Othello Characters

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Two primary interpretations of Othello's character have emerged among students and critics of the play: that he is virtuous, strong, and trustful; and that he is guilty of self-idealization and overweening; pride. Both views find support in the change in Othello's behavior. Although he is initially presented as a strong, confident character using typical heroic vocabulary, as he succumbs to jealousy and rage he becomes more like Iago and employs the villain's animal and diabolic imagery. According to critics who regard Othello as essentially noble, this change shows the innocent hero falling victim to Iago's schemes and being corrupted by his evil. Others, however, argue that Iago's actions merely cause Othello's noble facade to crumble, releasing his inherent savagery. The first interpretation places most, if not all, the responsibility for Othello's fall on Iago; the second puts much of the burden on the Moor himself.

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This section contains 459 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Othello Study Guide
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Othello from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.