Power in Othello- Character Analysis
Power in Othello: Othello: Othello, the principle character, at the start appears to have power- whether it is physical, psychological, political or military. He is portrayed to the audience as a symbol of power and strength. As a knowledgeable soldier, a General to be accurate, Othello has actually had little experience with ladies. Even though he is a high ranking military authorities, he is less respected since of his dark skin and being an immigrant. His stature and tone of voice, in addition to his confidence and belief, lead the audience to think about Othello as the primary representation of power in the play.
Nevertheless, even more into the play, Othello’s power seems to lessen, revealing his insecurity and susceptibility. He is very ignorant and highly thinks those close to him are honest- even deeper in the play when Iago’s doings make Othello dislike those around him, he still believes Iago. Emotionally, Othello likewise appears to have power, generally an outcome of his military rank. In between his soldiers and his buddies, he is also really highly respected, this too being a form of power. Desdemona: Desdemona is Othello’s spouse and the child of Brabantio.
Desdemona privately wed Othello, versus her father’s desires. Throughout the play, Desdemona’s power is not plainly communicated to the audience, but her presence has a result. Roderigo is in love with her and her presence has an impact on him- he wants Othello out of the method, so to speak, so he can once again try to win Desdemona’s love. As the play unfolds, different elements of Desdemona’s character are exposed, and mix into a distinct character. Throughout the play, Desdemona is faithful to her hubby, once again, her presence (with Cassio) leads Othello to think that she is disloyal to him.
Her handkerchief plays a critical role in the play- by Desdemona dropping it, Emilia provides it to Iago, who then stealthily gives it to Cassio. Othello sees Cassio with the handkerchief and believes Desdemona provided it to him, apparently proving Iago’s claims to Othello of Desdemona being an adultress. Iago: Iago is an ensign to Othello, and also a soldier in his army. Iago is the antagonist of the play, and one of the most evil Shakespearean bad guys. Iago is incredibly clever in the method he utilizes unsuspecting power- especially mental power.
He gets into individuals’s heads in many unethical methods- by spreading out incorrect rumours, informing lies and emotionally tricking people and covertly controlling specific scenarios. His power to control is a bottom line in the play, as it leads to major consequences and the deaths of some main characters. Iago’s schemes are multi-levelled- he conspires with roderigo, and makes him think that Desdemona will take him back. On another level, he leads Othello to believe his partner is having an affair with Cassio. He uses his better half Emilia (unidentified to her), to bring back the scarf he uses to trick Othello.
Iago is an exceptionally resourceful and talented man, but he uses these resources and talents in damaging ways. Iago is continuously referred to by many characters as ‘truthful’. He himself also describes sincerity. Many characters believe that they know and trust Iago and that he would not lie, nor deceive them. Iago’s soliloquies also offer important insight into his wicked mind and evil schemes and strategies. Emilia: Emilia is the better half of Iago and Desdemona’s maidservant. Emilia, similar to Desdemona, does not have much power once again her presence has a result.
Her function in the play, apart from being Desdemona’s housemaid, is to bring Desdemona’s handkerchief for Iago, so that he can use it as proof to Othello (unidentified to Emilia) that Desdemona is unfaithful to him. Emilia’s character shows higher advancement in the fourth scene, where she declares that she would be unfaithful in marriage in the right scenarios, which reveals less naivety than Desdemona who hardly even thinks adulterous individuals even exist. In the last act, Emilia exposes her true loyalty by stating that she offered Iago the scarf, a discovery of evidence that Desdemona is not unfaithful.
For doing so, Emilia is stabbed by her husband Iago, and with her dying breath she sings the tune Desdemona told her, “Willow”. Michael Cassio: Cassio is Othello’s lieutenant- he was picked as lieutenant over Iago, much to Iago’s disappointment. Cassio’s power is shown more as an intellectual sort of power, instead of a physical or mental power. However, Cassio is easily controlled and typically the victim of Iago’s plans. In act 2, he ends up being intoxicated at the sneaky hands of Iago, and starts a fight with roderigo, in which he injures him and Montano, and loses his ‘power’ as Othello’s lieutenant.
To the audience, Cassio does not seem like a major source of power, but rather a source of knowledge possibly- that is till his intoxicated brawl, however. Iago then later manipulates him to speak about his girlfriend Bianca, understanding that Othello was privately listening. However, Othello believed Cassio was speaking about his affairs with Desdemona. This, once again shows Cassio’s vulnerability. “Maintain your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.” “O! Be careful, my lord, of jealousy: It is the green-ey ‘d beast which doth mock the meat it feeds upon.” “Who would not make her other half a cuckold to make him a queen? “