Comparison and Contrast Between Othello and Hamlet Essay

3662 Words Oct 27th, 2010 15 Pages
Shakespeare’s Othello and Hamlet
Comparison and Contrast
By Ankur Chauhan

Comparisons between plays can always be made; the question is, how useful are they? The core comparison that springs to mind between these two plays, Othello and Hamlet, is that these are both tragedies driven by character. That is to say, they all follow classically great men from great heights to terrible ends and deaths. Each man is in a situation where he is especially vulnerable. If these men swapped places, they might not have fallen so easily. As they fall, others fall with them, including those they love. When the great fail, entire sections of society fail.

William Shakespeare, in the play Hamlet, goes deep into the psychological afflictions of a man
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The celebrated Moorish general, Othello, treasures the Venetian lady Desdemona with a love that they feel will transcend cultural and social differences but instead, it leaves them as mere pawns in Iago’s plot.

The play ‘Othello’ starts with Iago being passed over for promotion; he plots to get even with his superior, the Moor Othello, and the more favored lieutenant Cassio. He does this by sowing the seeds of jealousy in Othello, convincing him that his wife, Desdemona, had been cuckolding him with Cassio. It is not the exactly the same story as the one of Hamlet, but it again deals with the psyche of man. Hamlet’s mind drives him to the point where he is unable to act. Yet both, Othello and Hamlet are driven to insanity, Othello by his jealousy and Hamlet by his inability to act.

Othello, a Moor, is embraced by the system that would have otherwise enslaved him, if not for his strategic and military prowess. He is celebrated and marries a white wife; the daughter of a secure member of the Venetian establishment, which Othello now belongs to. He does not develop on his past but looks forward and hopes to be accepted based on his merits. However, he remains isolated, insecure and suspicious, partly because he has no real power base. He is a creation of the ‘White’ people and deep down he has an inferiority complex, despite his pride. He, himself, cannot believe that his wife, the epitome of virtue and purity, could have settled for him, a Moor. These very

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