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A Clear Warning in Othello Essay


Clear Warning

Othello, the moor of Venice, the tragic story of an incredible black man making his way in a white dominant world the best he can. Othellos life peaks out quite high and his prosperity is far from the grasp of most in his time. But some things are just not meant to last long, as Othellos flaws allow others to run his life straight into the ground. Directly from Shakespeares genius comes a play modeling the faults humans tend to cling to, and shows us the worst outcomes our faults can bring. From the rewards of strength and heroism, to the costs of misplaced trust and jealousy, the tale of Othello exploits them all. Through the frameworks of Aristotle, Othello takes shape as one of the most tragic stories that can ever be written, no miniscule detail allowed array. The coincidence and perfection of the tragedy is meant to rattle the conscience of the reader and leave an impact not easily forgotten. One must remember the character of Othello is meant to be envied, as well as despised. His impressive ambition and work ethic should be embraced by all, but the results of his jealousy and easily manipulated nature must be avoided at all costs.

Othello is a self made man. He has received no handouts, no connections rank him as high as he ranks. He is a black man but he works and trades with upper class white Frenchmen. His humble past and race make his heroic rise as a soldier all the more fantastic. In a time when Africans were slaves and trash, Othello made his mark on the streets of powerful men. From the strength of his back and the sweat of his brow he carves his niche in a tree not sown for him. Yet his pride does not seem to inflate with his success. He humbly addresses his prosecutors when he is charged for enchanting Dezdemona with his voodoo. He seems to talk down to no one. Othellos hamartia is a great one much like Oedipus. Any man would be well to set aim at Othellos position, through hardwork and dedication, fearlessness in battle. Othello holds values that few men hold strong too and for this he is a great man.

However, through his success, Othello lets his guard down. With his beautiful bride and his jurisdiction over this beautiful island he is on, he loses his edge. His lack of attention allows the demon Iago to manipulate him however Iago is pleased. He releases his most trusted and honored companion Cassio, without prying properly into the circumstances. He too soon allows Iago the position he carefully chose Cassio to hold. Othello has begun to place too much trust into ALL around him, believing them to love him and hold the same ethics and values he has made his life on in a high place. Othello is blind to the treachery all taking place right before his eyes. One should suspect Iagos perfection immediately false and take an interest in the dealings of such a fiend. Is it bad that Othello trusts those around him? No the fatal flaw in Othellos trust is his distribution of it. The fact that he trusts his bride, Desdemona, less then he trusts this man Iago is what leads to Othellos tragic destruction.

One theme carries out this tragedy more heavily than any other. Jealousy. Early in the play the conflict begins with Rodrigos rage when he discovers the secret marriage between his precious Desdemona and the Old Black Ram Othello. It is this horrible error of conscience that first stirs up Iagos fire and sets it into a blaze of hate and evil. Iagos jealousy of Cassio, when first hearing he is not Othellos choice sets the entire tragedy into motion. But the villains are not the most noteworthy jealous characters in this tale. Othellos jealousy is so easily sparked through Iagos words one must ponder his true character. His insecurities and jealousy of all white born men around him spur him into a fit of accusation, a wrong one. He so quickly suspects himself less desirable than the white men around him that he immediately accepts questionable proof as rock solid evidence and deems his beloved, most trustworthy wife, unfaithful and a strumpet to the last! Jealousy is a horrid green serpent that will bind ones heart as quickly as ones insecurities will allow. This is most definitely the fatal flaw residing in the heroic Othello. In the end, after all of his hard work and triumphs over adversity, Othello still thinks himself lesser because of his African heritage, his Moorish countenance. This is the real tragedy behind Othello the Moor.

Othello is one of the most gifted heroes I have perhaps ever read about. But he is also the most flawed. His incredible bravery and strength as a soldier and general bring about a most fantastic position for any man to live in. But his Hamartia is so strong it tears it down within a few weeks. His jealousy and insecurity allow himself to be easily tricked into his own demise, the brutal death of his wife at his own hands. His anagnorsis comes about so late, it is a wonder a man that slow could ever attain such an esteemed position. But perhaps just in time to cause the perfect peripetia and catharsis came his realizations. It is sad, that after all of the trials and strength gained by Othello, such a man could be picked apart and destroyed by his insecurities as a black man.

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