othello

HideShow resource information

Character Profile : Othello

Othello is the moor, and a sucessful mercensary general who works for the state of venice. He is a middle aged bachellor who elopes&maries a weathly venecian woman called Desdemona. He is posted to cypus during the Turkish conflict, Whilst in cyprus othello belives Iago's false tales of his wifes infedelity and adultrus nature and he smothers her and then kills himself.

Before his 1st stage appearance Iago leads us to believe he is bombastic, concieted and lavacious, but in his 1st aperance in Act 1:2 he seems an impressive figure with a vast number of qualities: openness,sincerity and authority. He is an example of a tragic protagonist  howver he is a descendant of a line of kings and has the right to marry desdemona.'perfect soul' .Valiant othello commands the respect of high figures like the duke however the play gives little detail about his activities in cyprus.Othello's atributes give the impression that we should view him as a hero. (PRIVATE/DOMESTIC TRAGEDY???) related to reputation and a mans honour.

Othello's race is important as it is used against him by Iago to make him 'perplexed in the extreme even though at one point he said 'she had eyes and she chose me' (married in secret- lover&husb)The D.O.V says hes suitable'i think this tale would win my daughter too' and B 'your son in law is much more fair than black'                          

He calls himself an honourable murderer when he smothers her, shakespere does this to remind us that he was a worthy man before he was ensnared by Iago's trap to create 'pathos' , it is possible to sympathise/pity w/the fallen hero

1 of 8

Character Profile: Desdemona (othellos wife/Braban

She is a weathly young venetian woman and she is Brabantio's daughter, whom elopes with the moor and accompanies him to cyprus where she is falsely accused of adulery and murdered by Othello.

Brabantio describes her as his 'jewel' and says 'she is a madien never bold/of spirit' modest and opposed of marriage. Her father describes her as an innocent girlish figure. This is inaccurate as when she speaks in act1 by the end of the play othello has turned her into a fearful little girl  (horribly/tragicaly ironic). Her final role is to be sacrificed to masculine pride.

Desdemona as a wife: asserts her rights as married woman and declares tha she is ready for a sexual relationship. This fuels iago's decietful fire to othello and he makes a great deal out of the fact tha she decieved her father in order to chose her own husband and is therefore untrustworthy.Desdemona may have diosobeyed her father but she respects othello's authority 'my heats subdued/ even to the very quality of my lord'. Her nagging to reinstate cassio is in othellos best prof interests and her 'nagging' can be seen as playful and loving. Anxiousness about him is <3 touching. NOT FAULTLESS  lies to othello about hankerchief and when he strikes her publically she says 'i have not dererved this'. she is loyal till the end when he calls her 'that cunning whore of venice' . She takes the blame for her own death thats how much she loves him that she declares it her own 'wretched fortune'

Desdemona: Iago's victim he says he loves' desdemona  only to 'diet his own rvenege' and turn her virtue into a pitch'. REGRET? he says 'do not weep do not weep: alas the day? giving connotations of regret, or is it another example of his enjoyment of victimising her

2 of 8

Character Profile : IAGO

Iago is othellos ensign he has served with othello in a number of military campaigns, eaten up by jealousy and hatred, Iago seeks to destroy Othello by poisioning his mind against Desdemona. VILLAINOUS: iago is a compelling and sophisticated villain he is part vice and machieavel and seems to be inherently evil. Typically shakespere presents him as cynical, quick witted and oppourtunistic. He is key to the plot as his twisted soliloquys tell the audience what is going to happen, he can also be rather mysterious as he refuses to speak at the end of the play.

Iago's motives all revolve around jealousy of Cassio he is certanly envoius of the daily beauty in his life. He even goes as far as to admit he hinks cassio has been sleeping with his wife emillia (he is torn appart by sexual jealousy). He susects the general has "twixt my sheets... done my office' No suggestions of cuckolding in text and he is racially/sexually prejudiced- degrade those he despised.

Othello' : dealing with othello shows his real skills as he is so sucessful he replaces desdemona in othellos affections and destroys the mind,body and soul of the noble moor, he acts as a director and stage manager dictating all the characters tragic fates.Many soliloquys are said though gritted teeth ''i hate the moor'

Out of her own goodness [he will] make the net/that shall emesh them all" The imagery is Iago setting up a trap for his prey, comtempt for inncocene amd goodness. Exploitation of desdemonas goodness prepares us for the abuse of the other female characters : emillia and bianca later in play

3 of 8

Character Profile: Cassio

Cassio is a Florentine soldier who is promoted by Othello to the post of liutenant, he acted as go-between in the relationship of Othello&Des. Cassio is disgraced when involved in a drunken brawl but, is made governor of Cyprus at end of play.

Cassio the soldier:   In act1:1 Iago offers us a belittling portreyal of Cassio by Iago who presents him as an inexperienced soldier, a mere 'arithmatician' who has been promoted beyond his deservance.(JEALOUSY). However there is some evidence that cassio lacks military experience as when Othello leaves him in charge he ends up in a 'drunken brawl'. contrasts to othello who is inexperienced lover not inexperienced soldier.

Othello and Cassio: Truly devoted to Othello, Cassio is extremely ashamed after being implicated in a drunken brawl on Cyprus and losing his place as lieutenant. Iago uses Cassio’s youth, good looks, and friendship with Desdemona to play on Othello’s insecurities about Desdemona’s fidelity. At end he calls him a valient moor. Opposite as Cassio is a noble florentine.

Cassio and Iago: His worst qualities are revealed under Iago's influence , he plays on cassios frailties in order to exploit othello he is' a handsome, young and hath all those requsites in him that folly and green minds look after'. By plying cassio to drink he is able to move him out the way and replace him as Liutenant. Turns virtues into vices and shame into guilt.

