Of all Shakespeare’s tragedies, not even excepting ‘King Lear,’ Othello is the most painfully exciting and the most terrible Essay

Most of Shakespeare’s stories follow a similar trend. Each story starts by introducing the main character as hero and often the play is named after the main character (who is called an eponymous hero). The hero will start to fall because of different reasons throughout each play. For example: Macbeth starts out with a good rank in the army, he felt that he had to do something himself rather than waiting for it to happen so he killed the king. He was also pushed on by the witches and even his own wife. King Lear gave away his kingdom to his two daughters who displayed their love for him the most, but he disowned the daughter who told him that she simply loved him as a daughter, who truly loved him.

On the other hand Othello, is a general and he has a lot of good and trustworthy friends (so he thinks). Iago lies to Othello without actually stating the lie in words-he hints at Othello. Othello now thinks that his wife, Desdemona is betraying him. His solution out of jealousy and to stop Desdemona betraying other men is to kill her. Both of these stories end with the death of the hero. Macbeth gets his head sliced off in a sword battle and Othello ends up killing himself for what he has done because he realises that Desdemona did no wrong at all. He stabs himself and staggers up on the bed to lie with her.

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Quote from Act 5, Scene 2, Lines 354-355

I kiss’d thee ere I kill’d thee: no way but this,

Killing myself, to die upon a kiss

The Othello story is very different to the other stories because it is a domestic tragedy. The word domestic simply means that he was not a king or great ruler but just a general. None of the other Shakespearian stories are domestic because they all have Kinks, Thanes and Dukes as the main characters. For instance: Macbeth was the Thane of Cawdor, King Lear controlled his county and Othello controlled his army.

Quote from Act 5, Scene 2, Lines 7-14

Put out the light, and then put out the light:

If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,

I can again thy former light restore,

Should I repent me; but once put out the light,

Thou cunning’st pattern of excelling nature,

I know not where is that Promethean heat

That can thy light relume. When I have pluck’d thy rose

I cannot give it vital growth again;

In Othello the murder takes place in Othello’s bedroom (therefore a domestic setting) and the murder is just between Othello and Desdemona. I think this also adds to the story because everything is done in secret and because most of the time very few people are in the scene at one time. This is one of the reasons the story is so much more unique than the other stories…

The Othello story is also very powerful because the play distorts and makes human emotions very real to the reader. There is a passionate love that Othello and Desdemona hold between them, but when the hatred of Iago gets in the way he stirs up a jealousy in Othello so strong that it drives him mad thinking about it.

Quote from Act 3, Scene 3, Lines 438-440

I know not that; but such a handkerchief

I am sure was your wife’s, did I today

See Cassio wipe his beard with.

The thoughts that possess Othello’s mind of Cassio and Desdemona, his wife betraying him. It sends him off into fits because he can’t believe that his wife would do such a thing to him. This is why the play shows such strong emotions and also shows an amazing power of getting into the human mind and finding the readers true heart….

Quote from Act 4, Scene 1, Lines 41-43

It is not the words that shakes me thus. Pish!

Noses, ears, and lips. Is’t possible? Confess?

Handkerchief? O devil!

(He falls into a trance)

The way Shakespeare wrote this story provides the reader with a lot of powerful language to work with. When Othello explains to the Duke why he married Desdemona he used a resonance of words, the power of poetry in other words.

Quote from Act1, Scene 3, Lines 166-168

She lov’d me for the dangers I had pass’d,

And I lov’d her that she did pity them.

This only is the witchcraft I have us’d.

He uses a wide poetic range in the vocabulary and the way he talks about himself. At first he is very modest and claims to be no great speaker (which is a lie because he is a great speaker), he words are words of power and awesomeness. His words are also very moving and will once again touch the reader as it is read. Later on Iago’s words never state the lie of which he is holding against Othello, but hint at the message all along of what he is trying to get across to Othello. At times they are also poetic and strong. This shows that Iago is a very strong character as well because he has the ability to get messages into people’s minds and hurt them really deep so that he doesn’t state the conclusions of the matter, but the person he is talking to will.

Throughout the story there is a really strong element of love and hate. The love between Othello and Desdemona, but the hate of Iago against Othello. When the story in and around Act 1 it is plainly obvious to see that Othello and Desdemona love eachother so much and wouldn’t allow anything anyone else says about it break them up. Then when Iago starts to work with his mind tricks he starts to ruin the relationship that Othello and Desdemona have.

Quote from Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 192 – 193

O, you are well tun’d now!

But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music,

As honest as I am.


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