“Othello” a black man affected his audience. Black

“Othello” is
a Shakespearean tragedy it encompasses many different elements. Shakespeare represents
all of these elements spectacularly in “Othello”. There are other themes such
as trust and manipulation and racism. The fact that Shakespeare’s hero is a
black man affected his audience. Black people to leave England because they were
taking Christian people’s jobs. This extreme narrow-minded view was the product
of centuries of piles up ideas about racial hierarchy, but it also was
reinforced by ideas of class and gender difference. Tragedies in this period
focus on the upper classes and political transaction between families. When
Othello married Desdemona, their kind of marriage was for love and sexual
desire which challenges the social norms and it can be desperately fragile,
either because of their own internal weakness or because of external pressures.
The great theme in this play is the love between Othello and Desdemona met by
jealousy, hate, treachery and finally death. The full title of the play gives
us a better understanding of it. “Othello” is a tragedy and we expect the
tragic hero to end up dead or at least destroyed. Also “The Moor” gives us more
information about the hero. The term Moor refers to the Muslim citizens of
North Africa, mainly Morocco and Algeria. In the time of Othello’s performance,
the term “Black Moor” wasn’t a very respectful term to describe a black skinned
with. There are five conditions occur in tragedy. The protagonists always have
a characters faults or a “tragic flaw” in the Shakespearean tragedies. This “tragic
flaw” is referring to a figure characteristics of the main character to make
mistake in judgment leading him to this downfall and finally death. The
downfall of the central character in the main reason for the tragedy. On the
other hand, a “Tragic Hero” empowers a human propensity to make mistake in
judgment. We have F.R Leavis and A.C Bradly’s explanation and assessment of
“Othello” as a tragic hero.

Othello is a
tragic hero in that he allowed his jealousy to defeat him. It is one thing to
be jealous, but Othello performed on his doubt and put to death his wife,
Desdemona. Because Iago implanted seeds of jealousy, Othello was taken into a
trap. Othello should have confidence his wife. His faith about the wrong man
and his life break off in tragedy. Othello, a Moorish general army in the
service of Venice. A loving and courageous soldier with a candid and truthful
nature, he has a weakness that makes him helpless to Iago’s devilish
temptation. He becomes jealous of his innocent wife and his faithful
lieutenant. His character declines, and he ignores Iago to have his lieutenant
murdered. Finally, he decides to kill his wife with his own hands. After
killing her, he experiences his innocence, and he justices and kills himself. Revenge
is a certain theme throughout the play, Othello. It is represented by the
character Iago. Iago is ascertained to demolish Othello and his loved ones.
This requital is a result of Othello promoting Cassio to the location of
lieutenant. The theme of revenge is the inspiration of Iago’s contempt toward
Othello. On the other hand, “Othello” is a domestic tragedy is the meaning that
it deals with domestic issues of a couple’s married life. The husband’s jealousy
and he trust blinded of Iago as his life’s authority and also the wife’s
stupidity which leads to their inversion. He capitulates to his anger and
unreasonable thinking.

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The
character of Iago is both key and complex. Iago himself offers many explanations
and reasons for his behavior during the play, his reasons may not be right but
he is intending to destroy people’s lives in the process of completing them. Iago
is the perfect villain. His character is eroded by jealousy and hatred. He is
feeling angry and humiliated because he didn’t get the promotion, a chance to
be in a higher position in the army. These feelings were obvious from the
beginning. He also doesn’t seem to respect Othello much. His tone when he talks
about him is very sarcastic and disrespectful. He even refers to him as “his
moor ship”, which is a pun for “his worship”. From the beginning, Iago is
represented as a manipulative person. He encourages Roderigo to prank
Brabantio. Iago’s language might seem complex and unclear, but this’s a part of
Shakespeare’s characterization of him. One remarkable sentence that he said,
“I’m not what I am”. This reflects a very mysterious personality and unclear purposes.

There’s a
huge difference between Othello’s and Iago’s language. It reflects how different
Iago is from the hero. His language is usual, prose, less impressive, and
viewing love as a sexual desire only. In the final speech of this scene, Iago
is alone, and we were given access to his thoughts through a soliloquy. Shakespeare
giving the audience with Iago’s soliloquies is like providing an overview of
what is about befall, making an obvious picture in the audiences’ heads and
then pursuit towards it, and also a profound insight into Iago’s character. The
soliloquy discloses to us Iago’s motivations and his plan to use Cassio to
bring Othello down. Iago exposes his hatred for Othello. He tells us his plan,
he will use the free and open nature, and Cassio’s honest appearance and modesty
against them. Iago is greeting the audience, and although we don’t sympathize
with him, we now know his intentions and inner thoughts. We know from earlier
that Iago hates Othello for not giving him the preferment that he deserves, but
now he seems to find another reason to hate him, which is the rumors about
Othello and his wife Emilia, that they are sleeping together. But this wasn’t
mentioned again or emphasized, which makes us wonder if Iago is just looking
for any reason to justify his unreasonable hatred for Othello?

