However, it can be shown that Othello allows himself to be manipulated. Othello, unlike Iago, is capable of forming strong, loving relationships; his genuine friendship with Iago confirms this fact. Othello allows himself to be influenced by Iago, and allows Iago to bring out his most evil characteristics.
Few of the plays of Shakespeare have from the first excited more intense interest among both theatre-goers and readers than the sad story of Othello and his life in Venice. The nature of the Moor's difficulties and the deep pathos of his catastrophe have brought the play closer to the lives and bosoms of men than any other of the great tragedies.
The general excellence of the character of Othello, the noble Moor, and of Desdemona, the fair maid of Venice, together with the distressing nature of their marital conflict have made Othello the most heart-rending and the most moving of all the tragedies of Shakespeare.
Many persons who can observe with comparative calmness the awful conflict of aged father and ungrateful, ambitious daughters in King Lear are almost overcome by the appalling sadness of Othello's mistrust and murder of his young and beautiful wife.
The passion of Othello seems more titanic, and the conflict more vital and elemental than that of King Lear.
The ruin of filial relationships seems less a tragedy than the overthrow and failure of the marital relationship, and the fate that befalls Desdemona even less deserved than that which befalls Cordelia.
Professor Bradley has truly said, "There is no subject more exciting than sexual jealousy rising to the pitch of passion; and there can hardly be any spectacle at once so engrossing and so painful as that of a great nature suffering the torment of this passion, and driven by it to a crime which is also a hideous blunder.
Shocked as all have been by the awful catastrophe, the real nature of the conflict and of the outcome has been variously interpreted. The very intensity of the passion has doubtless confused our notions, and sympathy and horror have often taken the place of careful study and clear thinking.
Admiration for the "noble Moor," compassion for the "divine Desdemona," and scorn for the intriguing Iago, have misguided our judgments, have obscured the story of the play and the very words that should reveal the true character and actual deeds of the persons.
In some cases both artistic sensibility and moral judgment have been paralyzed, until Othello has become a perfect hero, Desdemona a spotless saint, and poor lago a fiend incarnate.
Instead of appreciating the play as it is written, and perceiving the informing thought of the dramatist, this emotional criticism has made the injurer noble, his chief victim a saint, the injured a devil, and Shakespeare foolish.
Othello has doubtless been very difficult of interpretation. More than half a century ago the Edinburgh Review expressed only the truth when it said that "all critics of name have been perplexed by the moral enigma which lies under this tragic tale.
The passing years, moreover, have forced the conviction upon many students that as the enigma of this play, and of many others, is "moral," so the true interpretation must likewise be "moral. And while it must be admitted that no expositions thus far have proven entirely satisfactory, the many earnest attempts to unravel the "moral enigma" mark the only successes up to the present time that criticism has made with this most fascinating drama.
There is no external source from which we can learn Shakespeare's dramatic purpose, and we can only infer it as we see it unfolded in his plays. Like all the dramatists up to his time he let his plays speak for themselves, and unlike many later dramatists he left no word of comment or explanation.
The dedications of Jonson, and the prefaces of Dryden and others have served to disclose their dramatic purposes and even to interpret their dramas. But Shakespeare has left us no dedications and no prefaces. If he has revealed anywhere his conception of the function of the drama it is in Hamlet's directions to the players, and these do not help us in the interpretation of any particular play.
Whether Shakespeare shared the opinion of most other English dramatists and critics of his time that the drama should not only please but profit the audience we cannot know directly.
Three centuries of study have not yet made clear his attitude toward the principle of "poetic justice," as the moral aspects of the drama came later to be called. To this day the discussion has gone on, and many students are inclined to think that in Othello and other plays he has ignored this principle altogether.
The burden of the critics from Rymer to Johnson was that Shakespeare had violated all our fundamental notions of "poetic justice," or in other words had paid no attention whatsoever to moral considerations. In his discussion of this subject Rymer chose Othello, as Professor Alden has recently said, "to show the extreme results of neglecting this principle, on the part of the more or less barbarous Elizabethans.
What unnatural crime had Desdemona committed to bring such judgment upon her? How can it work, unless to delude our senses, disorder our thought, addle our brain, pervert our affections, corrupt our appetite, and fill our head with vanity, confusion, tintamarre, and jingle-jangle?
Johnson, nearly a century later. In the preface to his edition of Shakespeare Johnson says: The history of the principle of "poetic justice" in English criticism shows that English thought has always applied itself to the more ethical phases of the drama, but we shall find that the classical and formal conceptions of the principle held in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were hopelessly inadequate for the living and romantic Elizabethan drama.
The criticism as well as the drama of that period falls far short of dealing adequately with large and living conceptions, and when they attempted to interpret Shakespeare their limitations became very apparent. The classical period was utterly unable to deal with any dramatist at once so large and so vital as Shakespeare.
In the nineteenth century there arose a generation of romantic critics who knew not the classicists of the ages of Rymer and Johnson. These equally with the earlier critics demanded that Shakespeare should square himself with our moral conceptions, but they had outlived the formalism of their predecessors and had learned to look in other places for Shakespeare's "poetic justice.
The first, of this long line of able critics was Coleridge, with whom as a recent writer has said, "Rational appreciation may be said to begin in England.Othello - The play’s protagonist and hero. A Christian Moor and general of the armies of Venice, Othello is an eloquent and physically powerful figure, respected by all those around him.
A Christian Moor and general of the armies of Venice, Othello is an eloquent and physically powerful figure, respected by all those around him.
Enter OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, CASSIO, and Attendants OTHELLO Good Michael, look you to the guard to-night: Let's teach ourselves that honourable stop, Not to outsport discretion. CASSIO Iago hath direction what to do; But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye Will I look to't.
OTHELLO Iago is most honest. Michael, good night: to-morrow with your. - Shakespeare 's dramatic yet manipulative use of language is clearly evident throughout William Shakespeare 's tragedy, Othello. Shakespeare 's character, Iago has woven a web of lies which greatly affects the personalities and emotions of certain individuals.
Shakespeare's Characters: Othello. A preliminary assumption may be that, because Othello kills his beloved wife after the devious machinations of Iago, then perhaps Othello is as much a victim of Iago's evil as Desdemona is of Othello's wrath.
From the start of Shakespeare's Othello, Iago makes it very clear that he holds no love for the title character. In his opening argument with Roderigo, Iago say What motives inspired Iago to .
Othello is a tragedy written by the big dog of English theater himself: Billy Shakespeare. The play tells the story of a powerful general of the Venetian army, Othello, whose life and marriage are ruined by a conniving, deceitful, and envious soldier, Iago.