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The Tragedy of Othello; the Moor of Venice

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“The Tragedy of Othello; The Moor of Venice was written in 1603, by William Shakespeare and takes place in Venice and Cyprus during the 16th century. The play is about the main protagonist Othello, a valued military soldier of the Venetian army, who was betrayed by Iago. Iago is the play's main antagonist and is husband to Emilia, who is the attendant and close friend of Othello's wife, Desdemona. Iago is the villain in the play who was plotting revenge upon Othello because of his choice to make Michael Cassio his honorable lieutenant when he believes he is far more capable. Othello still selects to give the position to Cassio, whom has no experience as a lieutenant. As this infuriates Iago, he states, “Whip me such honest knaves! Others there are/ Who, trimmed in forms and visages of duty" (I, i, 50-52). This quote demonstrates that Iago waits for a chance to seek revenge as he pretends to assist Othello. Iago ruins Cassio's name for his part in being chosen by Othello by creating rumors that Desdemona is having an affair with him. As Iago shouts, “My med’cine, work! Thus credulous fools are caught,/ And many worthy chaste dames even thus,/ All guiltless, meet reproach" (V, i, 44-46).  Iago betrays Othello with false accusations. The play illustrates how Othello was polluted in such little time by being dragged down by the false accusations told by Iago; with the ‘facts’ based upon suspicions and assumptions from a source that was determined to betray him.

Although Othello must know in his heart that Desdemona would never betray him, he is so affected and blinded by Iago's accusations and his ability to manipulate him. All rational thought abandons Othello as he is afraid to ask Desdemona about the truth because he is afraid to know. The downfall of Othello has no one to blame but Othello himself, as he is an easily mislead man, who is easily influenced. As the play emerges, not only did Iago directly say Desdemona was having an affair, he neither provided proof to confirm the rumors. By Othello believing the false accusations, they surfaced his incapacity to trust and have faith in his own wife. Iago poses as an honest friend to Othello, only to lead to him to his downfall by putting images in his head. Othello takes Iago more seriously than his own wife. Desdemona questions his reasons of being cruel to her but he still chooses not to ask her about her supposed unfaithfulness that Iago forces upon Desdemona. “So will I turn her virtue into pitch/ and out of her own goodness make the net/ that shall enmesh them all" (II, iii, 317-319). Iago speaks to himself as he is planning to make Desdemona seem as a dishonest person and deceive all who betrayed him.

Since Othello is to blame for his downfall, he could have prevented the deaths of Desdemona, Emilia, and himself including from happening. Othello could have evaded the deaths caused by the rumors and assumptions, by not letting them get the best of him and having faith in his wife. “My life upon her faith! – Honest Iago,” (I, iii, 293) Othello declares this to Iago about Desdemona. He is essentially saying that he would stake his life on her loyalty, which converts into an ironic scene when Othello believes that Desdemona cuckolded with Cassio. This fundamentally shows how fast Iago polluted Othello with the assumptions of Desdemona being unfaithful. (If Othello had bothered to inquire Desdemona if any of what Iago said was factual, he could have seen what an unpleasant man Iago really was.) REPHRASE A BIT CONFUSING . Othello would not have been fooled and driven to insanity and Desdemona could have at least justified herself appropriately. Othello must have had the same suspicions in his head from the beginning of the marriage, as he immediately believed the dishonesties told by Iago. If he had not, he would have questioned his ethics more than once. It may be because Desdemona was disloyal to her father by marrying a Moor without his consent.



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