Manipulation Leads to Self Destruction in Othello

Essay by roarkheroUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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In Shakespeare's Othello, isolation is shown in all aspects of the play. The majority of the play takes place on the island of Cyprus. Protected by military fortifications as well as by the forces of nature, external forces seem to present little threat to the island. Although the island does seem to protect them from the outside, it also leaves the characters with nothing to do but prey upon one another. This theme certainly carries over to the play's tragic hero. One would think that being the most powerful general in the land and having the most beautiful woman in the land Othello would not have such a hard time staying on top. The problem is that there is only room for one at the top of the mountain. The largest catalyst of Othello's isolation, Iago, the play's most paradoxical character, drives Othello to question everything he knows.

Iago's weapon is his ability to drive the other characters into a personal conflict, which leads the characters to have both an outer and inner life. Even though Iago and Othello's duality is more clearly shown, most of the characters in the play display a personal inner conflict. Being a tragic hero, Othello falls victim to the loneliness and isolation that Iago drives him to. Almost all of the play's major character's become torn between themselves, and even Iago falls prey to his own obsession with revenge. The isolation also serves as a foreshadowing of the characters impending doom.

Iago's outer and inner self is what brings the other characters to isolation and duality. It has been said that Iago is the most honest character in the play. This may most certainly be true. His outward persona certainly suggests a contradiction that the audience is aware...