Othello Character Development

Othello Character Development

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  • Act 1 Scene 3
  • “I would wager my life upon her loyalty! Honest Iago, I must leave my Desdemona in your care. I ask you to allow your wife to be her attendant, and also bring them with you at the earliest opportunity. Come, Desdemona, I have only one hour for love, for normal pursuits, to spend with you. We must watch the clock” (Shakespeare 67). 
  • Act 2 Scene 3
  • “Now by heaven, my self-control begins to be overcome by my anger, and my best judgement is darkened by my passions. By God, if I so much as move or raise my arm, the bravest men among you shall fall before my rebuke. Tell me how this horrible brawl began and who started it, and whoever is convicted of this offense-even if he were my own brother-shall lose my support” (Shakespeare 117). 
  • Act 3 Scene 3
  • “Villain, you had better have solid proof that my love is a whore. [Othello takes Iago by the throat.] Have solid proof. Give me proof I can see with my own eyes, or, by the worth of my eternal soul, you would have been better off born a dog than to face my awakened wrath” (Shakespeare 165).
  • In the beginning of the play, Othello is very calm and able to control his anger. Othello has to go into battle soon after he marries Desdemona. He loves her so much that he makes sure she is taken into the care of someone he trusts. Even though he is upset and angry that he must leave Desdemona for awhile, he does not show his anger, and instead shows calmness and loves towards her. He leaves her with Iago while he is away. This shows that Othello is very trusting of Desdemona and loves her dearly. He would do anything to make her happy and keep her safe. He is not easily angered and is quite a calm and easygoing man. This quote shows his initial personality which is easygoing, calm, trusting and loving. He trusts Desdemona enough to leave her home with Iago while he goes out to battle. He loves and cares about her so much and wants to make sure she is protected and has the best care while he is away because he never wants anything to hurt her. Even though he has to leave Desdemona for battle for a while, he is calm and does not get angered by such small things.
  • Act 4 Scene 3
  • “Get yourself to bed immediately. I’ll return very soon. Dismiss your attendant Emilia. [sternly] See that you do as I say” (Shakespeare 239).
  • At this point in the play, Othello starts to get more stressed and is now easier to anger. After Othello’s wedding night, there was a party to celebrate, and his men were put in charge of watching over the party. Cassio got drunk because Iago told him it was okay and Cassio ended up losing control of himself and getting into a fight with several others and injured some people. Othello came down from the castle to see what the commotion was, only to find his highly ranked military men fighting while on duty. This was a big deal and it obviously angered Othello to see that someone he trusted couldn’t control himself. Othello is getting more worked up than usual, as he said even if it were his own brother he would lose his support, which means that no matter who started it, Othello will still be equally as mad. One thing that shows that Othello is quicker to anger is that even though Cassio has been loyal to Othello his whole career and this is his only mistake, Othello still will not forgive him. Othello doesn’t care about the whole story. Once he heard one side of it from Iago, he immediately felt the need to punish Cassio. This shows that Othello’s temper and calmness has decreased from the beginning of the play.
  • Act 5 Scene 2
  • “Yes, very soon. So fully confess your sin, because your denying every wrong even with an oath cannot remove or smother the strong conviction of your guilt that makes me groan. You are to die” (Shakespeare 265).
  • At this point in the play, Iago and Othello are off in a garden outside of the castle discussing Desdemona and Cassio. Previously, Iago had told Othello about his suspicion that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio. Othello got extremely mad because he never wants to think that Desdemona would betray him like that. Othello got so angry that he grabbed Iago by the throat and told him to give solid proof that Desdemona is unfaithful to him. His emotions overcame him and made him so angry as to physically abuse someone else. He could not keep himself calm and instead let him the anger that flooded his mind run loose. As you can see, Othello’s anger is escalating and his words are turning into more violent actions.
  • At this point in the play Othello, Emilia and Desdemona have just finished dinner with Lodovico and some other people after his last battle. It is late at night and Othello is demanding that Desdemona go to sleep now and tell Emilia to leave. Both women are very confused as to this unordinary request by Othello. Othello’s anger is still driven by Iago’s suspicions about Desdemona and Cassio. Othello is so angered and upset by this that he can barely even talk to Desdemona without wanting to scream at her. He has become more controlling of her and more passive aggressive. Earlier in this act, he actually physically hits her for the first time. Everyone is surprised by this because it’s an unusual characteristic of Othello. He is not usually like this and now others are beginning to notice a change in him as well. There is an immense amount of tension between Othello and Desdemona at this point because of his anger and passive aggressive attitude towards her.
  • At this point in the story, Othello has come up to where Desdemona is sleeping and tells her to confess all of her sins. He now accuses her of sleeping with Cassio, which she adamantly denies, because it is a false claim. The more she denies it and the more she expresses her love for Othello, the greater his anger grows towards Desdemona. In fact, it becomes so unbearable that he tells her that he is going to strangle her to death. Obviously Othello has reached the boiling point and his emotions cannot be contained anymore. He has become so extremely angry that he tells his own wife that he plans to kill her for a crime that she didn’t commit. His patience has grown short and he didn’t even ask for more evidence from Iago, and just trusted his word that he thinks Desdemona has slept with Cassio. Othello has become more hasty throughout the play, especially when it comes to decisions driven by anger. Throughout the play his anger has grown immensely and he now shows little to no self control by the end of the play, which is a drastic difference when compared to his calm and controlled self.
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