Discuss how the character of Othello was important in drawing your interest as a reader.

Essay by k6y87A, April 2004

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In the play Othello by William Shakespeare, I found the character of Othello highly captivating as I saw how easily a man can change to become jealous and bitter. At the beginning of the play he is a General and an honoured and trustworthy man. But as the play progresses we see his one fatal flaw when he allows his ensign's diabolical nature to corrupt him and make him believe that his wife is unfaithful. Shakespeare dramatises through the character of Othello, the tragedy of a man whose insecurities about himself weakens his defenses and allow all his worst instincts to take over.

As with most of Shakespeare's tragic heroes, Othello is magnified and ennobled; at the beginning of the play, the Duke of Venice announces, "Valiant Othello, we must straight away employ you". This is one of the first of a series of comments made by various characters attesting to Othello's courage and ability as a warrior.

Othello initially exhibits great dignity and self-control. He is a very proud character and knows, modestly but surely, his worth, "My parts, my title and my perfect soul shall manifest me rightly". He remains calm in the face of his new father-in-law's swordsmen and is even gracious to Brabantio, "Good signor, you shall more command with years than your weapons".

Shakespeare goes to great lengths to establish the fact that Othello is black - Iago mentions it several times in the first scene - and an outsider, he is a Moor among Venetians, a Negro among white men, a professional soldier among courtiers and merchants. His pride is a natural compensation for this, but Iago is able to play on it when he suggests Brabantio was right is saying that no white girls in her senses would marry...