Main Themes From the Play Othello
- Date:Jun 29, 2019
Othello is one of Shakespeare’s drama works. It is a tragedy acted in 1604. The title is from the main character’s name. This play exposes the evils that are rampant in society concerning love and the quest for power.
The play involves several characters. Othello is the main character and is the hero of the piece. His ensign, Iago fakes loyalty to him but plots his downfall. Iago does not like the fact that Othello chose Cassio as a lieutenant over him (King 50). Iago uses the weaknesses of others to destroy Othello. Othello gets married to a senator’s daughter in the first scene of the play but he does this secretly as the senator does not approve of their marriage He marries Desdemona whom he adores for her nobility and character. Desdemona rejected many suitors and finally settled for Othello who is a foreigner. Othello is a North African. He however earns respect from almost everyone because of his bravery and expertise in war. Iago uses Roderigo, who is madly in love with Desdemona in his plot against Othello. He incites Roderigo to slander Othello before Brabantio the senator, who is Desdemona’s father (McDonald 56).
Betrayal is the main theme in this play. Iago is Othello’s ensign, and Othello regards him highly; as an honest and trustworthy man. On the contrary, Iago admits to hating Othello but faking honesty to him. He holds a grudge against Othello for not promoting him to the lieutenant post. He therefore sets out to plot revenge. First, he incites Roderigo to slander Othello before the senator (Millard 44). However, Othello’s wins the case because Desdemona admits to willingly having fallen in love with Othello and therefore the claims that Othello used black magic were false. The setting shifts to Cypress where Othello is send on a war mission. Othello leaves immediately for Cypress whereas Iago and his wife Millia are supposed to follow Othello to Cypress taking along Desdemona. As part of his plan, Iago convinces Roderigo to sell his property and follow them to Cypress so that he can fight for the woman he loves. Iago deceives him that he would help him win Desdemona. In cypress, Iago turns Roderigo against Cassio by convincing him that Cassio and Desdemona were having an affair. He also awakens jealousy in Othello by making him believe that his wife was having an affair with the lieutenant, Cassio. Iago sets up Cassio by getting him drunk and utilizing his ability to seduce women and fixes him to having an affair with Othello’s wife. Othello cannot bear the pain of betrayal from his wife, therefore kills her, and later kills himself. Iago betrays both Othello and Roderigo. Othello betrays the love of his wife by not believing her innocence. Millia, Iago’s wife betrays him as she constantly cheats on him (Matz 262).
In addition, as evident in Kolin, love is illustrated in the play. Othello and Desdemona are truly in love with each other (225). Desdemona chooses to disobey her father and marry the Moor, Othello. She rejects other rich and white suitors to marry a black soldier. She commits her life to support Othello in his war assignments. Othello loves and adores her and he cannot take the pain of losing her to another man. Unfortunately, Iago breaks the love for the two and tears them apart in death. Roderigo is also madly in love with Desdemona and he loses everything he has in the race to win her heart. Such are the sacrifices people make for love (Shakespeare 20).
Othello is an intriguing play. It drives us to the realities of life in the battle for power and love and brings out the effect of jealousy that is sheer betrayal. This play is relevant to society even today and is a challenge to individuals who let jealousy and hatred lead them to commit evils in society.
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Kolin, C. Philip. Othello: new critical essays. London: Routledge. Print.
Matz, Robert. Slander, Renissance Discourses of Sodomy, and Othello. Detroit: Gale, 1999. 261-276. Print.
McDonald, Russ. Othello, Thorello, ad the problem of the foolish hero. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 51-67. Print.
Millard, Rosie. Shakespeare by numbers. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 44-45. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Othello By William Shakespeare. London: Global Media. Print.