Othello referat


In another play by Shakespeare a tragic hero described himself as „More sinned against then sinning.“ In your opinion could this also be true of Othello? In the Course of your answer: - Explain clearly in what way Othello might seem to be a victim - Comment on what the play suggests about Shakespeare’s view of tragedy. “More sinned against than sinning” is an interesting term that leads of the blame from oneself onto another person or circumstances one experiences, rather than accepting the consequences of ones deeds. This in my opinion is quite cowardy and therefore I think it is against Othello’s nature, who’s brave and a soldier, to ever say something like this. Yet maybe it is true in a way, because there are many factors that lead to his downfall that are not his fault and which work on him without him being able to influence him. Othello was a soldier since he was seven years old and he never knew anything else then battle and the company of man. This experiences are a fatal factor toward his downfall, because he instead of talking to Desdemona about the accuse that she’s having an affair, trusts in Iago, a fellow soldier, who although more experienced with women never trusted them and doesn’t speak well of them. They “ rise to play and go to bed to work”, as he claims in Act 2 Scene 1 after their arrival on Cyprus. Othello who has only known the company of men gets nervous and doesn’t know how to react when Iago gives him hints that Desdemona betrays him with his former Lieutenant. This poisonous jealousy with which Iago infects him through his lies and well organised “stage coaching”, when he for example manages to drive Othello crazy with rage and jealousy, when he talks with Cassio first about Desdemona and then changes the topic to Bianca, without Othello knowing. Othello is a noble man and he would never have committed a sin like this, but the forces that worked on him were just too strong. The true devil of the play in Iago, who drives Othello to a stage in which he can’t believe anything but his poisonous lies and won’t see any truth in other’s words. He doesn’t believe Desdemona in Act 4 Scene 2 when he confronts her with what she’s supposed to have done and she insists on her innocent: O: “Are you not a strumpet?” D: “No as I am a Christian! […]” O: “What, not a whore?” D: “No, as I shall be saved!” O: “Is it possible?” D: “O heaven, forgive us!” He doesn’t believe her and to some extend Desdemona too can be blamed for making him sin. She nagged him all the time to call for Cassio and talk to him. When he saw her talking with Cassio and she turns to him and asks him to call him back, he refuses at first. She could have left the matter at this point to ask him again later, but she insist on him telling her the exact time he’s going to speak with his former Lieutenant. “Why then, tomorrow night, or Tuesday morn; On Tuesday, noon or night; On Wednesday morn! I prithee name the name the time, but let it not Exceed three days […]” This nagging is a good reason to be jealous, because Desdemona seems to want to see Cassio again so dearly. So, although she does it in good faith and only wants to restore the friendship between the two men, she achieves the contrary. “The green eyed monster” is now able to take control over Othello’s mind and body, because through Iago’s implications that she is having an affair he sees her nagging as a sign for her unfaithfulness. So to some extend Desdemona’s goodness is a part of Othello’s downfall, and her death. On can say that other people’s sins drive Othello towards his sinful actions in the end, but it is not only other people’s deeds that drive him mad. Behind the strong façade of a General, Othello is unsure, and because of all the racial prejudices of the time he’s insecure. After Iago’s lies poisoned his mind, he’s worried that Desdemona, “a pearl […] richer than all his tribe”, has started to believe that she has done a mistake in marring him and therefore chose Cassio, an attractive, well speaking young man as her lover. He fears to be cuckold and in this way loose his honour, for which he has worked all his life and endured many dangers, battles and slavery, with which won Desdemona in the first place. This is a strange coincidence, that Othello fears to loose something with which he won Desdemona’s love at the first place. His stories could be seen in comparison to the magic in the handkerchief. As long as he has his pride, honour and his stories to tell, Desdemona will “give him a world of sighs” and love him dearly, yet he fears that if he looses them and becomes “a blacker devil” he will lose Desdemona. This is what happens, he looses his poise, his pride, starts babbling and gets fits, that make him fall unconscious to the ground. His fear of being cuckold drive him so far that he believes he already is. In the Duke’s council chamber the last thing he says to her father is “My life upon her faith” and because he gives up his faith on her, he