Othello Literary Analysis
Title and Author:
The Tragedy of Othello the Moor of Venice was written by William Shakespeare.
The play is set in Venice, Italy in the sixteenth century, and then moves to Cyprus in Act II.
The Tragedy of Othello the Moor of Venice is a play, and therefore has no narrative point of view. The effect of this is that the story is only learned through the thoughts and actions of the characters. This allows the audience to learn about the characters and understand their thoughts through the use of soliloquies and asides.
Protagonist and Antagonist:
The protagonist of Othello is Othello himself, a highly respected moor who lives in Venice and is a general in the army. In the beginning of the play he is confident and courageous despite his insecurities of being a moor living among white people. However, as the play progresses, he begins to exhibit the same personality as Iago and by the end of the play, he becomes evil. It is easy for Iago to manipulate Othello because Othello trusts him so much. He allows his trust for Iago to overpower his love for Desdemona in the end.
The antagonist of Othello is Iago. Deceptive and vengeful, he is the quintessence of evil. As Othello’s ancient, Iago has a strong pull over Othello which he utilizes in order to seek revenge on him. He begins with a reason for ruining the lives of everyone possible; however, as the play progresses, ruining lives becomes sport for him and he loses sight of his prior reasoning for ruining the lives of Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Roderigo, Emilia and Bianca.
Conflict and Resolution:
Person vs. Person: Othello vs. Iago: As Othello’s right hand man, Iago is able to manipulate Othello and turn him evil. This is easy for him because Othello believes he is an honest man and puts all his trust in him. In the end of the play Iago’s lies are revealed and he is taken away and tortured.
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