Many of the characters in Othello appear to find it unbearable to reject their inner-most desires and fears, which motivates their betrayal
Many of the characters in Othello appear to find it unbearable to reject their inner-most desires and fears, which motivates their betrayal - Many of the characters in Othello appear to find it unbearable to reject their inner-most desires and fears, which motivates their betrayal introduction. Desdemona who had once been referred to as “A maiden never bold,” defied her father’s misinterpretation as she betrays her father’s wishes and resists conformity : “You are lord of all my duty,/ I am hitherto your daughter. But here’s my husband;… ” Desdemona surprises the audience as she breaks the weak and submissive stereotype associated with women at the time, she addresses the court with authority:
“Most gracious Duke” and in her speech speaks with conviction: My heart’s subdued/Even to the very quality of my Lord. ” Brabantio calls Othello a “thief! ” and further on in the play Iago metaphorically refers to Desdemona as a “land carrack,” emphasising that women were merely possessions. Desdemona shunned the “curled darlings” that her father had attempted to suit her with. Marrying Othello, requesting that she accompany him to war in Cyprus was a risk she was prepared to take because of her profound love. Although this is one form of betrayal, her motive was driven by love not because of depraved jealousy or malice.
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Emilia yearns for a slice of the overwhelming love that showers over Othello and Desdemona’s relationship, she craves for the same respect as Iago’s wife. Iago’s disregard and insulting manner towards Emilia is persistent throughout and even when she steals the napkin for him, he refers to her as nothing more than a “good wench! ” While Emilia contributes to Iago’s plot it is entirely plausible that she is not truly aware of the extent of her husband’s poisonous mind and what evil he is conspiring: “What he will do with it,heaven knows, not I:
I nothing, but to please his fantasy. ” Emilia’s naivety to think that the dishonest act of stealing her friend’s irreplaceable possession, would kindle a loving relationship between her and Iago is both rash and foolish. Envy of Desdemona and Othello’s relationship could be determined as her motivation to betray. However her urge to satisfy and in return receive praise from her husband is more convincing, when listening to the speech she makes to the audience before she reveals to Iago that she has the napkin.
Betrayal is prevalent throughout Othello but is a reaction that is fuelled by the characters weaknesses, and one characters ability to utilise them for his own benefit as Iago states in his soliloquy: ” The Moor is of free and open nature,? That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,/ And will tenderly be led by the nose/ As assess are. ” Iago is incredibly receptive of other people’s weaknesses and is able to cunningly manipulate them until he is satisfied with the outcome. Prior to this he had referred to Othello as a “black ram” and a “Barbary horse”.
Animal imagery implies that because Othello is culturally isolated he will be easily fooled like a donkey as he is not acquainted with Venetian customs. Iago explains that there are differences in social attitudes. “In venice they do not let God see the pranks they have shown their husbands. ” Othello is unable to query this as he is from a different background and already feels compromised. In Venice Othello appears to be a strong-minded character, this radically diminishes as Iago prey’s on his racial insecurities as an outsider. Othello’s passion and love for Desdemona is barefaced and unashamed: “My life upon her faith”.
Othello’s responses regarding his beloved Desdemona are sometimes as much prophetic as they are romantically poetic. Iago is well aware that the loss of Desdemona’s love would destroy Othello and is entirely capable of creating complete chaos. Othello has pride and the reputation of a great warrior to consider, for Othello to discover that his wife has been unfaithful, especially when he has declared his love and absolute faith in her publicly would certainly eat away at his mind. Through Iago’s soliloquy the audience observes that he is an opportunist and amoral:
“The Moor already changes with my poison… Iago is glutted with conceit, from the very beginning of the play Iago’s fury is highlighted as he ridicules Cassio: ” What does this man who has never set a squadron in the field, Nor the division of a battle knows have that Iago does not? Iago continues to refer to Cassio as a man who knows little “More than a spinster;” and who is “mere prattle, without practice,” Jealousy is at the core of Iago’s scheming plots, he convinces himself that Othello has slept with his wife Emilia even though there is no substantial evidence: “it is thought abroad that twixt my sheets/ He’s done my office.
Jealousy is by far the most destructive power in Othello it has a parasitic resonance to it, the more a person tries to conquer their jealousy the more it takes route which is why Othello fails to believe in Desdemona. Iago’s evil mechanics such as planting seeds of doubt into peoples minds, and taking advantage of their character traits enables him to spin a web of turmoil, resulting in a multitude of betrayals that stem from desperation and loss of control.
The dramatic irony Shakespeare exploits in Iago, appearing to each character as “an honest fellow” on numerous occasions highlights the gullibility of each character in Othello, they all are guilty of trusting without knowledge. Iago manages to successfully ambush Othello into a position where he is able to believe something as flimsy as a dream with regards to his wife’s infidelity, whom he supposedly trusts with his life: “But this denoted… though it be but a dream” after he expressed to Iago that he wanted “ocular proof”.
Ultimately this reveals that Othello has more trust in Iago, a man who had once not matched Cassio’s stature. Thus putting his trust in Iago when he should listen to his wife is a fundamental weakness that overshadows many of the characters in Othello. The characters act out of love, passion, despair and jealousy which are themes that dominate Othello it is through exploration of these elements that breeds betrayal. Therfore it is unjust to say that “Othello is simply about betrayal” as it involves too many other components. colourful