Theme Of Sympathy In Othello

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We hear stories about crimes and murders all the time, and instantly visualize the criminal as evil. While in most cases, the criminal truly is an evil person, this does not hold to be true in all circumstances. Once one delves past the action, they may discover that there are many more factors that contributed to the action. Throughout Shakespeare’s play, Othello, the protagonist, Othello, atrociously murder’s his wife. When simply observing actions alone, Othello would certainly be considered evil; however, William Shakespeare implements various literary devices to create Othello so that he evokes sympathy, instead of rage, from the audience. Primarily, Shakespeare utilizes linguistic changes by Othello to evoke sympathy for Othello from …show more content…
Shakespeare creates Othello’s hardships through situational irony through Iago because Othello “cannot, if [Iago’s] heart were in [Othello’s] hand, Nor shall not, whilst ’tis in my custody” figure out what Iago is thinking (3.3.167-168). Othello and the other characters are clueless of Iago’s true intentions; however, the reader is instantly able to realize Iago’s malicious intentions. Through the situational irony presented with Iago, the audience is able to look past Othello’s evil actions and sympathize with him because the audience knows that Iago is the cause of all evil. In addition to this case of situational irony, Iago’s characterization and relationship with Othello also allows the audience to sympathize with Othello. If the audience had not known of Iago’s ill intentions, the audience would see Othello as much more evil for his murder. Since the audience knows that Iago clearly corrupted Othello, the reader can feel sorry for and understand Othello’s evil action. Iago clearly presents himself as the antagonist when Iago provides advice to Cassio, and then says to himself “what’s he then that says I play the villain?” (2.3.245) Here, Iago’s ill purposes show through. As Iago deviously plots against Othello, the audience steadily grows to hate or feel anger …show more content…
The most obvious moment where Othello’s insanity shines is during the final scene when during his murder of Desdemona. He displays his love and anger as he demands Desdemona to “do it, and be brief” because he “would not kill [Desdemona’s] unprepared spirit” (5.2.33-34). Here Othello depicts his insanity as he is consumed in a storm of love and rage. Despite Desdemona’s constant plea of not being guilty, Othello refuses to believe her and asks her again before he kills her. This stubborn insanity causes the audience to feel sorry for Othello as his thoughts are permanently scarred. Furthermore, Othello’s love is once again displayed in this situation as he tries to save Desdemona from hell by trying to get her to confess. Furthermore, Othello’s insanity is expressed again as Othello stabs himself and mournfully pronounces “I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss” (5.2.375-376). The extreme extent of Othello’s insanity is expressed as he kills himself due to his in ability endure the pain and self-pity. Even as he is dying, his everlasting passionate love is evident as he kisses Desdemona’s corpse. This extreme form of love led to his insanity, and without implementing the element of insanity in Othello’s complex character, sympathizing with Othello would have been harder.

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