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Analysis of the Character ‘Othello’

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 wife Desdemona and his new friend Cassio. Unknown to Othello, it was Iago, his evil lieutenant, who conspired against his happiness and domination. Though it has been said that every character has a great significance and plays an important role in every story, Othello is one of the most affective. His character is the main reason why major incidents in the novel took place.

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Othello is perceived as a man of contradicting personalities. First, he is an outcast – culturally and racially – in his own country, but his skills as a soldier and his leadership skills are vary important to the state that is why his presence is very critical to the existence and stability of the state. Even if others perceive him as an outsider, they could not really get rid of him because he is in great demand by the duke and senate. Meanwhile, those who consider Othello as a friend do so because of his unique qualities. His being an outcast and exceptional is what they liked about Othello.

Othello can also be admired for his bravery, courage, wisdom and tactful ways, however, he himself had a great contribution on his own tragic downfall. There was this part in the story where he had shown enough patient not to fight with Brabantio, the father of his wife Desdemona because he wanted to prove that he did not bewitched his wife and that it was actually love that bonded them as a couple. If he was wise enough and confident on the love he shared with Desdemona, he could not easily be manipulated and brainwashed by the evil Iago for him to believe that his friend and soldier, Cassio and his wife were betraying him and that the two were having an affair. In short, Othello did not use his bravery and intelligence, necessary characteristics of being a soldier and a leader, when it is very much needed.

Othello is a perpetrator and a victim himself. He was a victim of the circumstances that Iago had made to destroy his trust to his wife, to his friend and even to himself. If he was able to know what’s playing in Iago’s mind earlier before he had done such tragic deed of killing Desdemona, then he could have saved her. He could as well saved his reputation and self respect. He killed his wife to save his pride because the idea of Desdemona’s accused infidelity was unbearable for him. It was a threat to his own dignity. The worst part is that he did not only lose his pride. Nothing was left for him in this tragic story. Though Othello is the main character in this literary masterpiece, a twenty percent attribution is fair enough for him. Never would a man desire to be in a shameful ending. He would never have wanted to kill his wife, lose his friend and destroy his own reputation if it was not because of the evil plans of Iago. If he was able to know Iago’s plans, he could have done something to save everything including Desdemona, his beloved wife, Cassio, his friend and his own life and honor.

Indeed, Othello possessed distinctive yet contradicting personalities. He may be brave but he is weak. He is brave because he can lead an army and fight for a cause, but he is weak because he could not control his own emotions that he ended up tragically. He may be a good leader but he failed to assess his own army. He can lead his people and his words is followed ceremoniously but only one man, in the name of Iago, can put him down. He may be a good friend and a good husband but he did not trust his very own friend and beloved. He doubted their true relationship and their loyalty to him.

So the next question is does Othello deserved the ending? Should there be a better ending other than his own death? I think not. Othello should really die as what happened in the play. His friend and beloved wife died because of his weakness. The people already suffered. His army already knows his weakness. It was known that he had become a puppet through the manipulation of a single man. Othello could not live in shame. He could not redeem his dignity anymore. Hence, there really is not better ending for Othello than by facing his own death.

But there is one thing that could have happened before Othello killed himself. Iago could have suffer more. During the time that this play was set, tooth for tooth or an eye for an eye is the name of the game. Iagos’ selfish deeds should have been punished more. He deserved something more than what Othello had already done. He could die in front of the people, he could have been hanged in front of the statesmen or other more tragic death that what has already been done to him. Othello could have shown no mercy. But then again, what Othello did to Iago is just another show of his contradicting attributes.

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Works Cited

“Characters of Othello”.

“Othello”. 2002. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia.

“Othello: Analysis of Iago”. Web.

“Othello: Analysis of Major Characters”. Web.

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