Othello: Essay On The Themes, Description Of The Shakespeare's Text English Essay

775 words - 4 pages

Shakespeare’s play ‘Othello’ introduces audiences to a world of contrasting human behaviours through his various characterisations in order to explore the complexity of the human mind. Shakespeare juxtaposes characters as the plot unfolds in order to communicate the dualities of the human condition, in turn Iago becomes the embodiment of Machiavellian evil and Othello, whilst brave and confident is ultimately compromised as a result of his hamartia of insecurity. Shakespeare introduces contrasting human behaviours by establishing strong characterisations, Othello is othered by society through his epithet, “The Moor” which manifests as a rejection from the community and ultimately the birth of his fatal flaw. Iago exists as Othello’s opposite and continues to exacerbate Othello’s weakness evident in the animal imagery “an old black ram is tupping your white ewe” as he dehumanises Othello robbing him of dignity and power. Essentially, Shakespeare uses racial prejudice to juxtapose his leading characters, whereby the binaries of black and white and the relegation of the African race “what full-fortune does the thick lips owe” establishes a dramatically hostile environment for Othello and allows Iago to indulge in his own Machiavellian desire for power and control. In Act 1, Iago is seen as a dominant male character, a man with a plan to draw information from Othello in order to destroy his reputation evident in the inquisitive tone, “But I pray, sir, are you fast married?” whereby his deceptive behaviour will allow him to successfully conduct his mousetrap plan. Additionally, Shakespeare uses the opening Act of ‘Othello’ to distinguish his characters and their behaviours, in order to expose the dark frailties of humanity.
Shakespeare uses strong characterizations and universally timeless themes of jealousy, love, manipulation and revenge to demonstrate humanity’s existence on the brink of monstrosity. Shakespeare believed mankind’s obsession with reputation clouded their judgement and made it easier to manipulate them according to the desire for power or greed. This is evident in Cassio’s crisis following the destruction of his reputation “Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial” whereby the repetition reinforces the superficial individual need to maintain an honourable reputation. In order to give depth and authenticity to Iago’s Machiavellian character traits, Shakespeare’s characterisation of Desdemona becomes the ultim...

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