Othello: Tragic Hero
- Date:Jul 01, 2019
Othello Act-III, Scene_III Scene-III of Act-III holds a great significance as the fulfillment of Iago’s evil plan to take a revenge on Othello takes place here. We see how Othello, under Iago’s influence, waters the plant of jealousy and wins the title of tragic hero because of his inner weakness, how it is further unintentionally nurtured by Desdemona’s innocent gestures, how Emilia supports her husband’s plan and finally how it leads to deadly consequences.
Through this scene Shakespeare presents that trust and love are sacred feelings but when the seed of jealously and suspicions is sown in a loving heart, the person starts analysing things from a wrong perspective. The person gets blind to all the innocence, love and care his beloved shows and take every action as confirmation to his evil thoughts, that’s why Shakespeare condemn jealousy by calling it ‘the green-eyed monster’.
The scene III starts with Cassio’s request to Desdemona to plead for him in front of her husband Othello and he will be indebted to her. Desdemona has a soft corner for Cassio and owes her a lot as he helped Othello and Desdemona before their marriage so she would go to any extant to help Casssio in retaining his position both as a lieutenant and as a trusted fellow. Desdemona, as we are well aware of her nature that she is a lady of determination who once stood in front of her father to get married to Othello and now she will favour Cassio without caring for anything.
At this moment Othello arrives with Iago and sees Cassio leaving, who does not want to confront Othello as he feels guilty, Iago takes an advantage of this situation and starts sowing the seed of suspicion and jealousy in the heart of Othello for Desdemona cunningly as we hear him saying, “That he would steal away so guiltylike, / seeing you coming.” This penetrates more in his heart than what Desdemona says a few minutes later pleading Cassio’s case, “I have been talking with a suitor here, / A man that languishes in your displeasure.” Desdemona tells him that Cassio is really sorry and guilty so he should be forgiven. She insists him to meet Cassio as soon as possible and call him back to his duties. Desdemona’s constant pleads irritate him and he tells to discuss this matter “not now”. Desdemona is amazed at his denial to give this favour but Othello assures her that he won’t deny her anything and asks her to leave him alone.
Iago comes and starts making Othello uncomfortable by talking about the issue at hand and asks. Iago speaks vague and pretends to be honest and to hide something to save Othello from being hurt . He remains successful in pushing Othello to insist Iago to present his view point. Iago shows uncertainty in Cassio’s being honest through his tone as he says, “Who has that breast so pure, / But some uncleanly apprehensions, / Keep leets and law days and in session sit, / With meditations lawful.” He cleverly hints the disloyalty of Desdemona along with faking him as a well wisher of Othello by suggesting him to not doubt her love.
The vague statements of Iago enhance Othello’s dark thoughts and he start doubting Cassio’s honesty but he still tries to believe that his wife is loyal to her. Here Iago hits the wavered faith of Othello about his wife and speaks directly that she deceived her father to marry him and now she might have repented on her decision. Othello starts doubting his own qualities and Desdemona’s love for him and make him regret at the decision of marrying Desdemona. This weakness and insecurity of Othello makes him a tragic hero who is going to bring catastrophe upon him by this error of judgement.
Othello, the tragic hero, wins our sympathies as he tries to have faith in his beloved wife by telling himself, “She had eyes and chose me” which Iago approves as her unnatural choice. Othello, confused and suffering from painful thoughts, finally decides to rely on reason rather than love or jealousy to resolve this situation, “to be once in doubt, / Is once to be resolved.” Iago’s hypocrisy is striking as enhances Othello’s feelings of jealousy and suspicion and plays naive by saying that it is probably nothing. Iago, becoming aware of Othello’s determination, plans to trick his reason by deceptive show of facts which would lead Othello demolish his faith in Desdemona.
Othello’s soliloquy is remarkable as he expresses his sorrow at his being betrayed by Desdemona and his rage at her supposed treachery. For the first time, we find Othello uttering rude words for Desdemona whom he compares with a falcon which he will set free and remain unsure of its return. It is ironical that at the same time he praises Iago for his loyalty and honesty towards him unaware of his revenge which he is successfully going to take against him.
Poor Desdemona unaware of all the evil plans plotted against her comes to Othello worried of her husband’s health shows him love and try to humour him. She tries to bind his head with her handkerchief which was the first token of love from Othello but ironically its importance is violated by Othello himself. The handkerchief holds great importance as it was so dear to Desdemona that she never got parted from it and now it is thrown unconsciously. Emilia grabs it and provides her husband with a proof to confirm his suspicions.
Iago, now sure of his plan’s being successful tells Othello that he saw that loved handkerchief in Cassio’s room and heard him making love to her while dreaming but Othello must not have enough courage to see them together so he must ask her about the handkerchief which has lost importance as she does not love Othello anymore. Here Othello has lost reason and has started to analyse things with Iago’s mind. We see that Othello lose his control on him and on his language as he speaks rough and rude who once had owned the words of beauty. He loses all the reason and fails to realize that it was all a game of words and gets driven by Iago who becomes a dominating figure. We pity Othello as he suffers terribly because of his inner weakness and lack of faith in both himself and his wife which give way to jealousy and suspicion cleverly induced in him by Iago who is revengeful. Othello decides to kill his wife to punish for her betrayal which is so painful for him but his manhood, dignity and possessiveness does not allow him to share his love with another man. At the end, Iago proclaims, ‘I am your own for ever” is full of irony as he gets complete hold of him.
To conclude, Scene-III is important as it reveals different traits of the characters which give us an insight to their behaviours. Iago being an evil genius exploits Othello’s weakness and produces jealousy in his heart which finally pushes him to meet a tragic end.