Thursday, October 24, 2019

Othello by William Shakespeare Essay

Othello by William Shakespeare is a tragic story of envy, hatred and giving trusting to a very iniquitous person. It tells a tale of two people who loved each other despite the fact that they are worlds apart in terms of race, age and experience. Othello was a Moor, and Desdemona was the prettiest woman. Envied by Roderigo and Iago, the latter devised a plan to deceive Othello that his wife is cheating on him with his most trusted lieutenant Cassio. Unfortunately for the main characters, the plan worked and Othello ended up killing his faithful wife. Learning about what a fool he had become, not believing his own wife, Othello killed himself and died in his wife’s embrace. Roderigo was killed by Cassio and Iago was tortured to death. I have chosen to discuss Act V, Scene II of the play Othello, where Othello was convinced his wife was unfaithful and made up his mind to kill her. For him, this was the only honorable thing to do. The first part showed Othello looking at his sleeping wife amidst a flickering candle. He states: It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul,– Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars! — It is the cause. Yet I’ll not shed her blood; Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow, And smooth as monumental alabaster. In this speech, Othello is trying to convince himself that it was Desdemona who was at fault that is why killing her must be done. He accuses his wife’s beauty as the cause of her infidelity. And because of this beauty that he will kill her with honor, and not damage any part of her splendor. He is obviously confused, hesitant, trying to make sense of what he is about to do. Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men. Put out the light, and then put out the light: If I quench thee, thou flaming minister, I can again thy former light restore, When I have pluck’d the rose, I cannot give it vital growth again. It must needs wither: I’ll smell it on the tree. In these lines, Othello has affirmed reasons for him to kill his wife, and convinced himself that by killing her, he is relieving her of her sins, bringing back her purity and innocence, as if being born again. He then kissed his wife and this awakened her. Desdemona, quite feeling there is something wrong, tried to capture her husband’s love once again by inviting him to lay beside her but instead, Othello asked her whether she had already prayed because he does not want to kill an unprepared spirit. When Desdemona appeared confused, Othello told her that is has been proven that she has betrayed him by being with Cassio and that he has the handkerchief that Othello so lovingly gave her. Despite Desdemona’s pleadings of innocence, Othello’s mind has already been poisoned by Iago’s stories, and he killed his wife. This scene, I believe is the umbrella of the whole play. Even though it was not actually stated in Act V, Scene II, it was obvious that Othello was a great man but was blinded by jealousy. And this blindness is a solid proof of Iago’s cunningness in manipulating the different characters. It was also shown here how Desdemona truly loves her husband by admitting suicide and not revealing that it was Othello who killed her. The painting that I have chosen (above) somehow shows the entirety of scene II of Act V. By looking at it, one can clearly see the difference in Othello and Desdemona’s lives. She was almost a goddess, sleeping in her white wedding sheets, and he looks like a confused peasant wearing a suit that is fit for him. There was hesitation, uncertainty and doubt in his eyes. He was holding a dagger evidently implying that he is about to kill her (although this was actually used to kill himself). His pose seems like he was sneaking in to steal a look of his stunning wife. Desdemona on the other hand, looks so peaceful, almost illuminating in just a faint light of a flickering candle. Although the painting pretty much illustrated the scene from the play, it was still lacking of life and dimension. In a third person point of view, it would not be as effective in delivering the message unless the person really knows the story. Therefore, while I consider myself as a visual person, I still much prefer the written form of this particular scene. It is more dramatic and touching to be able to create a scene with your own imagination. A major factor for this choice is that I have always loved reading because it can really take me on a journey where I can be in control. Also, I can have my own interpretation of different chapters in a book or novel whereas in watching a movie to looking at a photograph or painting, you can only interpret up to the limit of what the artist or director. Written literary works can give you limitless possibilities, and that is the challenge I treasure in reading.

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