A character who contrasts and parallels the main character in a play or story. Laertes, in , is a foil for the main character; in , Emilia and Bianca are foils for Desdemona.
Here is Cassio's warm-hearted, yet perfectly disengaged, praise of Desdemona, and sympathy with the 'most fortunately' wived Othello;and yet Cassia is an enthusiastic admirer, almost a worshipper, of Desdemona. O that detestable code that excellence cannot be loved in any form that is female, but it must needs be selfish! Observe Othello's 'honest,' and Cassio's 'bold' Iago, and Cassio's full guileless-hearted wishes for the safety and love raptures of Othello and 'the divine Desdemona.' And also note the exquisite circumstance of Cassio's kissing Iago's wife, as if it ought to be impossible that the dullest auditor should not feel Cassio's religious love of Desdemona's purity. Iago's answers are the sneers which a proud bad intellect feels towards women, aid expresses to a wife. Surely it ought to be considered a very exalted compliment to women, that all the sarcasms on them in Shakspeare are put in the mouths of villains
Iagos Last Words – Othello
I have experienced numerous injustices from the hand of Othello. These acts have led to substantial devastation to me life. When I evaluate my existence, questioning my motives and my conscience concerning the hate I feel for Othello, I believe that Moor deserves the tragedy that will befall him in the end. This is so for one cannot be faulted for seeking to destroy the devil plaguing his existence. This means I cannot be wrong for my desires, to perpetrate the downfall of the Barbary horse (Potter 68). The reasons for my actions can be justified by the many injustices, which Moor has orchestrated causing me suffering and grief. When considering these incidences, I have the same feeling of hate for Othello if I met him in another lifetime.
Moor’s motives concerning my affairs have been ill motivated. I cannot shake off the lingering suspicion that his last has reached the very door of my bedroom. My dear wife Emilia, whom I have loved and lived with for so long, has become a target for the philandering moor. Is he not interested in the vast supply of beautiful maidens in the land that he has to share my marriage? It is evident that Othello has no respect for the sacred boundaries, which sanctify marriage. My heart is distraught every time I see the lovely face of Emilia since it is a constant reminder of the cuckolding betrayal (Potter 73). Is a man robbed of his dignity warranted of vengeance?
The reasons, for the hate, I harbor for Moor are not limited to his philandering habits. Moor also robbed me of my merit for a position at the squadron (Shakespeare 83). Am I not experienced in matters of war? Am I not a seasoned soldier who has participated in numerous campaign victories? I understand the pain and devastation of war. I am well versed with strategies to lead a squadron in battle. Despite this, the Moor overlooked all my qualifications and conspired to offer the position to the Florentine Cassio (Bradley 95). I have confessed this disappointment to Rodriguez. Is Moor not content with having an affair with my wife but also wants to ruin me. Are this not grounds for a man to hate another? It is only just i seek my revenge or being denied his rights. I detest the mere sight of Moor for influencing the appointment of Cassio into my coveted position. I hate Moor because he has no honor and dignity to let destiny prevail. Was he not my friend? His betrayals make my blood boil with rage, and my hatred for him grows with every living breath I take. Can I be considered evil when I see what is rightfully mine from the influence of the devil? I have suffered, and I will derive pleasure from the downfall of Moor.
The old black ram is also guilty of conspiring to ruin Desdemona’s life. Is he not old enough to be her father? His courtship with the beautiful Desdemona is detrimental since he will die and leave her a widow early in her life. Why should the moor ruin this beautiful flower despite being unworthy of her love? Should he not live her for the young? However, this will not last because Desdemona will soon discover her error since the old goat will be unable to match her youthful desires (Shakespeare 76). It is impossible for Desdemona to love Moor for a long period and their love is only a momentary endeavor. She must leave old Moor for youthful companionships and pleasures (Bradley 92). I believe the beauty of Desdemona should be bestowed by a worthy individual like me. I have harbored passions for the beautiful Desdemona for a while now. Were it, not for Moor, she would be mine to love. It enrages me that Moor has wooed this beautiful flower into his arms. I may be married, but I harbor an immense love for Desdemona. These feelings spur hatred for Moor since he appears to be the impediment for my happiness.
It appears that moor was destined to be an antagonist in my existence. He is liable for my unhappiness in all aspects of my existence. He has infiltrated not only my home, but has interfered with my feelings and plans my ruin by ensuring I do not prosper. I have to take precautions to ensure that my interests prevail from the onslaught of Othello. It is no secret that my hate for Othello has grown significantly. I should plot my revenge for all the injustices I have suffered from the actions of Moor. I will exploit the trusting nature of Othello to plot his downfall. Othello is trusting and has an open nature to men. This can be poisoned to wreck his existence. If I accomplish this, I will achieve my revenge on Othello, which will be justice for all I have endured due to his existence. Othello is a gullible fool and is unworthy of happiness. I will make him believe that he is being cuckolded, in order to make him experience the pain he has caused me, with his affair with my wife. I will spur the jealousy, which will spell tragedy for his relationship with Desdemona. I have to vindicate myself from the evil has plagued my life by eliminating Othello.
