Othello as a tragedy Part II by William Shakespeare
Iago is an ensign, denied promotion by Othello, is jealous of the promotion of his junior soldier. He wishes to avenge at Othello. He plots against Othello and his wife. In the Turk war, Othello takes his wife along. Iago, tricks Othello into believing that his wife is being unfaithful to him. On the other hand, Desdemona is truly in love with him; she even accompanies him in the war out of love saying “That I did love the Moor to live with him” and “my heart's subdued even to the very quality of my lord….”. Othello, though a remarkable man indeed, begins to think that his wife does not love him in real because he is black. And no woman would love a blank man. With this state of mind and inner tormenting, he ends up killing his wife. But he later realizes that it was a plot hatched by Iago out of jealousy. Audience is shocked and there is a feeling of fear and pity for poor Othello.
The hero suffers from some tragic error or hamartia which is primarily responsible for his downfall. Iago planned to avenge his jealousy at Othello by misleading him; however, it is an “error of judgment” on the part of Othello. She is, indeed, Othello’s “fair warrior,” and he is happiest when he has her by his side in the midst of military conflict or business. He gets trapped. But that error is big enough to decipher his entire career and bring his downfall. It might have been his fate to slay his wife but it was brought about by his own actions and thoughts. It was his free will, though he does so in oblivion of the true state of things. Misunderstanding was his fault.
The audience is filled with catharsis when Othello, a splendid lover and a remarkable general, has come to know the truth only after his wife has been slayed by himself. The, he kills himself. This is the height of pity and awe. There is no option but to weep over the loss. Catharsis helps purging of excessive emotions from a person. By watching the tragedy and feeling the strong emotions of fear and pity on behalf of the characters on stage, the spectator experiences a kind of cleansing of the soul. Metaphorical catharsis from watching tragedy gave the spectators a shared experience that bound them closer together. In other works, Aristotle locates the essence of the self in perception; by sharing perception or perceiving the same things, the spectators develop a sort of common identity.
The plot of the play is well structured with underlying irony and suspense that prevails till the last lines of the play. Desdemona wanted a loving and caring husband which she thought she eventually found. She remained true to him till her last breathe. But it is the irony of fate that he was misled by the jealousy prevailing in his surrounding and contented only at slaying his own wife. Othello chooses an immoral act of slaying his wife. And ironically, slaying his wife proves the worst error on his part. Though he later repents but it is of no use now. There is suspense whether the villain be successful in bringing about the downfall of the love couple. The use of language suits the theme of the play. The reader remains interested in the awful story till the very tragic fall of the hero.
We may conclude with the remarks in addition to it being a tragedy that Shakespeare did compose a great play based upon the themes of suspicion, loneliness and sight and blindness. The unfolding events do fulfill our hearts with pity and fear arousing catharsis. The protagonist is filled with suspicion over the fidelity of his wife. The characters are unable to see the clear and true meaning of thing: Othello accuses his wife although he never sees her infidelity, and Emilia, although she watches Othello erupt into a rage about the missing handkerchief, does not figuratively “see” what her husband has done. Similarly, Othello is unable to see the evil intentions and lies of Iago though it is very much evident through the course of the play. The problems begin to take ugly shape only when Othello, Desdemona, Iago, Emilia and Roderigo have come to Cyprus and they are isolated with nothing to do.