The Contradictions of Main Characters in Othello

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Have you ever allowed jealousy to cloud your judgment? Or on the other hand, have you at any point given jealousy a chance to change who you are as a person and destroy your life? Superior to most things, envy highlights upon your trigger points, your vulnerabilities, your fears, and your muddled beliefs. Jealousy drives out many outcomes, one being the overall change of an individual. Throughout the tragic play, Othello undergoes extreme character change. He transforms from being the great, strong, nobleman to an irrational and murderous man. Over the duration of ‘Othello’ by William Shakespeare, it is evident that his character allows jealousy to take control, leading to the change of his character from the beginning of the play to the end of the play.

Othello begins the play as a solid and confident heroic character, however, he becomes someone full of envy and rage, deteriorating his noble and honorable character. First and for most, change in Othello is mainly centered and seen through his wife Desdemona. He begins the play treating Desdemona affectionately and benevolently to calling her a whore and killing her in unjust desirous fury. Othello has certainty and trust in those around him, especially his wife Desdemona. Othello strongly believes in the love and loyalty Desdemona and himself have developed between themselves. In Act 1, Othello constantly refers to Desdemona as his love during the beginning of the play showing his affection through speech. Othello and Iago engage in a conversation about Desdemona’s father Barabntio not approving of his daughter’s marriage to a moor. ‘But that I love the gentle, Desdemona’ (Shakespeare, I.ii.28). Iago begins to enlighten Othello about Barbantio’s urge to have Desdemona and Othello separated or restrain him to whatever punishment he has the power to inflict. In this quotation, Othello explains his love for Desdemona. He tells Iago that Barbantio can bring his worst because he is of one with great deeds and faithfulness. He says he is deserving of Desdemona’s love and her family due to his nobleness and royal status. As the loving Othello in Act 1-2, he manifests the love he has for her revealing to Iago that if he didn’t love Desdemona he wouldn’t have surrendered all his freedom for the conditions of marriage. Contrastally, as the play progresses in Act 3-5, Othello deviates from this adoring and caring man to be of someone filled with hate and jealousy. His personality and speech undergo extreme changes as he succumbs to Iago’s falsehoods, resulting in him becoming rude and hasty.

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Othello refers to Desdemona as not his love anymore but as a whore. Once again Iago and Othello consult each other in a conversation concerning Desdemona. Yet, this time their conversation revolves around Iago accusing Desdemona of cheating on Othello with Cassio. Iago tells Othello about laying in bed with Cassio one night. He says that Cassio calls for Desdemona in his sleep, wraps his legs around him believing its Desdemona, and he kisses Iago. Othello replies saying ‘I’ll tear her to pieces!’ (Shakespeare, III. iii. 442). In this quotation, Othello’s impulsiveness takes over his character. He explains the hate and rage he has towards Desdemona. As gullible as he is, Othello is ready to kill his wife Desdemona, the one who he had loved blindly. Throughout Act 3-5, Othello allows his jealousy to take over. He quickly makes a decision to murder his wife without understanding the entire situation or at least thinking it through. He becomes a man of resentment. Both quotations distinctly show Othello’s change from a loving and faithful man in Act 1-2, to a vengeful and murderous man.

Despite Othello’s unexpected evolvement, he had some aspects of himself which stayed the same throughout the play. In Acr 1 Othello confesses his love for Desdemona to her father who disapproved of their marriage. Barbantio accuses Othello of abducting his daughter, but Othello shows him otherwise. ‘Not I, I must be found. My parts, my title, and my perfect soul. Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?’ (Shakespeare, I. ii. 35). In this quotation, Othello clarifies how he charmed Desdemona involuntarily when he describes his previous presence as a visitor at Brabantio’s. Othello continuously speaks on the love he has for Desdemona, proving his loyal aspects towards his wife.

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