Othello - Character Analysis
In the play Othello, the character of Othello has certain traits which make him seem naive and unsophisticated compared to many other people. This is why Iago, to get his just rewards uses him as a scapegoat. Iago told Roderigo, " O,sir, content you. I follow him [Othello] to serve my turn upon him "(I, i lines 38-9). Iago is saying, he only follows Othello to a point, and upon reaching it he will not follow him any longer. Iago has opened my eyes to see the real meaning of deceit. No matter what, Iago will try to take advantage of Othello any time and he will be easily lead to believe the lies of Iago. The Moor, as many Venetians call him, is of strong character. He is very proud and in control of every move throughout the play. The control is not only of power but of the sense of his being who he is, a great warrior. In Act I, Othello has a scuffle with Brabantio, who has come to kill him, but before anything could happen Othello said, "Hold your hands, both of you of my inclining and the rest. Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it without a prompter" (I, ii, lines 80-3). The power shown here is quite astounding. The nature of Othello's character is of a dark man. A dark man, not only because he is black, but also because his whole person is very mysterious. He is mysterious in that he believes there is magic brewing everywhere. With this dark side he is also very outgoing, and not very bright. He isn't observant and the schemes of Iago work well on him. Though he doesn't reflect too much on his past, except occasional ventures of wars fought, he does let his emotions run his life. For all the dangers and encounters he has been involved in, this man is still naive of the corruptness of other individuals. Othello has a trusting nature in which he gives it all. He put all his trust in Iago during times of war and during Othello's marriage to Desdemona. This wasn't very bright of Othello, even if he wasn't trusting or more corrupt he still wouldn't realize Iago was lying. Everyone considered Iago as honest, and would be out of character for Othello to believe any different. For example, Othello had told the Duke, "So please your grace, my ancient; A man he is of honesty and trust. To his conveyance I assign my wife, With what else needful your good grace shall think, To be sent after me" (I, iii, lines 284-8). The control over any situation is one Othello's strong characteristics. Through the whole first act you can picture a man so much power and natural leadership and when he changes you cannot believe it. For example, when Lodovico had witnessed Othello hit Desdemona, he said: "Is this the noble Moor whom our full Senate Call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature Whom passion could not shake? whose solid virtue The shot of accident nor dart of chance could neither graze nor pierce" (IV, i, lines 264-8)? While Iago, being the honest man he is, answers: "He's that he is, I may not breathe my censure. What he might be (if, what he might, he is not) I would to heaven he were" (IV, i, lines 270-2). Another place where Shakespeare shows Othello taking control over a situation is when Cassio and Montano are fighting after Roderigo antagonized him. These words Othello said are important now, but they will be more important later when he is alone with Desdemona in their bedroom. He will say: "Now, by heaven, My blood begins my safer guides to rule, And passion, having my best judgement collied, Assays to lead the way. If I once stir Or do but lift this arm, the best of you Shall sink in my rebuke" (II, iii, lines 203-8). You must feel sorrow for Othello because with all the power he has and the endless trust he gives, you try to reach out and show him the truth. By having his ancient or friend, Honest Iago bring him the news of his wife's bad habits. Othello had no alternative but to believe him. If any man was brought news of this type they would surely go off the deep end. Iago not only told him but he told him in a way that it was hard not to believe. He didn't tell a couple who have been married for years, and who would know the likes and dislikes of one another, but he told a newly wed couple. Othello didn't really know Desdemona before they were married. Othello said, "She loved me for the dangers I had passed, and I loved her that she did pity them"(I,iii, lines 166-7). This man had really fallen in love with someone whose life was boring and needed adventure. Othello's origin also inhibited him from understanding European women. He did see for himself the deception of Desdemona toward her father and remembered the words he had said to him: "Look to her, Moor, if thou has eyes to see: She has deceived her father, and may thee" (I, iii, lines 286-7). When Othello has been given information from Iago in Act III scene iii, he cannot take any more so he asks Iago to leave in which he does. Upon returning, Iago continues to enforce his previous statements and Othello seems not bothered for he replies, "Fear not my government" (III, iii, 256). With all this there is no man who can withstand such news like the news that Iago has given to Othello. Most of the men who are would do much worse than in the case of Othello. This doesn't show jealousy, but when he is alone and has time to contemplate the situation and has seen the handkerchief in the hands of Cassio, now is when his blood begins his safer guides to rule. After realizing Othello had been tricked into believing the lies of Iago. He couldn't handle the anguish of knowing he had murder in jealousy rather for justice. This devastation in Othello's character brought the strong warrior back into the scene. Where he transformed into his own judge, jury, and sentenced himself. He told the people around him in their letters to write of him not in malice, then he said: "Then you must speak of one that loved not wisely but too well" (V, ii, line 344). After the speech was done he carried out his sentence, took a knife and stabbed himself. He then said: "I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss" (V, ii, line 359-60). He then laid down on the bed and died with dignity ( Stauffer 173). Othello was jealous. He was told his wife was cheating on him and he thought he was killing for justice. He even said he loved not wisely but too well. When he did kill it was not very smart of him to believe another man about something he should know more about. This play introduced changes in Othello's character when these changes evolved there was Iago lurking and waiting for the chance to jump in and take advantage of Othello. This why my belief of Othello is one of a man whose character is brought to light of a horrible situation by a deceitful devil named Iago.