Iago’s
actions were always a questionable area for critics, what are his real motives?
The romantic poet Samuel Coleridge said that Iago’s actions are coming from his
hatred and the pure evilness inside him, rather than any logical reason. At
this point, we can see Iago’s true evil self, unlike the other characters.
Iago’s best weapon is that he knows the other characters better than
themselves, then he manipulates and plays with his words to let them hear what
they want until he gets what he wants. For example, Othello thinks that Iago is
an honest man that he gave him the mission of supervising Desdemona’s trip to
Cyprus. Othello is easily cheated by Iago. He trusts Iago more than he trusts
his wife. Othello is cheated by Iago because Iago is a master at manipulation.
No doubt, Iago is a clever man. He is a master at deception. In act II, Scene
III, Othello expresses his trust in Iago, insisting that Iago is an honest man.
He has no reason to suspect that Iago is lying. Othello claims Iago is an
honest man:

“… I know
you are full of love and honesty

And weigh
your words carefully before saying them.”

It’s
clearly, Othello is too trusting. He believes that Iago is his honest ensign.
Othello could never imagine that anyone who works for him could be deceitful.
Othello believes Iago because Iago is very convincing. He is an expert actor.

 

Iago can be
blamed for Othello’s downfall because it is his inherent evil, jealousy, and
indignation towards the general that leads him to enter an evil plot, not only
to punish him but to get free of him completely. From beginning to end, Iago
orchestrates the whole cowardly plan that brings about Othello’s dishonor and
loose of life, starting with the madness of Cassio, Othello’s depended
lieutenant. After insulting Cassio, Iago starts believing Othello that Cassio
and Desdemona are having an affair, a claim bolstered by his well-known
handkerchief trick. Finally, wrongly realized that Desdemona is engaged with
Cassio, Othello kills her. After that he find out his mistake, Othello kills
himself. This tragic sequence of events is caused by Iago’s evasion, so he can
be observed as elementary cause of Othello’s downfall. The play not only
focuses on Othello’s tragic end, but also on the way Iago causes it through his
extend fraud. Othello is so ready to accept Iago’s insinuations because it is
Othello’s own insecurity that gives Iago the scope to work on his fears and
manipulate him. Othello’s insecurities come from that fact that he is an
outsider, he is not originally from Venice. Also, he is ethnically different.
Iago, Roderigo, and Brabantio take it for granted that the marriage between a
black African and a white Venetian woman is abnormal. Brabantio’s first
presumption was that Othello must have fascinated his daughter because there’s
no way she could’ve chosen to love. All these humiliating and racist complaint
added to Othello’s insecurities. Also, his insecurity about his age. He’s
afraid that Desdemona would in the end love another man because he’s much older
than her. Iago echoes Brabantio’s warning to Othello, that just like she fooled
her father and married him, she’s going to fool him and love another man. The
fact that Othello doesn’t have any experience with women. Othello’s
insecurities about his race and age and lack of experience with women made him
tend to expect the worst of Desdemona. This’s not a justification for his
murder, but it could be an explanation. Iago does not have the free will to
refrain from wickedness. His behavior does not qualify him to see the
righteousness in anyone or anything, he is driven by a rapacity for evil beyond
his control.

A.C. Bradley
and F.R. Leavis differ in their assessment of “Othello” as a tragic hero in the
play. A.C. Bradley looks to Othello as a hero, pro-Othello, a victim and an “open
and passionate”, a lover the power of whose emotion inspired the love not only
of Desdemona, but the audience. He insults the society and Iago because they
transformed Othello from a noble and a good person to a monster. Bradley sympathies
with Othello because the racism in the society and the devilish Iago, both Iago
and Roderigo deliberated as an external powers, have disconcerted him and make
him loose his sense of nobility and rationality. Bradley discovers Iago a pure
evil, the master of manipulation. He says that Iago ruined a great love story
in which the lovers could’ve lived ever after. Othello is a hero because he has
acquired victories and faces the danger and obstacles during his life until he
becomes a general in the Venetian army. Unfortunately, the Venetian society has
a large part contributed to Othello decease. On the other hand, F.R. Leavis believes
that Bradley sentimentalized Shakespeare’s tragedy and displaced its centre.
Leavis believes that Othello is the main character, while Iago is just a
subordinate. Leavis focus on the “temptation scene” is assistant, since it is
the turning point of the action. He believes that Othello is “Anti-Othello” not
a hero and he is responsible for his own downfall. Moreover, he suggests that
Iago is not “external evil” that is responsible and not to insult wholly.
Othello ponder that his wife no longer loves him, maybe because he is too old
for her, because he is black. Also, his unlimited trust on others specially
Iago beside his is lack of self-esteem makes him gives Iago the opportunity to
control his thoughts and life. Leavis sees Othello as self-dramatizer who lets
Iago leads his life because he doesn’t have enough self-confidence. Another
point is, he is funky actions, and he can’t face his fears and always gives
irrational decisions without controlling his anger and jealousy. All these
issues push him to kill his wife and suicide.