“Othello”, a competent and brave soldier serving in the Venetian Republic is a character in the drama Othello by William Shakespeare. He eloped with Desdemona, who was a senator’s daughter. He was later deployed to Cyprus, where one of his officers, a sly man named Iago manipulated him into believing that Desdemona, his wife, was having an affair with Cassio. Cassio was Othello’s Lieutenant. Othello killed Desdemona by suffocating her, and upon realizing that he had been deceived by Iago, he commits suicide. This paper will give an analysis of the drama.
The conversation between Iago and Roderigo at the beginning of the play reveals Iago’s crafty nature. Roderigo was an admirer of Desdemona, and Iago needed to make atonement to Roderigo for not arousing Desdemona’s love for him. Iago also had an interest in keeping a hold on Roderigo’s wealth. Two themes that come out in the drama are jealousy and prejudice. Othello was destroyed by jealousy created in him by Iago in scene three of act three. Iago developed his own jealousy during his relationship with his wife Emilia. It was to the extent that Emilia believed jealousy is men’s personality. He was also jealous of Cassio’s promotion to Lieutenant, a post he had been eying. Jealousy drives Othello beyond respect for justice and common sense, making him believe Desdemona is cheating on him and ultimately killing her (Shakespeare 121).
Racial prejudice existing in the Venetian society fueled the success of Iago’s scheme. Both Othello and Desdemona were aware of prejudice, and Desdemona coped with it by not giving it access to her own life. She based her relationship with Othello on love and was loyal to him. On the other hand, Othello was not aware of the extent the prejudice has penetrated his personality. It leads him to thoughts such he is not attractive or worthy of Desdemona’s love. Prejudice also leads him to believe that there must be something wrong with Desdemona for her to love him. Iago takes advantage of Othello’s internal prejudice and feeds him more lies and hints on Desdemona’s infidelity.
Iago schemes against Othello in Cyprus by implicating Cassio as Desdemona’s lover (Shakespeare 35). He uses Roderigo to plot a fight that ends in Cassio’s demotion. Cassio decides to have Desdemona to plead his reinstatement to her husband (Shakespeare 7). Unknown to Desdemona that Iago is giving lies to her husband she pleads with him reconcile with Cassio. Othello, overwhelmed by anxiety and uncertainty, demands proof of unfaithfulness from Iago. He is not willing to talk to Desdemona about it. The crafty Iago fabricates a story using a handkerchief that Desdemona dropped innocently. He then stages a conversation with Cassio that hardens Othello’s already prejudiced and jealous thoughts. Iago’s manipulations manage to drive the grieving Othello to decide to kill Desdemona while Iago kills Cassio (Shakespeare 447).
The drama also shows how fate can betray the innocent. Desdemona was betrayed by fate and her own loyalty to her husband. While innocently pleading with her husband on Cassio’s behalf, she unknowingly confirms her imagined unfaithfulness to him. Fate also plays on Roderigo’s naive innocence, who believes Iago will win him Desdemona’s love if they kill Cassio. When they attack Cassio at night, fate is again against Roderigo because he is the one who is stabbed by Cassio.
In conclusion, fate also turns against Othello when he kills Desdemona after hearing Cassio’s cries, believing Iago is killing him. When Emilia explained how Desdemona’s handkerchief found its way into Cassio’s possession, she proclaims Iago a liar, and Cassio confirms her assertions. Realizing that he had falsely accused and killed Desdemona, Othello stabs himself to death and falls into bed next to her.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. 1601-1604. Print.