Othello the “Mad” Moor
Shakespeare's “Othello” is a prime example of a cleverly crafted tragedy. Othello himself has all the elements of a tragic hero: the personal grievance involving a friend and loved one, the tragic flaw (gullibility), the sacrifice of suicide. Othello’s strong love for his wife and the love that Desdemona shows him by betraying her father shows the bond between the two of them. As a man Othello was honorable and noted with high regard around Venice, also a strong and great leader. Every great leader has much stress on him no matter how great the leader. The stress of battle, the jealousy, and the loss of honor are what drove Othello insane and this is why he hath killed his wife.
Although the stress of battle was not mentioned in the play one could imagine the stresses put on a man with such stories of battle that Othello himself told Brabantio. “Her father loved me, oft invited me; /Still questioned me the story of my life/From year to year- the battles sieges, fortunes/That I have passed.”(I, iii, 128-131) The numerous battles and the hardships of war wear a man down. The stresses of everyday things at work get to us but the stresses of battle must be and uncountable times worse. Othello seemed to be and was mentioned as a good leader with the respect of the Duke. The stresses of being a black man leading an army of white soldiers that might respect you as a leader but might not respect you as a human would affect you also.
Othello seemed to handle the stresses of war just fine but with the jealousy added into his life by the most evil Iago’s plot against him and Cassio was something that Othello had trouble managing. Othello was new to the married life and did not want to leave his wife behind so he left her in the hands of the “honest” Iago. “My life upon her faith! - Honest Iago, /My Desdemona must I leave to thee”(I, iii, 294-295). Iago caused the jealousy in Othello’s heart and made it burn with such passion and with some false proof caused Othello to begin his break from reality.
The honor lost by the rumor of a cheating wife was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Othello’s honor was of much importance to him, like it was to most men of that period. “But why should honor out live honesty”(V, ii, 246)? Othello was never dishonest and even admitted to the murder of his wife but his insanity drove him to it. The loss of his honor drove him to insanity but he regained it with his own death.
Othello the insane moor was more then just stressed out by battle. He has numerous problems going on in his life. The rumors of an affair and the loss of honor drove him into epileptic fits and into insanity. Loss of honor and pride is not the reason he killed his wife, but these things lead to the insanity that lead to the Death of his wife.