The soliloquy attempts to portray the reasons which Iago hated Othello. The soliloquy explores the motivations of Iago to plot the downfall of Othello. This soliloquy is similar to the original works since it highlights the reasons, which cultivated the hatred for Othello in the play. It is evident that the hate of Iago was due to jealousy and envy for the success of Othello in romance and his military career. The soliloquy highlights these reasons with the passion Iago portrayed in the original works. The soliloquy shows the conceiving of the plot to destroy Othello by exploiting his trusting nature. The soliloquy is also similar to the Shakespearian style since it portrays the characters thoughts to the audience. The speech gives the audience a view of the intentions of the character explaining the events, which are observed in the play. For instance, the soliloquies explain why Iago plots evil for Othello despite the audience witnessing no overt reasons for the acts (Hirsh 49). The language is also in first person depicting a monologue a characteristic, which is similar with the Shakespearean style. The rationale for the choice of Iago’s soliloquy is that the evil acts of the character in the play Othello are not clear for the audience until they explore the soliloquy. Therefore, this piece is instrumental in portraying the motivations of the character to participate in evil hence demystifying his motives in the play.
Finally, let me repeat that Othello does not kill Desdemona in jealousy, but in a conviction forced upon him by the almost superhuman art of Iago, such a conviction as any man would and must have entertained who had believed Iago's honesty as Othello did. We, the audience, know that Iago is a villain from the beginning; but in considering the essence of the Shakspearian Othello, we must perseveringly place ourselves in his situation, and under his circumstances. Then we shall immediately feel the fundamental difference between the solemn agony of the noble Moor, and the wretched fishing jealousies of Leontes, and the morbid suspiciousness of Leonatus, who is, in other respects, a fine character. Othello had no life but in Desdemona:the belief that she, his angel, had fallen from the heaven of her native innocence, wrought a civil war in his heart. She is his counterpart; and, like him, is almost sanctified in our eyes by her absolute unsuspiciousness, and holy entireness of love. As the curtain drops, which do we pity the most?
Warburton's note. What any other man, who had learning enough, might have quoted as a playful and witty illustration of his remarks against the Calvinistic thesis, Warburton gravely attributes to Shakspeare as intentional; and this, too, in the mouth of a lady's woman!
Roderigo turns off to Othello; and here comes one, if not the only, seeming justification of our blackamoor or negro Othello. Even if we supposed this an uninterrupted tradition of the theatre, and that Shakspeare himself, from want of scenes, and the experience that nothing could be made too marked for the senses of his audience, had practically sanctioned it,would this prove aught concerning his own intention as a poet for all ages? Can we imagine him so utterly ignorant as to make a barbarous negro plead royal birth,at a time, too, when negroes were not known except as slaves?As for Iago's language to Brabantio, it implies merely that Othello was a Moor, that is, black. Though I think the rivalry of Roderigo sufficient to account for his wilful confusion of Moor and Negro,yet, even if compelled to give this up, I should think it only adapted for the acting of the day, and should complain of an enormity built on a single word, in direct contradiction to Iago's 'Barbary horse.' Besides, if we could in good earnest believe Shakspeare ignorant of the distinction, still why should we adopt one disagreeable possibility instead of a ten times greater and more pleasing probability? It is a common error to mistake the epithets applied by the dramatis personae to each other, as truly descriptive of what the audience ought to see or know. No doubt Desdemona saw Othello's visage in his mind; yet, as we are constituted, and most surely as an English audience was disposed in the beginning of the seventeenth century, it would be something monstrous to conceive this beautiful Venetian girl falling in love with a veritable negro.
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An imaginary person that inhabits a literary work. Literary characters may be major or minor, static (unchanging) or dynamic (capable of change). In Shakespeare's , Desdemona is a major character, but one who is static, like the minor character Bianca. Othello is a major character who is dynamic, exhibiting an ability to change.
His smoldering rage now beginning to bubble over, Othello tells Iago to kill Cassio and then angrily confronts Desdemona. In spite of Desdemona's protests of innocence (backed up by Iago's wife, Emilia), Othello is now convinced of her infidelity with Cassio. Iago, meanwhile, has Roderigo attempt to murder Cassio; when Roderigo fails to do more than wound the soldier, Iago slays him so that Roderigo can't implicate him in the affair. Othello strangles Desdemona in her bed. When Emilia discovers the crime, she decries the Moor as a villain and at first refuses to believe that Iago has so evilly manipulated Othello. However, Iago's appearance and subsequent answers lead Emilia to confront the fact that her husband is responsible for this tragedy. When Iago cannot keep Emilia from telling the truth about the handkerchief, he stabs her and attempts to escape; not only is he captured, but letters found on Roderigo's body thoroughly implicate Iago as the treacherous villain that he is. Faced with the shame of having murdered an innocent Desdemona, Othello stabs himself in front of Cassio and dies on Desdemona's bed, beside her.
This accomplished, Iago goes straightaway to Othello so that he can lead him to where Desdemona and Cassio are talking. As Iago and Othello view the scene, Iago plants seeds of doubt and jealousy in Othello's mind concerning Desdemona's fidelity. The scenario Iago suggests is that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. Later, fortune literally drops Desdemona's handkerchief into Iago's hand; he gets the handkerchief from Emilia, who discovered it, plants the handkerchief in Cassio's room, and then tells Othello that he saw Cassio with it. When Othello asks Desdemona about the handkerchief, she tells him that it was lost (which is the truth as she knows it). Cassio, meanwhile, has given the handkerchief to a courtesan with whom he is intimate. Iago manipulates a conversation with Cassio about his courtesan to make it appear to Othellowho is eavesdropping at the behest of Iagothat Cassio is talking about Desdemona.