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Death and Gender in Othello - Research Paper Example

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Name Instructor Class 13 December 2011 Death and Gender in Othello In The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, William Shakespeare renders the terrible consequences of lying, racial, discrimination, and jealousy. The play exemplifies the vulnerability of people to lies and racial prejudice, where Iago's manipulation and lies have driven Othello to doubt, and then eventually, kill the love of his life, Desdemona…
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Death and Gender in Othello

Download file to see previous pages... Desdemona dies, because of lies and jealousy, as well as racial and gender discrimination. Iago misrepresents many people, so that he can advance his own interests and to take revenge against Cassio and Othello. Othello promotes Cassio instead of Iago, which angers the latter who thinks he is more deserving than Cassio. Iago, with revenge in mind, manipulates people's vulnerabilities or weaknesses, making him “perhaps Shakespeare’s consummate villain” (Foster 2). Iago is “evil” enough to not even have any motivation of hating and killing Othello. Foster believes that not being promoted is only the tipping point of Iago's hatred for Iago. Foster argues: “It is Othello’s candor, openness, and spontaneous, generous love that Iago finds offensive” (2). Suggesting that Othello only seduced his wife indicates Iago's corrupted soul. Iago treats people as victims or tools, and in many ways, he is the “classical Renaissance atheist,” who is cunning and beyond morality, as he finds it rewarding to darken that which is pure (Foster 2). He knows that his actions can endanger him too, but he trusts in his wits to save him (Foster 2). Iago thinks that his main purpose in life is to be the darkness to people's goodness. And Othello, with his racial and cultural difference, is the perfect target for the dark-spirited Iago. Iago specifically lies about Othello, Cassio, and Desdemona, because he has a corrupted nature with hatred and bitterness in his heart. Iago initially misrepresents Othello to Brabantio, a Venetian senator and Desdemona's father. Iago uses racism to encourage Brabantio to kill Othello. He tells Desdemona's father that Othello seduced her daughter, as if it is impossible for a white woman to love a Moor. Iago gives Brabantio a strong racist image: “Even now, now, very now, an old black ram/Is topping your white ewe...” (Shakespeare Act 1, Scene 1). Iago uses pathos to evoke an emotional response from Brabantio. Iago also connives with Roderigo, who wants to steal Desdemona from Othello. Iago, however, is a double spy and he warns Othello of Brabantio's forthcoming allegations and actions. This warning, nevertheless, is Iago's way of reinforcing Othello's trust in him, so that he can further damage the latter. Iago also lies to Roderigo that he is loyal to him. Roderigo only wants Desdemona and since he knows that Iago hates Othello, he has an ally. Roderigo also sends gifts to Desdemona to woo her, but Iago keeps these gifts for himself. Iago appears to be helping Roderigo to win Desdemona's heart, but he only lures him into his web of lies. In this web, the main goal is to kill all those who have “mistreated” him- Othello and Cassio. Since Othello loves Desdemona, she must also suffer too. Iago also misrepresents Cassio to Othello. Iago even uses his wife, Emily, to use Desdemona's handkerchief as the visual proof of her infidelity. Desdemona accidentally drops her handkerchief that Othello gave to her. Emilia picks it up, and Iago uses that to engender doubt in Othello's mind. When Othello asks Iago for evidence that Desdemona is no longer faithful to him, Iago says that he slept in Cassio’s room and heard Cassio mention sweet words about Desdemona. He says that he had seen Cassio using Desdemona's handkerchief too. Rage consumes Othello, who vows to kill Cassio. He ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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