Essay about The Morally Good and Bad in Othello

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The Morally Good and Bad in Othello

William Shakespeare’s drama Othello is one concentrated contest between the forces of the morally good and the morally bad. Let us analyze this contest in detail in this essay.

Standing out like a dark silhouette on a white background is the sinister character and master of deception in the drama – the general’s ancient. Morton W. Bloomfield and Robert C. Elliott in Great Plays: Sophocles to Brecht highlight the dominant evil force in the play, Iago:

For critics, the chief problem in the play is the character of Iago. The debate usually centers around whether he had sufficient motives for his cruel actions or whether, on the other hand, he is an example of “motiveless
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Iago’s lying is a type of immoral conduct which the ancient practices from beginning to end of the drama. But is lying his chief motivating evil? Roderigo’s opening lines to Iago in Act 1 Scene 1 take us to the very root of the problem:

Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly

That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse

As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this. (1.1)

In other words, the wealthy playboy has been paying off the ancient for the soldier’s intercession with Desdemona on behalf of Roderigo. This payoff has been in progress before the play begins, and it continues even in Cyprus. Yes, it would seem that money is at the root of Iago’s moral downfall, and of all the tragic misfortune in this drama. In order to assure that Roderigo’s gifts, both in the form of money and jewelry, continue to himself, he initiates an intrigue which begins with the late-night storming of Brabantio’s residence, and ends with the deaths of Roderigo, Desdemona, Othello and Emilia.

The intrigue begins when Iago suggests to the wealthy playboy that he may be able to recover Desdemona by taking immediate strong action with her father against the general:

Call up her father,

Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight,

Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen,

And, though he in a

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