Othello’s Change Critical Thinking
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Othello’s language changes and shifts as a means to show the decline and increasing frenzied mental state of the character. The transition of his mental state is displayed in the change off dialogue spoken by Othello.
In the beginning acts of the play, Othello hold a respectful position in the eyes of the people. He is admired by many for his impactful speeches that show his intelligent and stoic nature as an army general. His adoration of his wife Desdemona is evident in the manner he speaks to and of her. The following lines will show Othello’s charismatic character in the beginning of the play. In a dialogue with Iago in Act One, Scene Two, Othello states, “My service which I have done the signiory. Shall out-tongue his complaints. ‘Tis yet to know Which, when I know that boasting is an honor, I shall promulgate-I fetch my life and being From men of royal siege; and my demerits May speak unbonneted to as a profound, As this that I have reached. For know, Iago, That I love the gentle Desdemona, I would not my unhoused free condition” (Shakespeare).The lines that he speaks show his composure as he discusses his situation with Iago.
As the play continues, a little past Act Three Scene Three, the audience begins to sense the irritation and paranoia growing in Othello. A conversation between Othello and Desdemona regarding Cassio gets somewhat strained. “I will deny thee nothing! Whereon I do beseech thee grant me this, To leave me but a little to myself” (Shakespeare). Earlier on Othello was not one to become so agitated from his interaction with Desdemona, but at this point he has started to suspect something strange between Cassio and his wife when Iago begins to plant seeds of doubt making Othello unsure of what to think. The play continues with Iago’s deceitful manipulation of Othello, which is working just as Iago had hoped. A prime example of Othello’s loss of control occurs in the following line, “I had been happy if the general camp, Pioneers and all, had tasted her sweet body, So I had nothing known. O, now forever Farewell the tranquil mind! Farewell content!” (Shakespeare). By now Othello has lost his composure because of the deep heartbreak he feels by Desdemona’s betrayal with Cassio, so he thinks.
Iago continues this cunning plan to make Othello unstable in his position to gain power over Othello. When Desdemona loses a handkerchief that was given to her by Othello, a special handkerchief that was his mother’s, it is Iago that once again insinuates that she most likely left it or gave it to Cassio. Othello’s fear of his wife Desdemona’s affair with Cassio has him deeply hurt and enraged as he says to Iago, “Lie with her? Lie with her?It is not words that shake me thus.- Phish! Noses, ears, and lips? Is’t possible? - Confess?-Handkerchief?-O devil!” (Shakespeare).
Othello eventually loses all sense of reality becoming so traumatized by the ideas placed in his mind by Iago about Cassio and Desdemona that he wishes to have her dead. After suffocating her, one of the final lines shows how he has gone mad as the story has progressed. “What noise is that? Not dead? not yet quite dead? I that am cruel yet merciful; I would not have thee in thy pain” (Shakespeare).
The calm and respectable general Othello was lead to complete madness by the thought of his love Desdemona betraying him with another man. All along it was the vicious Iago who had manipulated Othello placing all the individuals in harm’s way for his selfish agenda.
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