Othello Reading Response

After reading the play Othello I can say that this is the first play that I have experienced having a drastic change of opinion through the process of reading it. At the start of the play I was intrigued, and I found that there was some pleasant humor in it. However, as I began to see the true nature of Othello and Iago my opinion began to falter. Firstly, Iago’s character was unbearable to watch as he was so manipulative and two faced. I had the hardest time understanding as to why he would have such ill will towards Othello. At first, Othello appeared to be a very valiant leader, who respected Iago very much. However, as Iago’s scheme played out, I too began to turn against Othello. Iago originally was trying to “help” Roderigo in winning over Desdemona by essentially getting rid of his competition which was Othello. In doing so, Iago crafted the idea to trick Othello into believing that Desdemona and one of his men, Cassio, were having an affair. I was absolutely stunned in how well Iago was able to convince Othello that Desdemona was unfaithful. I could not believe that he would so quickly believe Iago up to the point that he was determined to kill his own wife on the word of another man. Essentially the way that Iago was able to do this was based on his love for his lord, Othello. Throughout the entire play the men spoke of their love for each other which in turn means their respect for one another. However, the fact that Othello would believe these serious allegations merely on the “love” of his ensign is ridiculous because what about Desdemona’s love for her lord? Why is it that he did not even think for a second about her love and loyalty for him? Even while Othello was treating her like garbage even to the point that he struck her she was still obedient and trying to appease him out of her love for him. There was even an exchange between Emilia where she asked if Othello was jealous and Desdemona replied by saying: “Who he? I think the sun where he was born drew all such humours from him.” (III.iv.30-310) It is so saddening to see a woman believe she strongly and love her husband so dearly all while knowing that he was plotting on killing her based on nothing but hearsay. Othello is a weak and pathetic man that he could honestly be driven to such brutal measures based on a liar’s scheme. The theme of this play is extremely problematic and disturbing. We see all too often men who are driven by their jealousy and weakness that end up taking the lives of their wives and or girlfriends in the news. Even just recently tragedy struck a woman when her husband came to her work place and committed a murder-suicide. These men are driven with the toxic idea that if they cannot have her no one can or that they must punish her for “betraying” them. I will say that Desdemona and Emilia were wonderful female characters to experience throughout this play and it is absolutely frustrating that their lives where ended the way that they were. Neither one of them deserved the fate that they were brought. In addition, Emilia’s bravery at the end of the play was such a redeeming quality for me. She risked her life to let the truth be known that her mistress was murdered all because of her husbands betrayal, and that Othello was also completely wrong about his allegations. All in all, this play may be a work of fiction but this tragic story is one that is all too real, and has been experienced by countless women throughout history, and unfortunately, will be experienced by countless women in the future to come.

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