In the play “Othello, The Moor of Venice, by Shakespeare, there is a character known as Othello (Shakespeare 16). Othello, a distinguished warrior in Venice, was always geared up to defend his people from any external threat. Othello was married to Desdemona, the daughter of senator Brabantio, after he took her away without her father’s consent. His critics called him Moor due to his dark skinned appearance and his affiliation to the northwestern Africa Muslim people. Othello has an assistant known as Iago, a deceitful, self-centered, cunning and evil character, whose main objective is to ruin Othello’s life following the appointment of Michael Cassio as a lieutenant. The play by Shakespeare reveals the evolution of Othello’s character from a respectable Venetian warrior to a murder. Othello’s weaknesses make him vulnerable to Iago’s villain acts, which convince Othello that Cassio was having a secret love affair with Desdemona. Othello’s jealousy and vengeance causes him to kill his loving and trusting wife, Desdemona. Thereafter, Othello commits suicide after realizing that Iago had deceived him. This paper seeks to analyze Othello’s character evolution and journey throughout the play while indicating Othello’s intrinsic as well as extrinsic motives.
Evolution of Othello’s Character
At the beginning of the play, Othello is portrayed as a kind and dignified military soldier sharing a coherent love with his wife, Desdemona, which is transparent and full of trust. Othello’s character evolves from the response and the attention he received as Venice warrior. It is apparent that Othello is responsive which is evidenced when he called on duty by the Duke of Venice to go on war against the Turk. He is extremely dedicated and determined to his duties. Although, Turk of Cyprus drowns into the sea following a strong storm, Othello is determined and he courageously leads Venice troops across the stormy sea to Cyprus. Othello can be identified as being tactful and wise, particularly when he decides not to confront Brabantio following the accusations of bewitching his daughter.
Conversely, Othello’s weakness is distinguished as naiveté, jealousy, vengeance and over-trust. Othello’s personality defects contribute significantly to his evolution from a highly respected soldier to a reckless wife murderer. Othello’s transformation is based on his rising jealousy and trust to Iago. Iago’s deceptions are evident throughout the play. Iago’s ill motives of appraising himself while destroying others image significantly contributes to Othello’s evolution from an innocent character to a murderer. Othello naively follows Iago’s deceits, which transforms him less of a hero by the end of the play. Iago’s seductions and the subsequent fall of Othello, reveals a warrior who is not assertive and therefore gives way to racial differences to ruin his life.
With regard to physical journey, Othello is sent to Cyprus by the Duke of Venice to fight with the Turk anf this is an extrinisic motivation for his journey (Shakespeare 35). When he is called by the Duke through his lieutenant, he is responsive and he immediately set out for Cyprus. He courageously faces the raging storm, and though he does not face the Turk warriors himself, he wins the battle against the Turk. When he lands in Cyprus, he engages in another journey to investigate a Casino in order to find out the truth about his wife’s betrayal. His wife’s betrayal in this case is an intrinsic motivation for the journey. Othello’s physical journey introduces us to the paradox in the play; Othello the Venice warrior goes to Cyprus in pursuit of their enemies but he ended up killing his own people.
The play reveals the insecure emotional journey that Othello undergoes that begins when he is married to Desdemona. In the beginning of the play, he loves and trusts his wife. Later in the play, he makes an unmatched pursuit when he engages in jealous and revenge against the very own that he is supposed to protect. Despite being a warrior, Othello is led into this emotional journey by a villain whose pursuit is questionable. Othello emotionally murders his wife and later guilt makes him to commit suicide after he learns that his wife did not betray him, but he is the one who had betrayed her. Racial differences also contribute to the emotional journey of Othello. Iago from the beginning of the play uses race to ruin the life of the naive Othello (Shakespeare 206).
Othello’s character in the novel is revealed by his own personality and that of Iago. He was responsible of all his action and this is seen when Desdemona father inquires of his act of taking his daughter without his assent. Othello’s intrinsic motives include his quests for protecting the venetians and his openly demonstrated love for Desdemona. On the other hand, Othello’s extrinsic motives revolve around vengeance, murder, suicide and jealousy. Othello’s evolution begins when he is portrayed has hero in the Venetian state and ends when he is portrayed as a wife-murder as well as a failure in the State.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. London: Plain Label Books, 1969.