21 Jul 2010

Sample Essay: Drama Research Essay on Othello

The basic reason behind William Shakespeare starting to write Tragedy stories is due to the reason that he felt that the various other tragic plots that were being used by other English writers of his time lacked imaginative foundation and composition. The most important focus of all of Shakespeare’s tragedies was the fall of a prominent person of his story. Additional attractions of his plays used to be Suspense and climax. His effort was amazing as it was not of the customary for the time of his existence. Anybody with just very little knowledge about the writings of Shakespeare would be familiar with one of the tragedies as a Shakespearean work.

The four most outstanding and renowned tragedies that were written by William Shakespeare are King Lear, Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth.  The word ‘tragedy’ and its derivation are considered to be uncertain even today. “The word has been said to be derived from two Greek words – tragos (goat) and oide (song) (RSC – Royal Shakespeare Company). ” All of the tragic works written by William Shakespeare have a upsetting primary actor, or ‘protagonist’ who is in due course put into a absurdity or incompatible situation that is likely to be solved by the same character –  the hero.  A mixture of bad luck and misjudgment in due course results in the bereavement of the hero of the play.

Othello – as already mentioned above is one of the four outstanding tragic works of William Shakespeare that was written by him in the year 1602.  This famous tragedy of Shakespeare predominantly focuses on the death of Othello, the protagonist and all other important characters of the play as a result of jealousy.  All of the actions of the characters of the play are motivated by this single aspect of jealousy and hence the same is very prominent in the play.  Iago and Othello are the two main characters that portray Jealousy in the play Othello.  Jealousy is the one that completely corrupts Iago and consequently makes him to display his actuality.  This in turn causes Othello to go through an utter transformation in his own self and thereby leads to the destruction of all of his friends’ lives.

It has been said that catastrophe decontaminates the fondness and warmth by panic and sympathy. That is, it replaces imaginary compassion for sheer egoism and self-centeredness. It offers a soaring and enduring interest, beyond one’s self, in kindness as such. Tragedy is believed to raise the immense, the inaccessible and the potential to fairness with the genuine, the modest and the proximity.  Tragedy is also believed to suppress and mitigate the perseverance of the will power of a man.  Even though Iago has a repute of being “full of love and honesty” (III, iii, 138), he is the one who is accountable for obliterating many lives and is viewed as an individual who “perhaps one of the most villainous characters in all literature” (Godfrey).  Iago’s jealous is pretty evident as early as in the start of the play itself.  Specifically, in Act I of the play, Iago sets the tenor for the irrational effect jealously has on the characters of the play. Although Iago is not very sure that Othello is culpable of cuckolding him, his distrust “Will do as if for surety (1.3.371)” (Curtis).  It is, nevertheless, Othello’s intense jealous behavior that encompasses a central theme of the play. Othello is center of supremacy, and his behavior and implement of free will has the most insightful effect on everybody. Iago, who is considered as the master manipulator, uses Othello’s authoritative diffidence and jealousy as a means to instantaneously change Othello’s discernment of Desdemona.

Othello- an outstanding tragic piece of William Shakespeare is one of a kind tragedy that enlivens one’s compassion and consideration in astonishing manner.  The ethical aspects that Othello conveys have a closer relevance to the apprehensions of human life than that of any other works written by Shakespeare. If the other tragedies of Shakespeare are observed, each one of them portrays and conveys different aspects of morality.  The themes in King Lear and Macbeth contrast in the way that the pathos as portrayed in the play Lear are more dominant and are actually not so natural, however, they lack the consideration and compassion as observed in Macbeth.  In the same way Hamlet is more secluded and impulse.  In the same way, if Othello is observed it is more thoughtful, philosophical and heartwarming.

Interestingly, the term ‘Jealous’ apparently is appeared for about 21 times in the entire play of Othello.  Specifically, it becomes a common term that is used in the dialogues of Othello, Desdemona, Iago, Casio and Emilia.  Furthermore, Emilia and Iago are the two characters who have a pivotal role in this tragic play and they seemed to have apparently used the term of ‘jealousy’ almost seven times individually.   All through the play, Othello has been portrayed as an extremely strong character and he seems to be very proud of every single action of him. The control is not only of authority but of the sagacity of him being an excellent soldier.  In Act I, Othello has a brawl with Brabantio, who actually comes to kill him, but even before he attempts to attack Othello, Othello said, “Hold your hands, both of you of my inclining and the rest.  Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it without a prompter” (I, ii, lines 80-3) (Field of Themes).” The power displayed in this scene by Othello is quite amazing.

