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A Play of Love Turned Bad: Shakespeare's Othello Essay

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Shakespeare’s famous play Othello is a play of love that has turned bad by the unfounded jealousy of the protagonist character Othello. Arguably the contribution of Othello’s susceptibility to manipulation, his weaknesses and the manipulation of other characters tactics such as Iago each contribute to the downfall of Othello. However, to the extent of which each is more significant varies and this is what will be analysed in this essay.
Like many of Shakespeare’s tragic plays each has to have a tragic hero. Each of these tragic heroes would have a tragic flaw, they were all from a noble class and would each face their tragedy with dignity. The ultimate flaw of each of these characters would vary in each of Shakespeare’s plays; Macbeths’ tragic flaw was ambition while King Lear’s was that of arrogance. However, Othello is one of the unique tragic heroes as he harboured many flaws such as gullibility, naivety and jealousy.
There are many events and circumstances that contribute to the downfall of Othello in the play, some of which Othello is responsible for and others which are due to circumstances that are beyond his control. These include Othello’s’ ethnicity and Othello’s’ relationship with certain characters in the play.
Shakespeare has created the character of Othello to be a ‘hero of the ancient world‘ (Helen Gardner,1995), in spite of this there are certain circumstances beyond his control that contribute to the downfall of Othello. Othello proves to himself and everyone around him that he is a noble warrior that deserves a certain level of respect. Society doesn’t have a problem with Othello leading the Venetian army but does oppose to the marriage of Othello and Desdemona.
Readers immediately notice that Othello doesn’...


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...reaths she says ‘a guiltless death I die.’.
When news travels that Desdemona is dead Othello discovers that Iago had set everything up and that Desdemona was innocent all along. He then does the most honourable thing that he thinks he can do and that is to kill himself. In his final words he believes that ’there is no way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.’
In conclusion Othello’s jealousy is the one flaw that brings him down the most as he had succumbed to the pernicious influence of revenge which was embodied by the character Iago. If Iago hadn’t been so manipulating and Othello so naïve, the event which resulted in the downfall of Othello could have been avoided; so I believe the reason for his downfall ultimately lies with weaknesses of his character.








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Critics quotes from (Othello: Cambridge School Shakespeare pg237)


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