Othello: Great vs Evil
Excellent Or Evil: An Important Analysis of Othello’s Main Characters William Shakespeare’s Othello is a timeless depiction of a struggle in between excellent and evil. In the play,, the characters are faced with the option to either dominate or catch the overwhelming force of evil. Shakespeare places his characters on a sort of spectrum in which a character’s amount of god or evil can be represented by a shade of color: black representing pure evil, white representing absolute goodness, and a shade of grey exhibiting the nature of all characters that fall in between the two extremes of the spectrum.
In the play Othello, the primary characters are a prefect example of this technique of characterization. Through plot development, interactions with other characters, and other different methods of characterization, the two primary characters Othello and Iago, expose their true colors throughout the advancement of the play. Othello, the main character in the play, when analyzed can be thought about a grey character; he has the tendency to succumb to the darkness of evil, or get rid of the force of wicked and emerge as a champion of the good.
Prior to the start of the unique, Othello had actually secretly wed Desdemona, child of Brabantio who is a Venetian senator. When the topic of Desdemona’s marriage to Othello is brought up to Brabantio, he chooses to implicate Othello of wooing her by witchcraft in front of the senate and the duke in order to break up the marital relationship and have his child returned. This strategy backfires, nevertheless, as Othello describes to the senate and the duke that he wooed Desdemona with his stories of how he gained his liberty, the splendid fights he won, and the unusual and fascinating things he had seen on his journeys around the world.
He mentions to the senate: These things to hear/ Would Desdemona seriously incline./ But still the house affairs would draw her hence,/ Which ever as she could with rush dispatch,/ She ‘d come again, and with a greedy ear/ Devour up my discourse/ … She enjoyed me for the threats I had passed,/ And I liked her that she did pity them (Shakespeare 1. 3. 40). Othello has the ability to win over the senate and the duke with his remarkable stories. The duke even mentions, “I believe this would win my child too” (1. 3. 40).
At this point in the play, it is apparent that Othello is almost a purely white character; his only defect being he had, “… ta’en away this old male’s child,/ It is most true. Real I have actually married her./ The very head and front of my upseting/ Hath this extent, no more” (1. 3. 35). This burst of goodness is short resided in the character of Othello, nevertheless. With the progression of the play, Othello starts to become darker and darker of a character, as he becomes enshrouded with lies that corrupt him and send him spiraling downward up until he is surrounded by a dark evil.
Norman Sanders, a literary critic of Shakespeare’s Othello talks about how the use of language specifies the primary characters of the play. In his criticism Othello, Sanders writes, “Othello’s natural speech is poetic, majestic, romantic, brave, and so on … during the course of the action, Iago manages to ‘contaminate’ Othello with some sordid ideas and speech, in impact bringing the noble Moor partway down to his own level” (Nardo 52). In Othello’s life, Iago represents the evil that he is burdened with getting rid of. Sadly for Othello, he is not able to avoid himself from being limited by Iago and his wicked methods.
Iago, a soldier in Othello’s army who wished to wed Desdemona, decides to control Othello into thinking his other half was cheating on him with Michael Cassio, Othello’s lieutenant. This shroud of lies blinds Othello to the fact and sends him into fits of uncontrollable rage, and even epileptic fits. Iago’s developed lie of Desdemona’s extramarital relations brings Othello to a point in which he becomes a completely dark character consumed with evil; he reaches out with vengeance in his eyes towards his other half, and smothers her.
It is this very moment, the murder of Desdemona, that crosses Othello over from the light to the dark. Wyndham Lewis mentions in his criticism of Othello that, “For Othello there is nothing equivocal, I believe; and the black fugre of this child-man is one of the poles of Shakespeare’s experience” (39 ). Here, Lewis is explaining how Othello thinks only one side of the story that he hears. He has become a black figure: and evil man on the severe end of one side of shakespeare’s spectrum.
