Othello Essay

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Short Paper #3 Othello Othello’s Identity Crisis: “Am I an Insider or an Outsider?” Shakespeare’s great tragedy, Othello, is most notably regarded as a tale of love gone wrong. Themes of love in the play include the love between a man and a woman as well as the love between supposed “brothers” – that of Iago and Othello, besides others. The ways in which love can manifest itself into positive or negative characteristics is a central theme to this play. Love runs from attraction to lust, to passion, to jealousy, to envy and finally to death. We are left to decipher if Othello’s murdering Desdemona is excusable, since Othello himself was duped by Iago into falling for his great web of lies and deceit. I contend that Othello didn’t even know if his murderous actions were excusable and his final speech was a tool that Othello used to confuse the audience further. Othello wants to be given both “Insider” and “Outsider” status before us – he wants to rewrite his own history and especially his final barbarous (pardon) act and claim innocence both because he is a Venetian Christian Insider and a Moorish Barbarian Outsider. Othello wants to be remembered for all of his finer Insider qualities – his triumphant military performance, his patriotism to Venice, his fervent love for Desdemona, all while encouraging us to excuse his less desirable Outsider qualities – that he was the “base Indian”(V,ii,356) who didn’t know any better and should be pardoned for his ignorance. While examining Othello’s last speech in Act V, Scene 2, it is extremely clear to me that Othello has already decided that he is going to kill himself. Othello’s only concern appears to be how his audience will interpret his suicidal act and not feel any scorn or bitterness toward Othello for it. Othello must rewrite his history and make us remember him as valiant and good and for those of us who are

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