Psychological Criticism of Characters in Othello Essay

1979 Words 8 Pages
In William Shakespeare’s play Othello, Iago, the villain, deceives the main character, Othello into thinking his wife is unfaithful. Although Iago’s claims are not true, Othello believes him, and by the end of the play, jealousy overtakes Othello. Othello’s jealousy is so intense that he kills his beautiful, faithful wife Desdemona due to his unfortunate trust in Iago. Because jealousy is not common to Othello’s nature, it seems odd that his jealousy drives him to murder. Also questionable, are Iago’s reasons for wanting to destroy Othello. Analysis will discover the characters unique motivations for their actions.
Othello is the tragic hero of the play, whose tragic flaw is jealousy. In the beginning, Othello seems to display only
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When Othello calls Desdemona an “excellent wretch,” he realizes for the first time that nothing is as important to him as Desdemona and this confuses him. For the first time in his life, love is the strongest emotion. Honesty is another of Othello’s qualities. For example, when telling about how he won Desdemona’s love, Othello tells it exactly how it happened. Othello has total confidence in himself and others. He has his priorities straight and does not let anything upset him. Although Othello’s character seems to be indestructible, he experiences a major downfall. Throughout the play, Othello’s actions cause him to fall and his reputation to turn to filth. The biggest mistake Othello makes is being too trusting of the wrong person. Othello thinks that Iago is honest; ironically, he is the most dishonest of all the characters. When Iago tells Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful, Othello believes Iago without any physical proof. The reason as to why Othello believes Iago is questionable, but literary critic Marcia Macaulay suggests that, “Othello falls prey to Iago’s story telling because he himself is a story teller, a man whose tale seduces Desdemona and has the power, according to the Duke, to win all the daughters of Venice” (260). Because of Othello’s great ability to tell stories, he falls for a good story more easily. Once Iago generates suspicion in Othello, he reads Desdemona’s words too deeply and finds

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