The crucial struggle that the character of Othello faces in the play is trying to recognize the truth to believe in. Othello’s own self sympathy and qualms of others allows Iago to even make Othello rethink and doubt the truth told by his wife. “This struggle within himself shows the weakness of Othello. It shows how his own doubts and questions of how is view allowed for evil and deception to easily overrun his mind. The actor must understand that this is not because Othello is slow or easily influenced, but rather partly worn and broken by his isolation from his own town. Iago is able to awaken these feelings of rejection and confusion that feed the feelings of evil and betrayal. By this it is how Othello grows able to murder his own wife. His mind is clouded and overwhelmed with years of feelings building up until the seal is broken by a wise and malevolent plot (Ross).”

The power and command over any situation that Othello has is one his strongest distinctiveness.  All through the entire first act, it can be observed that Othello is portrayed as a man with extensive power and an innate leadership. However, it would be difficult for anybody to believe such a man change all of a sudden (Field of Themes).  This change in Othello is evident from the scene when Lodovico notices Othello hitting Desdemona. As already mentioned above, the most significant of all the various themes of this play are the risks of love transforming into jealousy and the consequences of one getting his revenge.  The results of these themes are that a man trusts another man rather than his own wife, and that four persons are killed and two marriages damaged totally.  This play clearly portrays how letting emotion rule the body and mind instead of rational thought doing the same can eventually result in destruction. While most of the people may not believe that their individual actions can have such massive repercussions, as rightly said, the path to hell is paved with noble intentions. “Shakespeare intends to warn people of the dangers of acting without thought; to bring people aware of who is around them and what ulterior motives they may have when you take their counsel; and to show that every small move you make impacts the world around you to no end (Griffin).”

Othello continued to be very famous right through the 18th and 19th centuries, and numerous of the most radiant actors of that time sought after the role of the Moor, as Othello was called by many Venetians.  Othello, undoubtedly, is a most famous and one of the best tragedies written by Shakespeare. It is actually about love that transforms to be bad as a result of jealousy.  Shakespeare builds an influential drama of a marriage that originates with attraction amid the unusual Moor Othello and a fair Venetian lady named Desdemona, with elopement, and with strong mutual loyalty and that eventually ends impulsively with jealousy, anger and brutal deaths.

Works Cited

Curtis, Jerry. Jealousy: A Major Theme of Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’. 2009. 14 December 2009 <http://www.helium.com/items/100575-jealousy-a-major-theme-in-shakespeares-othello>.

Field of Themes. Character Analysis. 02 November 2009 <http://www.field-of-themes.com/shakespeare/essays/Eothello3.htm>.

Godfrey, D. R. Analysis of Shakespeare’s Othello. n.d.

Griffin, Alice. Themes in Shakespeare’s Othello. 03 July 2009. 14 December 2009 <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1902208/themes_in_shakespeares_othello.html>.

Ross, Jake. Analysis of Othello. 2009. 02 November 2009 <http://ezinearticles.com/?Analysis-of-Othello&id=148684>.

RSC – Royal Shakespeare Company. Macbeth. 02 June 2009 <http://www.rsc.org.uk/macbeth/tragedy/tragedies.html>.

07 Oct 2009

Sample Essay: The Role Emilia Character Played in The Play Othello by William Shakespaeare

The role that Emilia played in Othello as created by William Shakespeare is that of the wife of Lago that plotted to sow discord between husband and wife Othello and Desdemona. The main part of her participation was to steal the handkerchief of Desdemona in order to use as a convincing proof of her false infidelity against her husband Othello. The complicated part of the story is that Emilia was completely innocent at first as the motives of her husband that ordered her to steal the handkerchief in the first place. It was only her husband that had evil schemes in  place for Desdemona and her husband. Lago made use of Cassio to make Othello suspect that his wife had been unfaithful to him. It was quite easy for lago to make Othello believe his lies as the character of Othello is highly sensitive to attacks on his pride and dignity. All it took to make Othello believe was the handkerchief that Lago’s wife stole from her mistress. This role of Emilia made the perfect position to be able to implant malicious suggestions between the noble Othello and his wife Desdemona.

Emilia was the one that aided the villain Lago despite her lack of knowledge that is why the whole story became a tragedy later. The effect of Emilia’s role was to provide the stark contrast that is obvious between her materialistic character and that of the innocence of Desdemona.

The whole play able to progress realistically because of the snide and cynical remarks of Emilia.

