Othello Tragic Hero
Table of Contents
Othello as a man easily influenced
Othello is introduced by Shakespeare as an honored Lieutenant in the army. It is expected that he should be strong in spirit and courageous. Nevertheless, through the force of words, it is revealed how a person of such a high title can be deceived through the slightest effort. Iago’s plan displayed the manipulation and control he had over Othello’s simple consciousness. Iago starts to play on Othello’s feelings, eventually encouraging him to persuade himself that the love Desdemona feels for him is not true. In Othello’s opinion, he is a leader, a Lieutenant, powerful and brave. However, rather than address the doubts he feels about his wife, he decides to immerse himself in the reasoning of another man and feels envious of something he has no evidence of. The truth that the one he referred to as a friend was playing mind games with him to obtain what he desired exposed the real aspects of Othello’s personality. With uncertainty pervading his mind, he appeared to be unable to rely on the words that were being spoken to him. He did not employ the Lieutenant’s decision-making abilities to assist him, instead he humiliated himself as a man, a man who felt cheated, and his subsequent actions were not those of a heroic man, but those of a feeble man.
Othello’s inability to think rationally
Othello’s deeds were more powerful than his words. His actions were those of a man pushed to insanity by jealousy. He could not restrain his internal feelings, and that is what brought about the death of his wife. After being pushed to the culmination, in Act 4, Scene 1 Othello directly punches his wife. Over the course of the play, we witness how his rage spreads over time, and he loses control of his mind. He becomes jealous in that he desires to grasp everything and control his wife, even though his wife was actually loyal. The person that Othello is by the end of the play is not the Othello that Desdemona married and truly adored. He claims to have confidence in her and faith in her honesty, but it is revealed that he is losing himself and his understanding of faithfulness. He is not who he claims to be, eventually, what is spoken and accomplished, Othello reaches the realization that what he has performed is false, but he cannot explain his behavior. Likewise, he is faced with a choice: experience the remaining part of his life without his wife or commit suicide. In the meaning that he decided to commit suicide, it is apparent that he is genuinely not a dominant man, he is not the Lieutenant he pretends to be, not the general he thinks he is.
The tragic mistake of Othello
How is it conceivable that a man is unable to master his feelings and actions, but can command his army? Through his deeds, we are given a glimpse into his way of thinking and discover how the thoughts and actions of others influence his mind. Othello seems unable to gain his real identity throughout the play and promptly loses sight of his ultimate goal: “that’s he that was Othello: here I am”. (Act 5 Sc 2, Line 281) Othello considers his actions incorrect, but rationalizes them by claiming that it was done out of honor: “Why, anything. An honorable murderer, if you will, for naught I did in hate, but all in honor.” (Act 5, Sc 2, Line 291). The man thought he experienced an upright life and would die an upright death, but it doesn’t look like that because he is depicted as a mighty black man as the commander of the military and the man who married the king’s daughter. He provided something so fine and pure that it made others envious. By committing suicide, he only gave proof of how weak-willed he truly was. His deeds and sayings were from his genuine essence, and these were his sincere emotions. He considered that killing himself was a matter of pride, and he felt that he had no more reason to live, because the purely real love he had murdered had been devoted to him until the end.
Othello was not the great man he pretended to be, he was not honorable towards his wife and marriage. Rather than believe his wife, he decided to trust Iago and when confronted with the reality and truth of what had taken place, he felt cheated. Othello recognized that he had committed a fatal mistake and acknowledged the falsity of his path. Othello rapidly succumbed to suggestion, not believing the actions of his wife. He portrays himself as a man who loved excessively, but was not smart about it. He clarified that he was vulnerable to jealousy, deception and manipulation. Likewise, he experiences compassion for himself because of his wife’s death and because he is dominated by emotions and in the end the only option for him is suicide.