Betrayal Theme Within Othello

Betrayal, an everlasting contemporary theme within Othello, establishes itself as the failure and exploitation of trust, the effects of which are tragic as those culpable are frequently, family, friends, and lovers. Beyond this, the theme of betrayal's palpability within society is exaggerated as it is formed around the story of an older black soldier to who is forced to learn how societal barriers will inevitably betray him and contribute to his inevitable demise as a tragic hero.

Interestingly, although Shakespeare ‘locates’ a ‘moor’ as the central personality within the play, the anxieties to which arise from racism are, ironically not explored. Othello’s race acts to operate more as a conflicting factor to which is juxtaposed with Desdemona. ‘‘the black ram’’, an abusive yet proud individual finally embodying a murderer is forced to come in clash with fair and ‘sweet Desdemona’, a symbol of innocence and purity. Othello continuously verbally, physically, and emotionally abuses Desdemona especially across most of the second half of the play, failing to attend to her or her voice. essentially Othello personifies all signs of abuse, not only is he domineering, controlling, judgmental, and insulting he also disappoints to come in regard with her trivializing emotions, though one must still fairly acknowledge that although Othello may have been loving at the start of the play, collectively throughout everything he is for sure understood no longer uphold such admiration. this play could very well have been intended as an anti-domestic violent statement and it’s certainly a warning against the dangers of ‘jealousy’ a number of times within the play ‘jealousy’ is referred to as a ‘monster’ and at certainty rears its ugly head, particularly in Othello, Iago, and Rodrigo. Emilia says, ‘But jealous souls will not be answered so. / They are not ever jealous for the cause, But jealous for they’re jealous. It is a ‘monster’ Begot upon itself, born on itself.’. Emilia here is claiming that jealousy is born by itself, events do not cause jealousy but rather jealousy causes events and further jealousy. Some say Iago corrupts Othello yet still to come Othello had all the necessary attributes to be corrupted, with that being pride, joyously, anger and Iago just happened to push him into the right direction. Thus, Othello isn’t so much corrupted as he is corrupt. His pride spurns jealousy and his jealousy blinds him to the truth. So much so, that he takes it to the ultimate extreme, murder and then suicide.

Furthermore, Shakespeare’s play invokes a plethora of feelings through its effective covering of themes such as that of discrimination and envy, its tragedy consists of attitudes of the time, granting insight and reason towards not only its hostility but toxicity. The character of Iago further expresses many of the unsavory aspects of human nature. His manipulation and treatment of Othello seem extreme and disproportionate near his initial grievances of not being honored for promotion, though, Emilia, the audience discovers that ‘‘her wayward husband hath a hundred times. Wooed me to steal it Desdemona’s handkerchief’’. With this stolen article, Iago instigates Othello’s jealousy ‘Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief… I gave her such a one, ‘‘was my first gift’’… ‘‘did I today See Cassio wipe his beard with’’. Iago further fabricates the story of Cassio moaning in his sleep ‘sweet Desdemona, let us be wary, let us hide our loves.’’ Though many may interpret Iago’s character to be nothing but evil, to others he performs to be motivated by self-destruction and toxic envy towards Othello and his military career. His deceit and maliciousness perhaps act as a representation and symbol for how narcissistic and prepared one can be to destroy or damage another with the purpose of self-gain. Ultimately, Shakespeare’s development of Iago's works serves as a warning towards the dangers of one’s egoism and wrath.

Evidently, Shakespeare’s strikingly works to propose the disturbing aspects of human nature is within his portrayal of bigoted attitudes and feelings. These sentiments are, of course, expressed through the antagonist Iago who is explicitly and repeatedly positioned to refer to Othello as a ‘moor, and taints Brabantio that his daughter is ‘making the beast with two backs’ having her ‘covered with Barbary horse’. Though, these pejoratives may only be expected by a character, as comprehensible as Iago, there too are similar attitudes are further expressed by other characters within the play. For example, Brabantio too harshly accuses Othello of having practiced on her for ‘foul charms, drugs, and minerals’ and cleverly it is to this covering of racial stereotypes the generalization in black individuals' use of black magic to which Brabantio’s clearly embeds within himself that works in telling and highlighting to the audience how people were conditioned to viewing black people at the time, as being less human and vindictive. Moreover, Iago’s language is particularly shocking through his comparison of Othello to as a ‘barbary horse’. Nonetheless, collectively this all acts to indicate towards the disturbing aspects of human nature, regardless of one’s success, e.g. though Othello is a demented military general who has won numerous battles for the Venetians, he yet is still insulted and hounded. Essentially, Loomba too makes a point of this, as she notes how common racist attitudes were at ultimately accelerating a hostile environment and finally violently setting up ones fall. Essentially, he indicates to us all have disturbing aspects within us, even the most respectable and honored among us.

Nonetheless, within the very moment, to which Othello permits Iago to ‘‘give thy worst of thoughts the worst of words,’, we perceive him brutally giving influence over his own narrative and therefore, his future. It, is Othello’s forceful retiring in his performance and, in turn, his linguistic gift, to which forcefully weakens Othello once positioned in a situation of emotional misery and alienation. Moreover, Iago effectively performs to verify Othello’s gullible nature, trialed within his lies, feeding into Othello’s naivety. ‘‘My Lord, you know I love you’’, and ignorantly Othello endorses, ‘‘I think thou dost’’. In addition, there is a broken line of iambic pentameter, six syllables free, perhaps adventured to emphasize the process of one’s ability to ‘think’. Such dramatic irony is projected within both Othello’s and Iago’s beyond disturbing rational abilities. Moreover, not only is this verb thematically used throughout the play but particularly within the scene.

Finally, the tragic fall of Othello from hero down to a jealous murderer presents itself as possibly the most disturbing demonstration of human nature and the mind. Iago’s manipulation of Othello’s emotion causes not only character but temperament to rapidly transition, primarily towards Desdemona. After Othello loudly demands to see ‘The Handkerchief!’ several times. Emilia expresses her shock ‘is not this man jealous?’ with Desdemona too astonished ‘I never saw this before’’. Essentially, through what Desdemona expresses herself its evidently proven that it is jealousy that to which predominately performs to expose the ugly and natural essence of Othello's nature, leading his to mistreat Desdemona. Something to which he has not done before. The tragic finale in which Desdemona is murdered evokes an interesting monologue from Othello ‘a word or two before you go / I have done the state some service and they know it / speak of me as I am nothing extenuate / of one not easily jealous but being wrought, perplexed in the extreme’. Specifically, the critic, Leavis, talks of Othello as embodying a melodramatic and narcissistic character. Moreover, we perceive Iago assimilating no sympathy for Othello and dismissing him as being overdramatic. Interestingly, as in his final lines, Othello mentions his ‘service to the state’ in an attempt to justify his actions. Thus, again, performs as an expression of another threatening aspect embodied within one. He reminds people of how great and honorable he was disturbingly right after he killed his wife. Therefore, Othello’s tragic fall demonstrates just how chaotic one can be, particularly dues to his horrendous manipulation operated by Iago into committing a monstrous act against the women whom he claimed to ‘love’. Withal, William Shakespeare’s play operates as a testament towards the sinister corners of human nature, powerfully reinforced within act 3, scene 3. 

29 April 2022
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