A Foolish Man s Love
(Othello s downfall)
There are many reasons for Othello s downfall in the play Othello. There isn t one single factor that can be noted as the entire reason for Othello s downfall. It took an unusual set of circumstances, and a varied cast of characters to weave the intricate webs that created Othello s eventual downfall. Some of the foremost reasons for the Moor s demise were stress, insecurity, love, and trust.
The Moor, being the governor of Cyprus, encountered an enormous amount of stress on a day-to-day basis. Being in a position of leadership would bring a great deal of stress on anyone, and there was even more on Othello due to his falling out with his Lieutenant, Cassio. According to the website www.aomc.org If a stressful situation goes on for too long you may feel irritable, depressed Obviously, Othello was a very stressed out person.
Othello, a black man, was reminded daily of the struggles that a minority must face in a white man s world. Although Othello was a respected war veteran he was not quite considered a full class citizen. Shakespeare played the race card extremely early in the play. In the first scene Iago says, you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse; you’ll have your nephews neigh to you; you’ll have coursers for cousins and gennets for germans. Othello worries unduly that Desdemona will commit adultery solely because he is black. The race issue also fuels the Moor s jealousy of Cassio. He feels that Cassio is more attractive than him simply because he is white, which, to him, makes it acceptable for his wife to have an affair with such a handsome, white man. One of the underlying themes of the play is Othello s inability to grasp the concept that Desdemona s love for him is pure.
Love made a serious contribution to Othello s downfall. The Moor loved Desdemona with all of his heart; he would have given his life for her and not given it a second thought. The only part of love that Othello was missing was trust. He was so sure that his beautiful, faithful wife was untrue to him that he would not even listen to the one person in the world that meant the most to him, Desdemona. In the final act, right before Othello murders his beloved he says, I will kill thee, And love thee after. So, even though he kills her still loves her; he just thinks that he is doing the right thing.
The reason he thinks he is doing the right thing is because he trusts Iago to much, at one point he says, my ancient; A man he is of honest and trust . This demonstrates Othello s misplaced trust in Iago. One of Othello s few character flaws is that he is not a good judge of other s character. He perceives Iago as a good and honest man, while he sees the lovely Desdemona as a lying whore. Both of these however, couldn t be further from the truth. Iago, whom Othello places all of his trust in, is not out for anything more than revenge and personal gain. It is because of Iago s carefully planned out schemes that Othello does not believe his honest wife, Desdemona. Othello finds out, all too late, that he has murdered his true love in vain, and this is when he truly displays his love for Desdemona, because he kills himself after he realizes what he has done. He knows he cannot live with himself after destroying the only thing that he ever really loved.
No one thing leads to the demise of Othello. A man in love is a vulnerable man, and Iago used that to his advantage. Since he is such good friends with the Moor, he knows all of his weaknesses and uses this knowledge expertly to gain his revenge on the Moor. So, if it had to be narrowed to one thing that destroyed Othello it would have to be Iago, but if not for the circumstances discussed in this paper he would not have been able to do anything that he was able to accomplish.