Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Othello the Moor

Othello the Moor by William Shakespeare

March 22, 2006

Othello was a Moor who lived in Venice, Italy where he was an officer in the navy. He was well respected as an officer. He fell in love with his friend’s daughter Desdemona and she fell in love with him as well even though he was twice her age. They wanted to be together and they thought her father and the others would not approve so they eloped. Her father was upset more with the fact that they had eloped, not the fact that they were in love. He admired Othello and as long as Othello treated his daughter well and she was truly happy, that is all that mattered to him.

Othello was to give a promotion within the ranks. He chose a fellow named Cassio for his bravery and loyalty in previous battles. Iago was envious that he had not been chosen. Iago decided to seek revenge on Othello and Cassio. He was also prejudice against Othello for his Turkish background. He devised a plan that included a friend Roderigo. Iago befriended Othello and made him think he was a trustworthy friend. But indeed he put counterfeit thoughts in Othello’s head of Desdemona being unfaithful with Cassio. Othello was unsure at first, but Iago had his wife Emelia, who was Desdemona’s maid, secure a handkerchief of Desdemona’s. He then had her give it to Cassio under pretense that it was another woman whom Cassio admired. Othello saw Cassio with that hanky, he was astonished and outraged and burned with jealousy. As he tried to understand and comprehend the actions of his wife he literally went mad! He believed every lie Iago told.

Iago offered to have Cassio killed. Othello eagerly agreed. He did however want to protect his reputation so he allowed someone else to do the deed. Iago not wanting to get his hands dirty coerced Roderigo into commiting the murder. Roderigo was set up to accost Cassio in the city. He jumped out to stab him but Cassio stabbed him first, then Iago came forth and finished the deed by stabbing Roderigo himself. Roderigo was aware of the betrayal and cursed Iago then died. Iago then stabbed Cassio, but Cassio did not die.

Meanwhile at the castle, Othello went to his bedroom and in a rant tried to choke Desdemona to her death. Desdemona was innocent but she could not get Othello to listen. But she had not yet died when her handmaid Emelia came to her room and saw the events taking place and was extremely grieved and distressed. She cried out for help for her mistress. The others came running including Iago to see what was the matter.

When Othello told them why he had choked her, Emelia told of how she had taken the handkerchief because her husband had told her to and Othello began to realize his grave mistake. Iago tried to shut his wife up but her story had to be told. He threatened to hit her, but she still went on. He was outraged and he stabbed her and ran. Officers ran after him and caught him. Emelia lay down beside her mistress and died.
The officers captured Othello and prepared to take him to jail when he grabbed one of their swords and stabbed himself. He lay down and died beside Desdemona.

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