It was the role of Emilia that provided the realistic backdrop of the whole play from start to the end of the story. The plot started with the dissatisfaction of Lago for the promotion of Cassio into a higher rank than him since the latter was a lower servant to Othello. Naturally, Lago plotted to get rid of Cassio by all kinds of means in order to get his revenge and finally elevate himself into a better position in life. He started destroying the regards of Othello for Cassio by intentionally enticing Cassio into a drinking bout one time. When Othello found out about this, he immediately demoted Cassio and promoted Lago into the position that Cassio originally occupied. The rest of the story proceeds in the way that the villain character Lago has planned for his victims except the very last part. The role of Emilia no matter how small can be seen as pivotal in the over-all build-up of the story. The reason why the plans of Lago succeeded in the first place is because of Emilia’s effort to steal her lady’s handkerchief. Despite her innocence at the motives of her husband, it was her act that made the plan of Lago successful. It was also instrumental for the story and Lago to have the trust of Desdemona on her maid Emilia completely. Emilia was thinking about the kind of possibilities that no one else had because she has a worldly character and experienced in the ways of the underworld at her age. Although she never had an inkling as to what would be the effect of stealing her lady’s handkerchief she was malicious enough to do it just because of her husband.

If we are to remove Emilia from the story, then there would be no other means for Lago to have easy access to his lady Desdemona without arousing suspicion on his intention.

The rest of the story is indeed the makings of her husband villain Lago but the deceptive facade that Lago has wrought would have been exposed earlier if not for Emilia’s effort. The contribution of Emilia is to provide the kind of access that Lago could never get for himself. Her role also made the story interesting because they are providing Desdemona ideas and insights into what kind of other women exist in the world. Her worldly nature makes a very sharp contrast to the character of Desdemona because she is the one that gives her lady advices and prompts on matters that might require a little daring and courage for Desdemona to do alone. The over-all story is also shaded by the dark nature of Emilia’s outlook in the world since it is she that is willing to commit adultery given the proper reasons according to one of her lines.

Despite the relatively small portion of her character’s part in the story, it provided the negative suggestions as well as the channel by which Shakespeare can try to influence the minds of audience of the play or the readers of the script. It makes the insertion of cynical and malicious ideas and comments on the events of the story easier to project by the use of Emilia’s character. If other characters were to be used, it would make a conflicting and somewhat confusing perception since the characters of the play are clearly defined as to how they behave according to their values. Since the character of Emilia is base and that of a materialistic person, it gives the author of the play an instrument that can provide insinuations and negative suggestions so as to captivate the audience.

Because of Emilia’s character it makes the play portray the different sides of the human emotions as well as the different angles that the audience of the play can try to analyze the whole story. If the role of Emilia were not present, it would have been very bland for the whole story to continue without any kind of intrigue and malicious angles from which the audience can derive varying opinions. It is the character of Emilia that also provides the much needed realism that the play is calling for. Since the nature of Emilia is somewhat base, it also creates a realistic feel for the kind of scenario that the playwright was trying to create. The noble characters of Desdemona and her husband would not be interesting enough because there would no one to provide the conflict and the intrigue that comes with the kind of comments that only Emilia can make. The role of being the maid of Desdemona also makes Emilia able to let the audience glimpse the kind of life that her lady is leading. This provides the kind of portrayal that the author of the play intended all along. The kind of angles and emotional atmosphere that the author might want to incorporate are all easily injected with a comment or two from Emilia. The informative and suggestive lines that Emilia has in the play give the audience the idea as to what kind of characters and emotions that the play is trying to project. The contrasting lines as well as the believable opinion of Emilia make the story more realistic. Since the character of Emilia is very common in real life, it also gives the audience a feel of the kind of setting in the everyday lives of the characters portrayed. The kind of capacity that she also has in getting inside information about lady Desdemona could not have been possible if she were not the personal servant of Desdemona. It gives the whole play an angle by which the author can make use of the personal weaknesses of the characters. For example, since it is a given that Othello’s character is easily angered without use of extensive analytical reasoning, it makes the deception of Lago easier to accomplish.

The role of Emilia comes in as important for the whole play since they are all incapable of getting the trust of Lady Desdemona when it comes to her private chambers and items. The very simple act of using a handkerchief by Lago to manipulate Othello into a rage makes the role of Emilia all the more important. It also shows another custom of those days wherein the lady has her own personal servant. The betrayal that came with the position of Emilia no matter how unintended also gives the play an exciting twist since the audience is aware of the malicious motives of Lago and yet at the same time, nobody else is aware of the nefarious plans that Lago has in mind. The whole story is also made more enticing for the viewers as it now incorporates betrayal and insidiousness on the part of its characters. The views and angles of the play is filled with variety since the incorporation of Emilia’s character provides the twists and contrast that are necessary to make an interesting story. Despite the small part that the role of Emilia played in the story, nevertheless it was necessary to make the kind of base character that she played because the story could not have been realistically portrayed if all of the other characters were as noble and innocent as the husband and wife Desdemona and Othello.

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