Title Cassio's Tragedy And Shakespeare's Use Of Minor Characters Assignment Analyze A Play (Othello) In Terms Of A Minor Character's Relation To The Plot

964 words - 4 pages

Shakespearean tragedies rarely contain blameless characters. The characters whose lives get turned upside down usually either deserve it, or they directly contributed to their downfall by holding onto some flaw or vice. This is always true for his tragic heroes, but what about his minor characters? They usually suffer just as much as the main characters. They usually exhibit character flaws. The difference is that they are rarely responsible for their own downfall; their circumstances come about from things outside of their control. Othello's Michael Cassio is an example of such a character. He is shown as a good man with minor flaws whose suffering is orchestrated by people and events that ...view middle of the document...

He knows his limits and usually stays well within his boundaries. None of these aspects of his personality are grievous enough to be considered true tragic flaws, and it isn't because of these weaknesses that his tragedy occurs. It occurs simply because Iago has decided to make him the instrument with which to bring down Othello that he ends up suffering.Cassio is not an active participant in the plot, but rather an innocent bystander. Iago uses Cassio to drive Othello into madness and Cassio never knows what is going on. Had Iago not caused a rift to arise between Cassio and Othello, Iago's plan may never have worked. Not only because Cassio would not have to meet with Desdemona in an effort to win back his place with Othello, but also because if Cassio were still Othello's friend and confidante, than Othello would have had his good advice and honesty there to guide him. By separating the two friend's Iago put himself in a position to be the only voice Othello could hear. Cassio's removal was of great importance to Iago.However, this importance was not because of who Cassio was, but rather, because of where he was: at Othello's right hand. This is a vital difference between Shakespeare's minor characters and major characters. Othello's demise comes about because of who he is; because of something deep within his self. Cassio's fall comes about simply because of what he is; Othello's friend. He isn't brought low because of a flaw or mistake, although he does make mistakes that help the process along...

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