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Othello Play Essay, Research Paper

The four main characters in the play Othello represent four different character

traits of manhood: Roderigo, the failure; Othello, the hero, yet the insane

lover; Cassio, the noblemen; and Iago, the villain, yet the strongest character

of the play. Of these four characters Roderigo reveals the weakest character

traits. Iago effortlessly profits from Roderigo?s deficiency in a

intelligence, in fact Iago himself said he would not waste time and effort on

?such a snipe?(I iii 387) except for ?sport and profit.? Towards the end

of the play Roderigo reveals some traits that might classify him as a man with a

spine. He finally stands up to Iago and threatens to expose the conspiracy

against Othello and Cassio, but ultimately his flaws overpower his virtuous

traits and he is persuaded by Iago to kill Cassio instead. Likewise, Othello is

the tragic hero of the play but his character is also weak. Jealousy is

Othello?s major downfall. He reveals his insecurities in the scene where he

strikes Desdemona and calls her a ?devil?. Similarly, in the brothel scene,

Othello?s insecurities arise when he cruelly questions Desdemona. He condemns

her as a ?simple bawd? and a ?whore?, which he has no real proof of.

Iago also easily manipulates Othello, like Roderigo, throughout the play.

Othello is naive. He demonstrates that a few well-placed suggestions can alter

his train of thought, such as when Iago was talking to Cassio and made Othello

believe that the lieutenant was speaking of Desdemona instead of Bianca. On the

whole, Othello was a weak character and a naive man. In contrast, Cassio?s

character is strong. He spoke about Othello with dignity and grace, which no

other character in the play does. Also, Cassio showed extreme loyalty to the

Moor. Cassio?s only flaw is that he temporarily lost his power of reasoning

when he was drunk and let himself be manipulated by Iago. All in all, Cassio is

a good example of how a man should act; with dignity and honor. Likewise,

Iago?s character is also strong. He is an intelligent man as can seen in the

soliloquy where he is hatching a plan to frame Cassio ?to get his place ?(I

iii). In the soliloquy Iago?s intelligence is revealed in the statement

?How, How? – To abuse Othello?s ear / That [Cassio] is too familiar with his

wife.?(I iii 396-39). Iago used his intelligence to think of a plan to frame

Cassio and bring down Othello at the same time. Iago is also a confident man.

Throughout the soliloquy Iago is confident ?That the moor ?Will be tenderly

led by the nose./ As asses are ? (I iii 401- 404) and will be easily

manipulated. However, if Iago had used his good character traits for good he

would have been the hero of the play instead of Othello. On the whole,

Shakespeare did an excellent job on setting the character traits for the male

characters in the play: Roderigo was the ?snipe?; Cassio, the noble

gentleman; Othello, the fallen ?noble Moor?; and Iago, the intelligent,

confident and arrogant self-made villain. All the Characters in the play had

some good traits but each of them had an appalling attribute that led to their

downfall.


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