Conflict in Othello Essay

618 WordsSep 28, 20083 Pages
Without struggle there can be no progress. Conflict often acts as a catalyst to spark political or social change. However this catalyst is not always a positive force. People with bad intentions often create conflicts in order to take revenge on others. These people will stop at nothing to take down their enemy, and no one is safe. This type of conflict is overly present in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello. In Othello, the antagonist Iago has a strong hatred for Othello. Iago plots to take down Othello, thereby creating the central conflict within the storyline. The conflict between Iago and Othello acts as a catalyst for destruction and only exists because Iago has been scorned when he is passed over for a position in the military and Iago is a racist. As a general in the Venetian military, Othello has proven his worth as a successful leader both on and off the battle field. As a general, Othello has the ability to name his own commanding officers. His first choice for promotion is his good friend Michael Cassio. Othello promotes Cassio to the rank of lieutenant over Iago. This decision infuriates Iago and gets him thinking about revenge. Iago challenges Cassio’s ability by pointing out that he has “never set a squadron in the field, or the division of battle knows more than a spinster; unless the bookish theorist, wherein the togged consuls can purpose as masterly as he. Mere prattle without practice is all his soldiership.” (29). Iago feels that while Cassio may be very educated in military affairs he is not the best person for the job because he lacks experience. Despite Iago’s previous experience and skill, he has been passed over for the position of lieutenant in Othello’s army. This low rank in the military is a major insult to Iago, and is also a large factor in his desire to exact revenge. As presented by William Shakespeare, Iago is

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