As such, it is very important that he should recognize, at the end of the play, his own part in the actions which led to his own destruction.
There is practically no doubt that Othello was the tragedy written next after Hamlet. Such external evidence as we possess points to this conclusion, and it is confirmed by similarities of style, diction and versification, and also by the fact that ideas and phrases of the earlier play are echoed in the later.
The heroes of the two plays are doubtless extremely unlike, so unlike that each could have dealt without much difficulty with the situation which proved fatal to the other; but still each is a man exceptionally noble and trustful, and each endures the shock of a terrible disillusionment.
This theme is treated by Shakespeare for the first time in Hamlet, for the second in Hamlet. It recurs with modifications in King Lear, and it probably formed the attraction which drew Shakespeare to refashion in part another writer's tragedy of Timon.
These four dramas may so far be grouped together in distinction from the remaining tragedies. But in point of substance, and, in certain respects, in point of style, the unlikeness of Othello to Hamlet is much greater than the likeness, and the later play belongs decidedly to one group with its successors.
We have seen that, like them, it is a tragedy of passion, a description inapplicable to Julius Caesar or Hamlet.
And with this change goes another, an enlargement in the stature of the hero. There is in most of the later heroes something colossal, something which reminds us of Michael Angelo's figures.
They are not merely exceptional men, they are huge men; as it were, survivors of the heroic age living in a later and smaller world. We do not receive this impression from Romeo or Brutus or Hamlet, nor did it lie in Shakespeare's design to allow more than touches of this trait to Julius Caesar himself; but it is strongly marked in Lear and Coriolanus, and quite distinct in Macbeth and even in Antony.
Othello is the first of these men, a being essentially large and grand, towering above his fellows, holding a volume of force which in repose ensures preeminence without an effort, and in commotion reminds us rather of the fury of the elements than of the tumult of common human passion.
What is the distinctive impression that it leaves? Of all Shakespeare's tragedies, I would answer, not even excepting King Lear, Othello is the most painfully exciting and the most terrible.
From the moment when the temptation of the hero begins, the reader's heart and mind are held in a vice, experiencing the extremes of pity and fear, sympathy and repulsion, sickening hope and dreadful expectation. Evil is displayed before him, not indeed with the profusion found in King Lear, but forming, as it were, the soul of a single character, and united with an intellectual superiority so great that he watches its advance fascinated and appalled.
He sees it, in itself almost irresistible, aided at every step by fortunate accidents and the innocent mistakes of its victims. He seems to breathe an atmosphere as fateful as that of King Lear, but more confined and oppressive, the darkness not of night but of a close-shut murderous room.
Othello also seems pretty preoccupied with the way people will think of him after his death. On the one hand, he wants to be remembered as a soldier who "has done the state some service" and who has killed a lot of Venice's enemies. By the end of the play, when Othello smothers his wife—"Put "That death's unnatural that kills for loving," Desdemona says to her husband in Act V, Scene 2 of this play. Examination Questions on Othello Question: How does Othello's suicide affect us as a matter of morals, and as to the dramatic necessities of the play? and Othello's death is the reparation which Fate requires at his hand for the innocent death of Desdemona.
His imagination is excited to intense activity, but it is the activity of concentration rather than dilation. I will not dwell now on aspects of the play which modify this impression, and I reserve for later discussion one of its principal sources, the character of Iago.
But if we glance at some of its other sources, we shall find at the same time certain distinguishing characteristics of Othello. Othello is not only the most masterly of the tragedies in point of construction, but its method of construction is unusual. And this method, by which the conflict begins late, and advances without appreciable pause and with accelerating speed to the catastrophe, is a main cause of the painful tension just described.
To this may be added that, after the conflict has begun, there is very little relief by way of the ridiculous. Henceforward at any rate Iago's humour never raises a smile. The clown is a poor one; we hardly attend to him and quickly forget him; I believe most readers of Shakespeare, if asked whether there is a clown in Othello, would answer No.
Such a passion as ambition, however terrible its results, is not itself ignoble; if we separate it in thought from the conditions which make it guilty, it does not appear despicable; it is not a kind of suffering, its nature is active; and therefore we can watch its course without shrinking.
But jealousy, and especially sexual jealousy, brings with it a sense of shame and humiliation. For this reason it is generally hidden; if we perceive it we ourselves are ashamed and turn our eyes away; and when it is not hidden it commonly stirs contempt as well as pity.
Nor is this all. Such jealousy as Othello's converts human nature into chaos, and liberates the beast in man; and it does this in relation to one of the most intense and also the most ideal of human feelings.
What spectacle can be more painful than that of this feeling turned into a tortured mixture of longing and loathing, the 'golden purity' of passion split by poison into fragments, the animal in man forcing itself into his consciousness in naked grossness, and he writhing before it but powerless to deny it entrance, gasping inarticulate images of pollution, and finding relief only in a bestial thirst for blood?
This is what we have to witness in one who was indeed 'great of heart' and no less pure and tender than he was great.The Deaths in Othello and Their Meaning Emilia Shows the collateral damage of Iago's evil, conniving plans.
Iago stabs his wife, Emilia, in Act 2, Scene 5, after she reveals that it was Iago that had Desdemona's handkercheif. A summary of Themes in William Shakespeare's Othello. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Othello and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.
Oct 18, · Othello, like any other Shakespeare tragedy, ends with a multitude of benjaminpohle.com person who manages to avoid this fate is Iago; his villainy is revealed and he is physically assaulted by Othello, but he is still alive at the end of the play.
Significance Of Othellos Death At The End Of The Play The theme of death is present in many works of literature. It is given metaphors and cloaked with different meanings, yet it always represents an end. Othello is a tragic hero. As such, it is very important that he should recognize, at the end of the play, his own part in the actions which led to his own destruction.
By the end of the play, when Othello smothers his wife—"Put "That death's unnatural that kills for loving," Desdemona says to her husband in Act V, Scene 2 of this play.