Othello’s character during the play is first shown as a hero of war and a man ofgreat pride and courage. The other main characters in the play all form theirown opinions of him and as the play continues, his character begins todeteriorate and become less noble. Chronologically through the play Othello’scharacter changes from a flawless military leader, to become a murderer. Also asthe play progresses, the other characters in the play change their opinions ofOthello which causes the plot to happen the way it did.
Throughout the first actof the play, Othello was shown as many different characters depending on who wasspeaking. Iago complains of Othello’s pride and “bombast circumstance”and is angered by the appointment of Cassio, and educated military theoreticianof Florence to lieutenant, instead of himself. Although he knows Othello is aproud man, his open and trusting nature in the beginning of the play will beeroded by the conclusion of the plot. As Iago is speaking to Brabantio aboutOthello, he uses the term “white ewe” to represent Desdemona, and”black ram” when referring to Othello. By using these terms, it showsthat he is trying to give a bad impression of Othello when he is speaking to theroyal family in Venice, because Othello is a Moor or a Negro. Iago shows hisblack hatred for the Moor, and his jealousy of Cassio in his first soliloquy andalso reveals his evil intentions.Order now
As the act continues and Othello is beingsearched for by a group of people, Iago attempts to incite Othello into angeragainst Brabantio, but Othello does not take the bait. He feels that he (Brabantio)may do his worst because Othello is assured that his military services to thegovernment will outweigh Brabantio’s complaints of him marrying Desdemona. Theseanswers to Iago’s persistence show that he is still a character of calmness anddignity, and he still has the self-assurance suitable to command armies of men. When Othello is found by Cassio, he seems to be relieved because he does notlike personal conflict, which would have occurred if Brabantio had found himinstead. After he is found, Othello is taken to Brabantio where he isinterrogated on how he possessed Desdemona enough in order to make her run offwith him.
Brabantio damns Othello and calls him an enchanter, saying that the”tender, fair, and happy” Desdemona was too shy of marriage, which iswhy she shunned all of the suitors sent to her. This entire scene helps toestablish Othello as an alert and composed leader. Later in this act, Othellooffers to explain how he won Desdemona. He chooses not to contradict or denythat he has used “magic” but when the true meaning of the”magic” comes to light it is shown that he used the magic of love andnot a conjured magic.
Iago also suspects Othello of having some kind ofrelationship with his own wife, although he doesn’t know or even seem to carewhether or not his suspicions have any foundation at all. Again, according toIago, Othello is an “ass” because he has a “free and opennature. ” This act works as an introduction to the Othello character andshows how other characters react to his presence in different ways. Theremaining acts of the play continue to show how the characters react toOthello’s lifestyle changes.
Even though he must rid Cassio of his lieutenantresponsibilities forever, Othello explains how he still loves him. If it were upto him Othello would have reinstated Cassio at the first opportunity, but thiswould be bad political practice. He wishes to appease Desdemona by doing thisbut he realizes that he can’t. These practices show that he is a good governorand does not wish to arouse hostilities in the city, with an untimely pardon ofCassio.
Desdemona tells Emilia that Othello is not the jealous type, whichOthello believes to be true himself. However, as the play progresses through Act3, Othello talks to Iago telling him that their prior conversation gave himreason to suspect Desdemona’s motives. As a reader, you can see that Othello’scapacity for judgement has deteriorated up to this point, not only is his stateof mind changing due to Iago’s constant prodding, but his morals have alsodeteriorated along with his character. As the play winds to a close, thecharacters continue to show their own opinions on Othello.
Many of thecharacters have changed their initial opinions because of Othello’s obviousattitude change, but Iago is one of the only characters that has kept the samemindscape, besides Desdemona. Othello continues to disrespect Desdemona byacting as if she was a prostitute, Emilia was her owner, and he was a visitingbuyer. This is blatant disrespect for his wife but she does not sway her loveand devotion from him. She does however feel that she is at the lowest point shecould possibly be at and the only way to go is up, because her lover has turnedinto a “beast. ” The last act of the play allows the characters toexpress their last views of Othello, and how he has affected them. The nightwhere he plans on killing Desdemona is an important scene because he is stillknowing enough to ask if she has prayed to allow her to have a clean soul whenshe dies.
After hearing this question, she realizes what he is about to do andpleads with him asking why he is doing it. Desdemona always had faith in herhusband until the bitter end and this gave no help to her life. She died becauseOthello was a pawn in Iago’s game, and she had nothing to do with it. Theconclusion of the play signifies the end of the frustration for many characters. Each of them has a different view of Othello’s character and through theduration of the play, many of these ideas change, however Iago and Desdemona arethe only main characters that do not change. They continue to have the sameoutlook upon Othello’s unchanging character changes.
Each character looks uponOthello in his/her own way and that is how much of the plot unravels as the playmoves on.