Evolution of Othello’s Character
Othello initially establishes an impression of courage and dignity as a Moorish general capable of ranking his officials yet this is later observed to develop into a credulous character in the hands of Iago then a figure of hatred and vulnerability at deciding the ill fate of his wife and his own life in the end. Through the events and journey between home and place of duty, Othello’s disposition unfolds responses that are bound to reveal the weaknesses and strengths of the protagonist. Othello appears to have become a helpless victim of Iago in the sense that he is completely unaware of the ill schemes of the latter over his envy of Cassio’s promotion and this marks the novel’s conflict which essentially leads to the evolution of Othello’s character.
Iago has been capable of executing his cunning, manipulative strategies to get into power without getting caught due to his intelligence and expertise as a high-ranking soldier that he manages to hold in secret the marriage between Othello and Desdemona. This makes Othello keep a considerable amount of confidence with Iago along with the other incidences in which the former has sought the aid of the latter so it could never be in Othello’s mind to suspect Iago of deception. His whole trusting nature toward the clever ensign fails to examine the situation of Iago’s conceited tactics.
Shakespeare, however, accounts as well for a part when Othello occurs to gain control stating “Now, by heaven, / My blood begins my safer guides to rule, / And passion, having my best judgment collide, / Assays to lead the way – If I once stir / Or do but lift this arm, the best of you / Shall sink in my rebuke” (II, iii, lines 203 – 8). It particularly exhibits the brave capacity of Othello to confront the contradictions of Roderigo in the midst of battle between Cassio and Montano.
Due to his ardent love for Desdemona, the affectionate character of Othello is conveyed but because of the intensity of emotions associated to this love, the protagonist is eventually overcome by insecurity assuming a full thought of betrayal on the basis of Iago’s claims. The man’s subsequent hatred for the spouse without necessitating any further investigation brings to disclosure what seems lacking in a virtuous man who, otherwise, has so much to prove in terms of great military skills as a Moorish general in the Venetian army. On this note, one may have mixed empathy and anguish over Othello’s condition in which there emerges ignorance in the painful discovery of Desdemona’s infidelity which is abruptly supposed by Othello despite its justifiable untruth. At a point of direct impulse, hence, Othello resolves to kill Desdemona.
Apparently, the journey climaxes at the moment when Emilia, Iago’s wife, turns in the deceit of her husband and Othello suddenly transitions into a state of compassion for Desdemona. With the combined grief and guilt in his reformed character, Othello becomes unable to forgive himself at the realization of ignorance that this yields him to a total shift of paradigm for Iago whom he judges to deserve the experience of miserable lifetime. Then the moor applies this final character in the act of slaying himself by the sword.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. New ed. Penguin Classics, 2005.