Essay, Research Paper: Othello And Revenge

Shakespeare: Othello

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Revenge is a constant theme throughout the play Othello. It is portrayed through
the character Iago. Iago is determined to destroy Othello and his loved ones.
This retribution is a result of Othello promoting Cassio to the position of
lieutenant. The theme of revenge is the motivation of Iago’s hatred toward
Othello. In the beginning of the play, Iago feels betrayed by his good friend,
Othello. Through many years of loyalty and service Iago is “[i]n personal suit
to make [himself] [Othello’s] lieutenant”(39). When Othello has to choose
his lieutenant, he appoints Cassio. Iago feels hurt and betrayed, and realizes
“there [is] no remedy”(40) except for revenge. He “. . . hate[s] the Moor
. . . ”(63) and comes to the conclusion that “ . . . nothing can or shall
content [his] soul [t]ill [he is] evened with [Othello] . . . ”(76). In an
attempt for revenge, Iago publically humiliates Brabantio at Othello’s
expense. In the middle of the night, Iago calls outside Brabantio’s house to
inform him that his daughter, Desdemona has run away and eloped with Othello.
Coming from two different backgrounds, Desdemona’s father takes offense to
their interracial marriage. This demeans Othello and causes him to prove to
Brabantio that he did not use any witchcraft or black magic to win Desdemona’s
heart. When Desdemona professes her true love for Othello, her father disowns
her. Iago’s first attempt to destroy Othello is successful, yet he still
craves revenge. He devises a plan to destroy Othello. He wants to make Othello
believe that Cassio is having an affair with his wife Desdemona. This will cause
Othello to regret appointing Cassio as his lieutenant and simultaneously destroy
Othello’s life. He knows that he “must bring this monstrous birth to the
world’s light”(64) if he wants to avenge Othello’s betrayal. Iago is
successful in convincing Othello that his wife is unfaithful. Outraged, Othello
murders Desdemona. Immediately after, Emilia, Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s
“mistress”(156), explains to Othello that her husband has been lying to him
and Desdemona had been faithful. Iago then murders Emilia. Iago succeeds in
destroying Othello’s life as well as his own. In summation, Iago consumes his
life with hatred and vengeance. Revenge is one of the main themes in this play.
It drives Iago to do many irrational things and destroys Iago’s friendship
with Othello, the love Desdemona and Othello shared, and the trust between
Cassio and Othello. The need for revenge is part of human nature, but if it is
blown out of proportion, it can have devastating effects.
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