The Matter Of Othello And Iago Essay

2133 Words Aug 18th, 2016 9 Pages
In the matter of Othello and Iago, it cannot fairly be maintained that Iago was the sole cause of the calamities that befell Othello. In general it must be said that there is no Shakespearean tragedy in which the responsibility for the deed of the hero and the subsequent tragedy can be shifted from him to another person of the play. Shakespeare no doubt did not have the conception of the influence of social forces that some modern dramatists display, for that is a conception belonging to the nineteenth century. Professor Stoll may be correct when he says that "In no case does Shakespeare represent men as overwhelmed by anything so vague and neutral as social forces," but he is surely incorrect when he adds, "or as devoured by their own passions alone."1

It is this very conception of the consuming and destructive power of passion that marks the superiority of Shakespeare 's conceptions over that of his contemporaries. This "fatalism of overmastering passion," as it has been called by Professor Corson,2 is the distinguishing feature of Shakespeare 's conception of man 's relation to the world, and marks the culmination of the Elizabethan drama, and its superiority to the classical drama where men are overcome by external fate. In the case of Othello, as ,of all the other tragedies, it is the passion of the hero that is the mainspring of all the action of the play that finally and certainly destroys the hero. There are two or three types of such passion in Shakespeare,…

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