The tragedy of Othello was not caused by insignificant trifles

The tragedy of Othello was not caused by insignificant trifles

The tragedy of Othello was not caused by insignificant trifles, but by a combination of a factors which centred around the antagonist, Iago. Othello had made wrong decisions. He had trusted him, he had very little confidence in his wife as he was insecure of their racial differences and he grew to become a very jealous and angry man throughout the course of the play.

Othello’s tragedy started when he began to trust Iago instead of his own truthful wife, Desdemona. “A man he is of honesty and trust” (II.1, 284-285). Iago was extremely manipulative and had convinced him that his wife had been unfaithful. Desdemona denied this entirely, however Othello continued to ignore her and still believed that she had been unloyal to him. The lack of trust and communication between Othello and Desdemona became the focal point of Iago’s plan. Othello never directly approached Desdemona about her cheating. He only did so moments before he killed her which was ultimately, his fatal flaw. Othello still believed she had been dishonest, no matter what anyone else said. If he had simply spoken to his wife about her supposed affair, he may not have trusted Iago in the first place. Thus, he may not have killed her.

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Othello’s race was one of his biggest insecurities. “But I do love thee, and when thee loves me not, / Chaos is come again” (III.3, 91-93). This led to him becoming very jealous and sceptical of his wife resulting in his own calamity. After Iago planted the thought of Desdemona cheating on him with Cassio, he immediately thought it was because of his skin colour as black people, ‘Moors’, were seen as inferior to their white counterparts in this time period. Iago grew this sense of envy in Othello. Eventually, Othello’s anger took control of his mind and his feelings towards Desdemona began to deteriorate.

Although the handkerchief could be insignificant to most people, to Othello, it had a deeper meaning and greater symbolism. It was the first gift he had given to his wife, thus making it sentimental. Iago, being devious and duplicitous, knew this and worked very hard to steal it from her. Iago made Othello doubtful of Desdemona by constantly dicussing the handkerchief.  “If it were now to die, / Twere now to be most happy, for I fear / My soul hath her content so absolute, / That not another comfort, like to this / Succeeds in unknown fate” (II.1, 190-194). Iago knew that if Othello found it with Cassio, Othello would consider it as concrete evidence that Desdemona is cheating and he would kill her. Iago’s demented plan had succeeded.

It is clear that without Iago, the downfall of Othello would not have occured. The evidence still suggests that Othello made bad choices. He gave his trust to the wrong person, he did not believe his honest wife and he was insecure about his race. This led to jealousy growing within him, causing the inevitable tragedy.


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