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Othello by William Shakespeare takes place in Venice
during the invasion of the island of Cyprus by the Turks. The
protagonist of the story, Othello, is a newlywed, Moorish
general with a very gullible nature. The antagonist of the
story is Iago, an officer under Othello who wishes to be
promoted to lieutenant, but the position was given to the
young and attractive Cassio. Other major characters in the
play are Desdemona, Othello's wife who is accused of
having an affair with Cassio. In addition, there are Roderigo,
a Venetian who is deeply in love with Desdemona; and
Emilia (Iago's wife) who could have prevented the death of
Desdemona. The tone of the story is tragic and serious.
Meanwhile, there isn't any point of view because this is a
play and a play doesn't normally have a narrator.
Shakespeare lets the reader make up his/her own
imagination with the characters' words and behavior. Since
Othello is the protagonist, he is explained in more detail.
Although Othello is a brave warrior, he is a jealous person;
his jealousy also prevails over his good sense. The whole
play depicts the fact that jealousy causes corruption.
There are many conflicts found in Othello, and person vs.
person is one of them. An example is when Iago seeks
revenge against Othello and Cassio because of his anger and
jealousy. Person vs. society appears when Desdemona's
father Brabantio, disapproves her marriage to Othello
because he is several years older than Desdemona, from a
different class, and a different race. An internal conflict of
person vs. himself is found when Othello is in a dilemma
about whether or not should he believe that Desdemona is
being unfaithful to him.
Othello loves and trusts Desdemona until his jealousy is
aroused by the cruel manipulations of Iago. Iago's intention
was to persuade Othello to believe that Desdemona is
having an affair with Cassio. As Iago succeeds in convincing
Othello that Desdemona is guilty of adultery, it leads to the
climax of the play. And so Othello must face emotions he
can't deal with. His jealousy drives him insane, and his
judgment is replaced with anger and hate. At this time, the
reader notices that the death of Desdemona is inevitable.
Othello smothers her, and he eventually kills himself when he
knows that Iago falsely accused Desdemona. This also
represents the tragedy of the play.
A lesson that readers learn from the play is that jealousy
causes corruption in many ways such as dishonesty which
was portrayed by Iago. As for Othello, the tragedy would
not have happened if it wasn't for Iago who was jealous of
Cassio for having the lieutenant's job and of Othello for
being a successful soldier. Iago's scheme caused many
deaths. Iago is amoral. For example, even when the innocent
Desdemona dies, he doesn't have a sense of guilt; and even
when he is about to die, he does not have thoughts of
remorse. In addition, Othello also caused Desdemona's
death due to his jealousy and his impulsiveness. As Othello
says, "I'll see before I'll doubt; when I doubt, prove; / And
on the proof, there is no more but this, / Away at once with
love or jealousy!" Even in the end, Othello doesn't know
what was his actual motivation for killing the woman he
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Othello, Iago, Emilia, Michael Cassio, Roderigo, Brabantio, Desdemona, Otello, Bianca
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