Sunday, April 18, 2010

Othello, insecure fellow

I'm trying to catch up on my Shakespeare, and I just finished reading 'Othello'. I'm not sure what I want to focus on first, but I think Othello's insecurities are a good place to start. The fact that he fell as hard as he did for Iago's clever lies and lures is a sign that maybe he had doubts himself in Desdemona's faithfulness, and just needed a little push for the trap to close on him. Of course, the handkerchief went a long way to confirming his doubts. The days of the lady keeping some token of her lord's love are far in the past, and I don't know if there's a modern equivalent for this token, but if Othello needed some 'proof' of Desdemona being unfaithful, Iago sure gave it to him. Granted, Iago gets his in the end, but what a violent end in the name of vengeance for a wounded ego!
But back to Othello's insecurities. The man was a great soldier and a leader of men, but he wasn't a great judge of character (believing Iago over his own wife). On the other hand, there's a chance he didn't believe his relationship with Desdemona was very strong or viable. Back in Othello's day (not to mention the 1950's), interracial relationships were very controversial, and anyone who loved for the sake of love, with no matter who it was, had a uphill climb in the face of a cruel and ignorant society. I am just assuming here that Desdemona was white (if I'm wrong, so be it), which would make her and Othello's relationship very rough going. Shakespeare's play is riddled with racial slander when Iago speaks of Othello to others (especially to Desdemona's father), which leads me to believe that it was an interracial relationship.
Meanwhile, Iago's cunning plan worked like a charm, up until the end, when he was punished for putting the murder in Othello's heart, which resulted in Desdemona's death and Othello's suicide. So, that's what I've been reading for the past couple of days. Now I've got 'Antony and Cleopatra' warming up. More thoughts on the horizon? Of course. Now I'll close and think about my own rampant insecurities. BYE.

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