Cassio the lover:  Cassio's praise of desdemona is innocent and sincere. He refers to his mistress biana is ofter callous he calls her a bauble. Cassio's obsession w/ profession mirrors othellos obsession.

His sorrow over loosing his profession mirrors othellos sorrow at loosing des's love and the referance to being 'bestisal' forshadows othellos downfall as he will become bestial himself when he avenges his masculine honour.

Charm (welcome des) 'you men of cyprus let her have your knees' Abuse to bianca 'to have him see me womaned' Tribute to othello 'he was great of heart'

4 of 8

Character Profile: Emillia

Emillia and Desdemona: Older and more cynical than Desdemona, Emilia develops a close relationship to young Des.Emilia and Desdemona bond over husband trouble. Emilia's super-bitter take on her married life with Iago contrasts with Des' marriage to Othello.Emilia's one dishonest act towards Desdemona—stealing her special handkerchief—turns out to have devastating consequences. The loss of the handkerchief is what convinces Othello that Desdemona is guilty of infidelity, and Emilia's little theft ends up causing her friend's death. It's Emilia who discovers the truth about Iago's plotting and reveals it to the world. She can't bring Desdemona back to life, but she does clear her friend's name. She ends up sacrificing her life so that Desdemona won't be remembered as a "whore." Iago kills Emilia as payback for unmasking him, but Emilia dies proud that she set the record straight.

Emillia and Iago: Iago constantly mocks and disrespects her. He never seems to offer her any affection, and he always talks trash about women in general. Emilia is aware of Iago's thirst for power and wishes she could gratify it.  she says that husbands are usually to blame when their wives cheat on them: But I do think it is their husbands' faults
If wives do fall. Say that they slack their duties,
And pour our treasures into foreign laps;
Or else break out in peevish jealousies,

5 of 8

Character Profile: Brabantio

Desdemona's father, Brabantio, is a rich and important Venetian politician. He likes Othello and invites him to visit his house a lot—but he never expected Othello to "steal" his daughter. Furthermore, he never believed his darling little girl would marry Othello unless she was drugged or under some kind of spell.

Brababtio as a Father: Brabantio tends to see his daughter as his property, which means that he sees marriage as a potential business transaction. Brabantio's irrational fears about his daughter's interracial marriage make him a central figure in the play's examination of race and sex "Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see. She has deceived her father, and may thee" (causes othello jealosy later on as his delusion hightens) Brabantio apparently dies of grief after his daughter runs off with Othello.

Brabantio doesn't realize that he is being intentionally manipulated by Iago and Roderigo. The audience does know what the character doesn't, however, making it an instance of dramatic irony. The two seem to realize that he has a fiery temper and aim to exploit that along with his possessive love of his daughter in an attempt to discredit and undermine Othello.

Racism:  Roderigo is not termed a 'barbarian' and assumed to practice black magic. When Brabantio later confronts Othello in Act I, Scene 2, he refers to Othello's 'sooty bosom', and suggests to love him would go against nature itself while subjecting Desdemona (and perhaps Brabantio as well?) to public mockery.

6 of 8

Character Profile: Roderigo

He is a dissolute Venetian lusting after Othello's wife Desdemona. Roderigo has opened his purse to Iago in the mistaken belief that Iago is using his money to pave the way to Desdemona's bed. When the assassination of Michael Cassio runs amiss, Iago fatally wounds Roderigo

Manipulation: Roderigo is a rich, unintelligent guy who thinks that if he sends Desdemona enough expensive presents, she'll fall in love with him. He's hired Iago to be his wingman, but Iago basically uses him as a walking ATM. Iago takes the jewelry Roderigo thinks he's giving to Desdemona and sells it for a profit. All Roderigo does in response is to fall for Iago's smooth talking again and again. In the end, Roderigo dies—stabbed in the back (appropriately enough) by his wingman Iago.

Victim? Roderigo freaks out when he realizes that Desdemona is marrying Othello instead of him. He blames Iago for not realizing this earlier. Iago tells him it's not over yet; they wake up Desdemona's father and tell him he'd better find his runaway daughter.

Villain? Roderigo tries to kill Cassio and fails, so Iago stabs and kills Roderigo. This way, he won't be able to betray their scheming. Iago is a "I don't want any loose ends" kind of guy.

Iago and Roderigo Iago convinces Roderigo that Desdemona is already getting it on with Cassio, and that he has to beat Cassio up since he's the competition. Roderigo gets in a fight with drunken Cassio, but only manages to get beat up himself. He talks about giving up and going back to Venice, but Iago persuades him to keep trying.He threatens to make Iago pay if he doesn't produce results ASAP. Iago, however, just praises Roderigo for his boldness and tells him he needs to kill Cassio if he wants to take his place in Desdemona's bed. Once again, Roderigo is persuaded.

7 of 8

Character Profile: Bianca

Bianca is a Venetian courtesan who is in love with Cassio... who in turn sees her as a laughable nuisance. Shakespeare's portrayal of Bianca is sympathetic—when Cassio treats her like garbage, it's clear that Shakespeare's making a point about how women get used throughout the play.

Role in Play:  Bianca is a courtesan in a city renowned for prostitution and promiscuity, she's a foil to the chaste and ever-faithful Desdemona. Othello, however, doesn't recognize the difference between these women—he's persuaded that Desdemona is cheating even though there's no real proof. Bianca can be compared with both Desdemona and Emilia and shares some of their qualities.

Victim:  Her relationship with Cassio is less idealistic than the Othello-Desdemona match, but she is an affectionate and genuine partner. She too is accused falsely of treacherous behaviour (by Iago). Her unfounded jealousy mirrors Othello’s; but because she has no power she cannot assert her rights as the wronged party

8 of 8

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all Othello resources »