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Macbeth vs Othello
William Shakespeare is one of the greatest writers of all time; he wrote both novels and plays. Like all Shakespearen heroes, they all possess a tragic flaw that will eventually lead to their downfall. Othello, the main character, is no exception to this and neither was Macbeth. Both plays showed how people are easily influenced by just words.
In the story of Othello, Shakespeare dicpicts a story of how one man s trust is betrayed and twisted leading towards a tragic ending. Othello is a highly respected person in Florence, Italy. Iago can not stand Othello in the opening Act of the play he is speaking about Othello. Roderigo askes Iago: Thou told st me thou didst hold him in thy hate. Iago says:
Despise me if I do not. Three great ones of the city,
In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
Off-capped to him; and, by the faith of man,
I know my price; I am worth no worse a place.
But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
Evades them with a bombast circumstance.
(I, I, 9-13)
Iago is slowly plotting against Othello to ruin his life for placing Michael Cassio ahead of him in the lieutenant ranking. So Iago plans on getting revenge by using Othello s love for his wife against him. Iago plants the idea that Desdemona Othello s wife is having an affair with Michael Cassio into Othello s head. He wants to get revenge on Michael Cassio and Othello. In a way he is playing a game with Othello because he does not have any evidence that his wife is actually cheating on him.
In Macbeth the witches plan to ruin Macbeth. Although he takes the action that leads to his downfall, he perhaps would not have done this if the witches had not told him that he would be king in Act 1 Scene 3. The witches also never had any proof that Macbeth was going to be king. They are also playing their own little game but they are punished by the gods. All the witches ever mentioned was that Macbeth would one day be king. So Macbeth thinks that he has to kill the current king who is King Duncan to become king himself. In Act 1, Scene 3, the witches tell Macbeth that he is thane of Glamis, thane of Cawdor and that he “shalt be king hereafter”. Macbeth becomes obsessed into become king ahead of time. He becomes ambitious and writes his wife to explain to her what he found out from the witches.
Both characters are effected by the influence of words and completely change. In Macbeth, Macbeth goes from a noble, brave soldier to a murderer he changes because of the prophecies of the witch and his wife Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth constantly kept throwing in the idea to kill to become king. Lady Macbeth does not mind that Macbeth kills to become king, but Macbeth on the other hand does. She even gives a speech to ask the spirits to make her evil. In Act 1, Scene 7, Macbeth is doubtful of Lady Macbeth’s plot to kill the king. Macbeth is not really convinced of killing about killing King Duncan. Macbeth does not really have confidence in Lady Macbeth that this will all work out and that everything will be ok. This shows that Macbeth is thinking about what he is going to do, and shows that he does feel guilt and is weighing up the situation, unlike Lady Macbeth who never thinks twice about killing the king. When Lady Macbeth notices that Macbeth has left the room, she goes to speak to him. Macbeth firmly tells her that they will not kill the king : “we will proceed no further in this business”. Lady Macbeth, however, tells him that his love is worth nothing if he refuses to go through with the plan, saying that his love is as accountable as his indecisiveness. Macbeth wants his wife to love him and wants her to trust him, so he agrees to go through with their plan.
Othello is tricked by Iago into committing murder. Cunningly, Iago arranges that Cassio and Desdemona are seen together to further increase Othello s jealousy. Then, after obtaining Desdemona s handkerchief from Emilia, Iago s wife, Othello s jealousy overtakes and prevails over his good sense. Believing that Cassio obtained Desdemona s handkerchief (a symbol of Othello s love for Desdemona), Othello presumes that Cassio and Desdemona were having some sort of an affair, Othello s once pure, and honest nature turns savagely wrong. His thoughts were now of a scorned, vengeful man who wanted to enact his hatred. He began by dismissing Cassio as lieutenant and reassigning Cassio s old ranking to Iago. Hearing about the stripping of Cassio s ranking of lieutenant, Desdemona urges Othello to give back Cassio his ranking back only inciting more jealousy and hatred towards Cassio.
Othello is so full of envy that he accuses Desdemona of cheating on him. Desdemona tells Othello her unconditional love for him and how she would never cheat on him, but his jealousy has blinded him so much that not even the pleas of his wife comfort him anymore. Othello plans to kill his own wife, Desdemona who would never cheat on him. Othello walks in while she is sleeping and suffocates her but shortly after finds out from Iago s wife Emelia that it was all Iago s idea.
Both Macbeth and Othello were tricked into believing something that as only partly true. Both of their tragic flaws lead to their downfall. Macbeth was too ambitious and killed King Duncan instead of waiting to become king. Macbeth knew that Duncan would never expect for him to kill him. Also, he was too gullible into believing what the witches told him. Lady Macbeth s influence led to his downfall too by her words and actions. Just like Iago s words and actions lead to Othello s downfall but it was really because of Othello s jealousy. He did not believe his own wife but believed Iago instead with out any proof of the affair. Macbeth did not know that he was really going to be king. Macbeth only presumed that because the other prophecies came true for him. So that is how Othello and Macbeth were similar.
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