Social Issues In Othello, By William Shakespeare

1678 Words 7 Pages
Some perplexing social issues, such as bigotry and envy, have passed from one generation to the next, affecting those that suffer from them. William Shakespeare, a well-known poet, often wrote plays including these controversies. One of these plays, Othello, is about a black man named Othello who faces prejudice due to his ethnicity. He is a proud and capable general in battle, which has won him the favor of the senate. Yet his place in society as a Moor keeps him feeling insecure when it comes to his wife, Desdemona. Othello’s insecurity becomes his downfall, as he is manipulated by Iago, who poses as a trusted friend. Iago, a central figure in both the play and the movie, is crafty and plays on the weakness of those around him. He manipulates …show more content…
When Othello is introduced in the play, Iago informs him that Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, has found out about their marriage and is speaking ill of him. Instead of becoming angry, Othello shows his lack of concern by saying, “Let [Brabantio] do his spite” (Othello 1.2.18). By playing upon Othello and Desdemona’s differences in race and social standings, Iago makes Othello believe that his wife is sleeping with Cassio. Iago knows Desdemona has control over Othello’s heart and social standings, and an affair would cause him to lose his position and respect in society. The audience pities Othello as his mind deteriorates, but this turns to anger when he vows to kill Desdemona; hits her; and calls her a “devil” (Othello 4.1.171-232). Othello believes he is in the right to murder his wife, as this will prevent her from hurting others as she hurt him. It is when Lodovico tells Iago to “look at the tragic loading” that the audience remembers that Othello is not a villain. His tragic downfall is his own doing, but it would have never happened if Iago did not seek to ruin to his …show more content…
In the start of the play, it is revealed that Desdemona initiates their relationship after hearing Othello’s life stories. When Othello defends himself to the Duke, he states that his wife loves him “for the dangers [he] has passed” and he loves her for pitying him (Othello 1.3.169-170). It is Desdemona’s openness that allows the strength of their relationship to be developed. When they meet in Cyprus, their love is further displayed. Othello expresses his joy of seeing her by saying that there is “not another comfort like to this” (Othello 2.1.184-187). This shows their strong love for one another and the happiness they find in each other. The strength of their love enhances the tragic ending. It is incredible that a strong man like Othello is fooled by Iago’s accusations. It is easy to follow the changes in Othello’s mental state as he starts to speak in prose and uses animal metaphors, like “goats and monkeys” (Othello 4.1.257). Desdemona’s strength is exhibited as she continues to stand by her husband, though she is obviously distraught by her ill treatment. In her conversations with Emilia, as she constantly wonders what she has done wrong and how she can change her husband’s state of mind. When Emilia asks if she would cheat if it meant that she could have the whole world, Desdemona states she would remain loyal to her husband. When Othello and Desdemona die, the

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