Writing about Plays: Othello

By Tracey Thompson

Othello is a classic play written by the famous William Shakespeare.  The play is available to be read in many places, I read a copy from the Hardin County Public Library.  This play was written and first performed in 1604.  In summary of the play, Othello is a general who promotes Cassio. This creates jealousy from Iago towards Cassio and resentment towards Othello.  Othello then marries his love, Desademona.  In an effort to gain revenge, Iago begins a malicious plot against both Othello and Cassio.  As part of Iago’s scheme, he convinces that Othello’s wife (Desademona) is having an affair with Cassio.  Othello begins to get both suspicious and jealous.  Iago continues his plot of convincing Othello that his wife is unfaithful.  Through various acts and schemes by Iago, Othello is finally convinced of an affair between Desademona and Cassio.  Othello returns to his castle to murder his innocent wife because of her believed infidelity.  Emilia (Iago’s wife) finally realizes what Iago has done, and tells Othello the truth.  In anger of Emilia’s betrayal, Iago murders his wife.  In rage, Othello tried to kill Iago, but only wounds him before killing himself.

This play, like many others written by William Shakespeare, is a tragedy.  Othello is actually known today as one of the greatest tragedies ever written.  Othello meets the main characteristic of a tragedy as the hero having a fatal flaw.  The character of Othello actually has a couple of fatal flaws.  One fatal flaw of Othello was his naivety and the other was his jealousy.  Othello was naïve when he believed that Iago was a true friend.  Othello believed that what Iago was telling him about an affair was true, and did not consider that ulterior motive Iago may have.  Othello’s other fatal flaw, jealousy, caused him to be blinded from the truth.  The play of Othello is also considered a tragedy, because of the tragic ending.  The ending of Othello is tragic because he realized that he had killed his innocent wife, whom he loved.  He did this because he was the victim of a malicious scheme by someone he trusted.  Othello decides that because of his own flaws, naivety and jealousy, he now has nothing left to live for.

The plot is based on both the scheme of the antagonist, Iago, and the decisions made by the protagonist, Othello.  The rising action begins with Iago telling the audience of his scheme against Othello and Cassio.  The action continues to rise with a bit of foreshadowing.  The foreshadowing occurs during Othello’s and Desdemona’s speeches about their love, this foreshadows the tragedy and disaster than will ensue.  The play climaxes when Othello vows his revenge against his innocent wife Desdemona.  The resolution of the play is when the murders occur and Iago’s scheme is expressed to Othello.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William.  The Tragedy of Othello.  Thomas Walkley, 1622.

SparkNotes Editors, “SparkNotes on Othello.” SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web.

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Filed under All About Essays, Baroque, Drama, Written By Students

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