Reflection Essay on Othello
- Date:Jun 25, 2019
Othello is a tragic novel written by William Shakespeare, which was written in the year 1603. Othello is the most famous literary piece of work which portrays the theme of jealousy and suspicion and shows hints of race and racism. Othello, the main character of the novel serves as the hero with minor flaws. Othello is persistently subjected to racism especially when he marries an affluent white woman, Desdemona. Othello is considered to be one of the most controversial plays written by Shakespeare. Some might consider the murder of a white woman by the hands of a black man as racist while some critics do not consider it racist at all. Iago has consistently poisoned the mind of Othello trough dishonesty, lying and planning. Iago, although not convicted for murder can be considered for the case for murder because he is the only person who provoked Othello to murder his own wife.
Jealousy was instilled in the mind of Othello by Iago which destroyed the relationship between the couple. It was because of this jealousy that Othello turned into a savage killer. It is in Act III: Scene 3, when Cassio has a conversation with Desdemona to negotiate with Othello for the sake of him. Desdemona agrees, thinking that Cassio and Othello are old friends. She pledged to talk to her husband and try to solve the matter. At the same time, Othello and Iago enter the scene and Cassio embraces Desdemona and leaves. This is when Iago seized the opportunity to make a comment, “Ha, I like not that” which irritates Othello. Iago also implies that Cassio was not just leaving, rather he was ‘stealing away so guilty like”(39). His tone of voice here suggests that he did not like what he saw; this is when he first instigates the feeling of jealousy into Othello’s mind.
Desdemona unknowingly introduces Cassio’s name into the conversation. This is when fate takes its course and Othello agrees to meet Cassio but actually he is preoccupied by the thoughts in his mind. When Desdemona departs, Othello berates himself for being annoyed by his wife and sighs admiringly, “Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul, But I do love thee! And when I love thee not, Chaos is come again” (90-92).
In the following conversation between Iago and Othello, Iago continues to entail that he is aware of something that he does not want to spill, but Othello refuses to fall for jealousy. It is by this declaration, that Othello shows his weakness, that he is preoccupied by jealousy and suspicion. Othello then begins to doubt his wife, questioning her love for him and that their love was not everlasting. Othello goes through everything in his mind and then concludes that this could not be true. When Othello could not remain calm, Iago sees the chance and again tells that he thinks that Desdemona is cheating on him. When Othello asks for proof, Iago creates a superstitious story regarding Cassio and Desdemona that did not actually happen. This is when the feeling of jealousy completely takes over Othello’s mind and the feeling of vengeance dominates his mind. Iago promises to help Othello to seek revenge. He wishes Cassio dead and then speculates as to how to kill his wife. It is in Act II: scene 4 when Othello’s feeling of jealousy is further ignited.
In Othello, the lead character is responsible for committing the murder. The act of murder was planned in the second act whereas the peak point of the murder occurred in Act 5: Scene 2. The murder of Desdemona required thorough planning and the idea was to beat Desdemona with a sand filled stocking and then make the ceiling of the bedroom fall on her so as to show that Desdemona actually died due to natural consequences. According to the Criminal law the principal of the crime must be guilty. Because Othello is the one to kill his wife in a fit of rage and jealousy and Othello murders his wife without requiring any help from Iago, Iago cannot be charged for committing the murder because he did not directly take part in committing the crime and only served to poison Othello’s mind in killing his wife. But Iago is responsible for killing his own wife and Roderigo and in that case he has exceeded the sin of dishonesty and misrepresentation which is how he becomes a criminal responsible for committing murder.
The theme of jealousy can be seen throughout the novel and how this jealousy affects the whole plot of the story and it is because of this jealousy that Othello turned from a loving husband to a vengeful human being who was stuck on killing his wife.
Shakespeare, William, and M. R Ridley. Othello. London: Metheun, 1962. Print.