is to appeal to Desdemona. No one knows he is a devil, and in Act II, Scene III, Cassio says, “You advise me well…Good night, honest Iago.” Iago knows people feel he is a nice man, and he can get closer to Othello with using his lies and Othello’s jealousy to bring Othello down.

Telling Cassio to go to Desdemona for help is Iago’s plan. He knows that he cannot just say something bad about Cassio to Othello, so he wants to make Othello see Cassio and Desdemona together. Iago says in Act II, Scene 3, “As I do now: for whiles this honest fool plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes, and she for him pleads strongly to the Moor, I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear, that she repeals him for her body’s lust; and by how much she strives to do him good, she shall undo her credit with the Moor.” Iago’s plan is completely calculated. It is because he is going into the recesses to Othello’s insecure mind; he is able to plant a devil flower. The devil flower is representing Othello’s jealousy. Othello does not trust what Iago says at the beginning. However, Othello will think about Desdemona's alleged affair with Cassio by torturing himself while alone. During that thinking of his wife, the devil flower is growing bigger and bigger in his head without Iago giving any chemical fertilizer.

Othello does not want to agree with Iago, but he is coming closer in believing the fabrication about his wife and Cassio. He feels uncomfortable, and demands Iago to show him "ocular proof." Iago can prove to him nothing because Desdemona and Cassio do not have an affair with each other. At the time that he almost foils his plan, his wife, Emilia gives him Desdemona’s handkerchief. She steals the handkerchief to Iago because she wants her husband to feel she is clever and useful. In Act III Scene III, Iago says in a condescending manner to Emilia a remark implying that she is a foolish wife. Emilia is about to give Iago the ocular proof. However, she never knows that she is giving him the tangible proof he needs to complete his plan. After getting the handkerchief, Iago continues plotting against Othello. He tells Othello that Desdemona gives the handkerchief to Cassio. If he wants to prove that Desdemona did not have an affair with Cassio, he should ask his wife to show him the handkerchief. The handkerchief is not just a simple gift. It is Othello’s mother's that was given to him, and that means it is the only thing that Othello’s family left to him. In Act III, Scene IV Othello says, “That’s a fault, That handkerchief did an Egyptian to my mother give; She was a charmer…while she kept it’s would make her amiable and subdue my father entirely



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