Othello eventually loses the fight to wicked since of his loss of sight caused by deceit and jealousy. In the end, Othello ends his sufferings by taking his own life; turning himself over as a victim of the darkness that clouded his life. The dramatic shift from excellent to evil in Othello is what identifies him as being a grey character. From very early in the play, it appears that the character Iago represents pure evil in Othello. The very first few lines spoken by Iago are those that reveal an outright hate and disgust of a particular person, who we later on find out is Othello. It is this hatred for Othello that drives the entire action of the play, as it is based upon Iago’s wicked computing and malevolent adjustment of Othello. Iago, a master of manipulation, convinces Othello that Desdemona is having an affair. The shroud of lies Iago has the ability to produce around Othello is too thick for him to see through and Othello is eventually convinced of the extramarital relations of his wife which leads to him taking her life, and quickly afterward, his own. Iago clearly has a severe hatred for Othello, however the inspiration for this hatred is unclear.
In the start of the novel, he specifies that he hates Othello for picking Michael Cassius over him for the rank of lieutenant. Later On in Act One, he mentions that he believes Othello for sleeping with his other half, Emilia: “… I hate the moor./ It is believed abroad that ‘twixt my sheets/ He’s done my office” (Shakespeare 1. 3. 35). Later on again, this time in Scene 2, Iago’s intentions change once again. Iago claims that he had developed a lust for Desdemona and wants to sleep with her in order to get even with Othello for sleeping with Emilia.
Whatever the motive, Iago requires to his diabolical practices with much pleasure, regardless of who he is corrupting. Plainly, Iago is a sneaky character who represents the blackest of blacks and the darkest of darks on the color spectrum. He is the purest type of evil that impacts more than just Othello in this play. At the end of Act Two, Iago gets Cassio intoxicated and makes him insinuate a fight with Roderigo. In an effort to prevent the battle Governor Montano gets stabbed by Cassio. Towards the end of the play, Roderigo is wounded in a battle with Cassio that was begun by Iago, and is later killed in the same fight.
Leaving from the battle, Iago spontaneously injuries Cassio and quickly gets away the scene. The climax of the play happens when Othello eliminates Desdemona out of jealousy and rage; a jealousy and rage that was started by the deceptiveness and lies of Iago. After Othello kills his wife, Emilia goes into the scene and reveals to Othello that Desdemona had been devoted to him and exposes the truth to Othello. Iago, having actually been found as a phony and a deceiver eliminates his better half and once again flees. Finally, Othello wind up killing himself. All of this death and damage in the play was brought on by one male, Iago.
Clearly, he represents absolute darkness in Othello and is the epitome of evil. Included within Shakespeare’s play Othello are characters who represent pure goodness as well as absolute evil, and everything in between. Characters like Othello start out as naturally excellent characters, however when confronted with the job of dealing with and getting rid of wicked they might fail and fall to the dark side, just as Othello did. Outright evil in this play is manifested through the character Iago. Iago utilizes his maniacal capabilities to manipulate Othello and shroud him in a cloud of lies.
This eventually causes the death and failure of many characters, consisting of Othello. The advancement of the play help to identify Othello and Iago as black, white, or grey characters in the play Othello. Bibliography Blossom, Harold. William Shakespeare’s Othello. Broomall: Chelsea House Publishers, 1999. Helium, Inc. “Literary Analysis: Contrast of the characters Othello and Desdemona.” Helium. 2002-2012. February 27 2012. http://helium. com/items/1212109-what-was-othello-and-desdemonas-relationship Nardo, Dan. Readings on Othello. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 2000. Othello– Battle of Great vs. Evil.” Field of Themes. February 27 2012. http://field-of-themes. com/shakespeare/Eothello2. htm “Othello Characters.” Outright Shakespeare. 2000-2005. February 27 2012. http://absoluteshakespeare. com/guides/othello/ characters/characters. htm Shakespeare, William. Othello. New York: Glow Publishing, 2003. Shmoop University. “Iago.” Shmoop. February 28 2012. http://shmoop. com/othello. iago. html Weller, Phillip. “Iago’s Motivations.” Shakespeare Navigators. 2012. February 27 2012. http://shakespeare-navigators. com/othello/iagomotv. html