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The Generals Downfall Essay, Research Paper
The General?s Downfall
In the drama ?Othello? by William Shakespeare Othello, the protagonist, is a Moorish general in the Venetian army. Othello marries Desdemona, the daughter of Brabrantio, without her father?s consent. Desdemona proves her love for Othello to her father and Brabantio gives his consent. Othello is sent to Cyprus to fight the Turks whose ships are destroyed on the journey to Cyprus. While in Cyprus Iago tricks Othello into believing that Cassio, Othello?s lieutenant slept with Desdemona. Iago hates Othello because Othello made Cassio his lieutenant instead of him. Iago will do whatever he can to make Othello strip Cassio of his rank so that Othello will give it to him. Othello wants Cassio and Desdemona dead. So Othello kills Desdemona and Iago is sent to kill Cassio. However, Cassio lives and when Othello finds out the truth about the situation he is so distraught he kills himself. Thus jealousy overwhelms him and forces him to believe that the only thing he can do is kill the woman that he loves. He does this because he does not want her to betray another man.
Iago deserves most of the blame for all of this tragedy. However, Othello has to take some of the blame for allowing himself to let his distrust take over his thought process. Then again Iago did cause Othello to think that Cassio and Desdemona had an affair. Iago states about Cassio, ?Lie?with her, on her, what you will?(IV I 34). This, however is a bold face lie to get Othello angry with Cassio. The reason for this is Iago believes he should be Othello?s lieutenant instead of Cassio. In the opening scene Iago proclaims, ?I follow him to serve my turn upon him? (I I 44). The only reason he is following Othello is to keep him close till he can become his Lieutenant. Iago is a deceitful, beguiling, and hateful man who only hates Othello because he made Cassio his lieutenant. Therefore, Iago has given up all of his morals and decency in exchange for jealousy and rage toward Cassio and Othello. Needless to say, Iago gets what he deserves when Othello stabs him.
On the other hand, Iago does not deserve all the blame. Othello is supposed to be the leader of the Venetian army yet he lets himself be tricked into murdering his wife and his lieutenant. He was so engulfed in jealousy, anger, and rage that he threw away his honor and dignity. Othello has a responsibility to stay focused no matter what the circumstances. For example in battle he can not let his emotions take over and corrupt his judgement. Likewise, when dealing with the patters of everyday life he must also keep his emotions from ruling his judgement. When Iago tells Othello that Cassio has been with Desdemona, Othello replies, ?To confess and be hung for his labor-first to be hanged and then to confess? (IV I 37). This proves that Othello allows his emotions to cloud his judgement to the point where he will not even give Cassio a fair trial or a chance to tell his side of the story. Thus, Othello?s thinking is so jumbled that he does not even realize what he is doing until it is too late.
Othello only listens to Iago, and nobody else can make a difference in what he thinks. For instance, Emilia explains to Othello that all the times she sees Desdemona and Cassio together she never sees them do anything wrong. Yet to this Othello answers, ?She says enough, she?s a simple bawd that cannot say as much. This (Desdemona) is a subtle whore, a closet lock and key of villainous secrets? (IV II 21). Therefore, Othello will not even listen to the words of Desdeomna?s mistress who is always with her. Emilia knows everything that Desdemona does, and is faithful to her lord Othello. Yet he still thinks Emilia lies for Desdemona. Thus, Othello is wrong for not listening to anyone but Iago. He should at least consider what the other people are telling him, instead of just believing Iago. Othello is way too closed-minded about the whole matter.
In conclusion, Othello?s downfall is caused by many different factors. Iago is one of the main causes of Othello?s downfall. He is the one that got everybody mixed up in the whole situation. Iago could have tricked Othello into removing Cassio?s rank in many different ways. However, Iago chose to use Desdemona, Cassio, and his wife Emilia as a means of getting what he wants. Othello?s emotions are another factor. He allows them to take over and cloud his judgement so much that he kills the women he loves. The age difference between Othello and Desdemona also is a factor. Desdemona is so young and beautiful that helps add to Othello?s distrust in her. Therefore, no one person is to blame for the downfall of Othello. Instead, many people and many things contribute to his demise.
Shakespeare, William. ?The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice?. ED. David Bevington. 1604.
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