characters believe Iago is honest and trustworthy
and Othello believe Cassio is a chronic and irresponsible drunk.
believes Cassio and Desdemona are in love.
believes Desdemona will be his means of restitution.
is tormented, even into trances, by images of Desdemona’s infidelity.
partially bases his revenge on the illusion of Othello and Emelia sleeping
the “green-eyed monster”:
no positive qualities in Othello: It disrupts relationships and
destroys the mind
is part of the illusion vs. reality theme: Jealousy is always a
matter of illusion. A
betrayed lover is never satisfied about the reality of her/his suspicions
w/o enduring greater misery.
becomes aware of the price he must pay for jealousy.
“Farewell tranquil mind! Farewell content!”
Othello suspects that the demons which are destroying him are
really the images in his own mind (says it would've been better if
Desdemona had slept with his entire army as long as he didn't know
(particularly in Act V)
believes he must sacrifice Desdemona so she can pay for her sins
must be sacrificed in order to prevent more men enduring the torment
she must also be sacrificed before Othello can see her loving and innocent
THE THEMES ARE ALL TIED TOGETHER.
Desdemona’s character. Her
anguish over its loss is real. It
shows her innocent, loving, unassuming nature.
important, Othello’s image of that purity—which he believes has also
been lost to him
symbol for the love Othello and Desdemona have for one another.
is an intelligent man, beyond moral scruple, who finds pleasure in the
corruption of the virtuous and the abuse of the pliable.
relies on his wit and intelligence; he believes that all can be duped and
destroyed—and that there is no further purpose to his life (pathological
his opinions and his human relationship on intuition rather than reason
(opposite of Iago).
courtship with Desdemona is brief and his devotion complete.
trust of his comrades, including Iago, is complete.
is NOT universally believed—not everyone completely believes what Iago
says about Desdemona EXCEPT Othello. Othello
is the only one COMPLETELY deceived on this subject by Iago.
Othello is completely deceived, Iago is able to make him play the game
with unfamiliar rules.
Elliot on Othello: Othello
never comes to an understanding of the enormity or guilt of his crime—he
realizes his error, but consoles himself in his final speech with cheery
reminders of his own virtues.
Critics: Elliot is wrong. In
his final speech, Othello does seem to face up to his error with the same
passion that had followed earlier misconceptions.