Morality and Destiny in Othello Essay

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Morality and Destiny in Othello

They are questions as old as civilization itself. Does man have control over his own destiny? Is man ultimately held accountable for his actions by a higher power? Within the plays of William Shakespeare can be found such fundamental questions and conflicts of humanity, as well as situations, attitudes, and problems that continue to hold strong universal meaning to this day. During his lifetime, morality was at the forefront of society's concerns. Outstanding men such as Newton, Copernicus, Bacon, and Locke were leading great advances in science and reason, and these new ways of thinking, combined with the need for order and religious stability provided the perfect foundation for the
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Iago first voices his discontent for the general when Othello passes him up for promotion in favor of a more scholarly man, Cassio. His complaints do not fall on deaf ears in the character of Roderigo, for Roderigo's hatred of the general already exists. He is already insanely jealous of this Moor who has captured Desdemona's heart. Iago's destruction of Othello thus begins as an insincere bonding with Roderigo and continues to build throughout the duration of the performance.

..........Othello is not the sole recipient of Iago's subtle terror; on the contrary, everyone in the play feels the impact of his vicious nature to some degree. Iago seizes the opportunity of Roderigo's fresh rejection and uses this misfortune to begin constructing his web of revenge against Othello. Roderigo is easily persuaded to awaken and alert Desdemona's father Brabantio, and they become the first victims of the jealous ensign's plotting. Iago's scheming is also aimed at the play's most defenseless victim, his wife. He obviously has a very low opinion of women, and this is painfully evident in his mistreatment of poor Emelia. He is distrustful of her, and yet she remains humbly adapted to her subservient lifestyle. He uses her for information and abuses her trusted friendship with Desdemona.

..........Another key ingredient in the emotional conflict of Shakespeare's unfortunate characters is timing. The onset of the war in

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