forfeits his life and in the end kills himself. This insecurity of Othello could be seen as a sin that comes to light when Iago starts to put the idea of a Desdemona-Cassio affair into his mind. As soon as Othello starts thinking about his possibility, he starts seeing mistakes in himself, his blackness, his age, his lack of soft speech. These are all revealed in Act 3 Scene 3, after Iago told him indirectly that he thinks Desdemona is unfaithful, when in a monologue he says: 1 “Haply for I am black And have not these soft parts of conversation That chamberers have, or for I am declined Into the vale of years – yet that’s not much – 5 She’s gone, I am abused, and my relieve Must be to loath her. “ He starts thinking about his colour in the first like and then realises he lacks the “soft parts of conversation”, before he goes on to think about his age in line 3 and 4. In line 5 he then interestingly talks about Desdemona as being “gone” and this proves that he starts to worry about the possibility that somebody else could have won her affection. He talks also about being “abused” and that if this is true his only relieve will be to “loath her”. In Act 3 Scene 3 not only Othello’s insecurity is revealed, but also he’s later actions. He starts loathing her, calls her “whore” and “strumpet” and even hits her in public, which “would not be believed in Venice”. In his eyes faithful Desdemona, becomes a devil. In Act 4 he is so far changed, that Lodovico, who has come from Venice asks Iago: “Is this the noble Moor, whom our full senate Call all in all sufficient? This the nature Whom passion could not shake? Whose solid virtue The shot of accident nor dart of chance Could neither graze nor pierce?” This description of the old Othello is much the contrary of the man who we can see in Act 4. The “green eyed Monster” truly mocked “the meat it feasts on”. Othello in Act for is but a shade of what he was, a broken man, crazed by jealousy and insecurity. The once noble man has given in to the doubts and lies that were spun around him like a deadly web. Where as in Act 3 Scene 3 he wanted a real prove for Desdemona’s unfaithfulness by Act 4 he’s given in to the unreliable words of Iago. Where he had been rational in the beginning he now gives in to emotions and feelings. His despair that his beloved Desdemona might not be true is simply too much for him. She’s the first woman he loved and the thought of her turning away from him drives him mad! His insecurity is again shown shortly before he kills his wife. “Turn of the light and then turn of the light.”, he says and this shows that Desdemona is a light for him. She gives light in his blackness and yet he wants to put his shining light out, because of the unbearable fear of broken pride, destroyed honour. “When I have plucked the rose I cannot give it vital growth again, It needs must whither.” In this scene Othello for a moment is his old self again, which beautiful, imagery speech, that has overcome his jealousy. “O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade Justice to break her sword!” He loves her so much, that he doesn’t want to kill her, but the jealousy and the lies within him drive him to do so. He has regained his feelings as is shown in lines 20/21 in Act 5 Scene 2: “I must weep, But they are cruel tears” and yet he can’t let go of the idea of Desdemona’s innocence and so he makes himself guilty of the worst of sins and kills his wife. Before he kills himself, in line 357, of the same scene, he realises how wrong he was and how much he’s been wronged by the man he’d trusted the most, with whom he’d sworn an oath of revenge and whom he’d regarded as a “fellow of exceeding honesty”. Iago, who’s been taken prisoner, is wounded by Othello in line 284 and he now calls him no longer “honest Iago”, but sees he is a “demi-devil”. Contrary to what one would expect, he doesn’t kill, but only wounds him, because “I’d have thee live: For in my sense ‘tis happiness to die.” In the end Othello’s mind and sense are restored and he apologizes to Cassio and confesses freely to his sinful, awful deeds. “Did you and he consent in Cassio’s death?” “Ay.” He regrets everything he has done and yet he asks the people around him to “speak of me as I am” and “of one that loved not wisely, but too well.” Othello has sinned, he knows it and therefore he takes his life. Yet his sin came about through other means than his own will. Iago poisoned his mind with jealousy that seemed to be confirmed through Desdemona’s nagging and his insecurity about his blackness all come together in a deadly mixture, which aroused the “green eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feasts on”. So one could talk about Othello as someone “more sinned against than sinning.”, because in the end he confessed his sin, an “honourable murder […] For nought I did in hate, but all in honour.”, and takes the consequences of his actions by ending his own life.

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