Exploring The Causes Of The Tragedy Of Othello

1206 words - 5 pages

What is a tragedy? A tragedy is a drama in which the protagonist is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances. In the play Othello, William Shakespeare uses the literary device characterization in sequence to convey that Othello’s tragic flaw is the main reason that brings Othello to his downfall --- death. The causes of the tragedy of Othello are Othello’s gullibility to Iago, jealousy of Desdemona’s affair, and male pride.
To begin, one factor that causes Othello’s downfall is that he is characterized by gullibility. Firstly, Othello is tricked by Iago, who leads him to believe that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio. After Iago tells Othello about Cassio’s dream, Othello says, “Oh, monstrous! Monstrous!" (Shakespeare. 3. 3. 427). Othello trusts and relies on Iago too much; he believes Desdemona is truly having an affair with Cassio. His gullibility makes him become very vulnerable in Iago’s revenge scheme and gradually becomes increasingly jealous. When jealousy takes over Othello, his mind and judgment are disturbed. Furthermore, when Emilia tells Othello about the death of Desdemona, Othello admits to murdering his honest wife Desdemona but says that he killed her because she is untrue to him. After Emilia tells Othello that his thought is untrue, Othello replies: “Ay, ’twas he that told me first./ An honest man he is, and hates the slime/ That sticks on filthy deeds” (5, 2, 149-151). Othello’s gullibility was fully observed from this quotation. Othello believes Iago’s lies and accept it as the truth without actual proof, because he thinks Iago is an honest man who detests evil actions, but in reality, Iago is a selfish villain filled with hate and jealousy, and will accomplish his purpose at all costs. Lastly, when Othello tells the officials from Cyprus his reasons for committing murder and that it is Iago who tells him of Desdemona’s affair. In front of the officials, Iago responds, "Demand me nothing. What you know, you know./ From this time forth I never will speak a word”(5. 2. 303-304). In the play, Iago never speaks of an affair; he is only making insinuations and suggestions about one. Othello’s gullibility leads him to be overtaken with appearances. The trust Othello has for Iago makes him believe Iago’s words and not make any real attempt to find out the truth. Therefore, Othello’s gullibility creates a disturbance on his emotions, acts, and judgment
The second factor that causes Othello’s downfall is that he is characterized by jealousy. To lead, when Iago warns Othello about being aware of “the green-eyed monster” and tells him a story about a wife cheating on her husband, but the husband still loves her. After listen to Iago’s opinion, Othello states, “Why, why is this?/ Think’st thou I’ld make a life of jealousy,/… 'Tis not to make me jealous/…For she had eyes, and chose me. No, Iago;/ I’ll see...

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