Othello Essay

It is the belief of many critics, it is the malignance and sadism of Iago that leads to Othello’s downfall; that is his change from the ‘noble Moor’ to the ‘devil’ and ‘murderous coxcomb’ who strikes and kills Desdemona and then himself in the final act of the play. However, through my critical study I have found that it is the flaws in Othello’s character that make him susceptible to Iago, an intelligent man with a talent for manipulation and a phenomenal understanding the human psyche.
  1. It is Othello’s insecurities as an outsider, which enables Iago to gain his trust, and plant the initial seeds of doubt in his mind.
  2. It is Othello’s fear of uncertainty that enables Iago to nurture this doubt into suspicion, and then amplify this suspicion into torturing images of depravity.
  3. And finally, it is Othello’s egotism that enables Iago to guide the jealous fury he has provokes into violent action.
And thus, the tragedy of Othello is the overpowering flaws in human nature.  

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It is initially Othello’s vulnerability as an outsider that enables Iago to gain the trust of Othello. Othello is a ‘black moor’ in a predominantly white Christian society, and as an outsider craves friendship and support. Therefore when Iago presents himself to Othello as his loyal and trusting ancient, Othello is quick to believe the façade. Repeatedly, Iago pretends to be unwilling to give information that is unfavorable to others, “I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth then it should do offence to Michael Cassio.” Othello interprets this controlled and clever use of language as a sign that he is telling the truth and so believes he is forcing the truth out of Othello. Othello’s trust in Iago is underlined by use of dramatic irony. Throughout his soliloquys, Iago admits his false intentions and plans, ‘I am not what I am’. The audience is therefore aware that because of his vulnerability as an outsider, Othello is succumbing to the...