Othello
Wiliam Shakespeare

by

Karim Chandra

Character Analysis
Othello

Othello is a high ranking military Officer at the defense forces of the state City of Venice. Othello is a highly skilled military officer and has served his country with tremendous diligence. He is highly skilled and respected among his peers as well as his countrymen. However, there is a significant problem that Othello faces; he is of foreign origin, and the colour of his skin sets him apart from his workmates and the other individuals in his environment. In the military, Othello emerges as a brave and intelligent officer who also possess good decision-making abilities with regards to military affairs. Othello love and marries Desdemona. However, during a moment of the campaign against the Turks, Othello is deceived by Iago into believing that his wife, Desdemona is secretly having an affair with Cassio, his friend and faithful lieutenant. While Othello is initially unconcerned with the accusations, Iago eventually succeeds in convincing. Iago takes advantage of Othello's sense of insecurity to confirm to him that indeed, there was something. Othello's fears are confirmed when he stumbles upon circumstantial evidence that would be incriminating to Desdemona and Cassio. It was only after killing his wife that Othello realized that he had been tricked by Iago. Out of rage, Othello kills himself.

Iago

 Iago is a captain in Othello's army. Iago is an ambitious man, and he hopes that he will get a promotion to high ranks. However, when the time for promotion comes, Othello settles for Cassio, a decision that irks him a lot. It is out of this bitter fallout that Iago plans for revenge against both Cassio and Othello. In his desire to bring down Othello, Iago uses the unsuspecting Roderigo as a source of finances and also as an accomplice in this treacherous act. When confronted with his actions, Iago remains mum, never to disclose to anyone about the reasons behind his actions until he is hit with misfortune.

Desdemona

Desdemona is a loving, noble Venetian lady; the daughter of Brabantio. She is also Othello's wife. During the times when her husband is in danger, Desdemona shows intelligence, love and compassion by making sure that she is always by the side of her husband. During the campaign against the Turks, Desdemona accompanies her husband to Cyprus. However, she is surprised that her husband has decided to stay away from her and to accuse her of doing things that she does not understand. The only hope that Desdemona has is that her husband will at one time realize how much she loves him. However, that would not come to pass as she realizes that her husband plans to kill her. In this case, she can only grief and hope that Othello would change. Desdemona dies while declaring her love for Othello.

Brabantio

He is a Venetian senator, the father of Desdemona. Brabantio is unhappy with his daughter's choice of a husband. However, he is left with the only option of accepting the marriage once it has taken place and the Senate has accepted it. Brabantio warns Othello that he should be careful with Desdemona since she is a clever deceiver.

Roderigo

He is a nobleman who has fallen in love with Desdemona. However, there is a problem with Roderigo since it appears that he has more money than senses. He pays Iago to court Desdemona on his behalf, having failed in the previous attempts. Once Iago has realized that Roderigo is desperate and may do everything to achieve his desires, he continues to milk money from him. However, Roderigo does not get what he has always wanted. Iago involves Roderigo on the attack on Cassio. However, Iago realizes that Roderigo might not keep silent about the incident and decides to kill him.

Cassio

Cassio is one of Othello's most trusted lieutenants in the in the Venetian defence forces. The trust levels between Othello and Cassio is so high that at the time when Othello was courting Desdemona, Cassio was with him. The relationship between these two individuals was more personal than professional. Cassio is a very popular character, eloquent in speech and trustworthy. In the long run, Iago manages to convince Othello that Cassio is having a secret affair with Desdemona. When Othello dies, Cassio becomes the new King of Cyprus.

Bianca

She is a prostitute that has fallen in love with Cassio. Bianca is highly talented in needlework. She decides to create a copy of a handkerchief that Cassio has provided to her. She throws it back to him, assuming that it is a token of love from him.

Emilia

 Emilia acts as Iago's wife and the same time Desdemona's lady in waiting. Emilia has an incredible understanding of Iago, and thus, she is suspicious of Iago's actions. In spite of her suspicions, it is not until very late that Emilia realizes that it is her husband that had set Othello against his wife.

The Duke of Venice

The Duke of Venice is the supreme leader of the governing body that runs the affairs of the city-state of Venice. The Duke has made Othello the leader of the Venetian Military Forces in a battle against the attack on Cyprus by the Turkish military forces. At the time when Brabantio is rejecting his daughter's marriage to Othello, he intervenes and requests Brabantio to accept Desdemona's marriage.

Gratiano

He is the brother of Brabantio. Together with Lodovico, Gratiano finds the Cassio after he has been stubbed by both Iago and Roderigo. The stabbing incident had occurred after the drunk individuals got involved in a brawl.

Lodovico

 Lodovico is Desdemona's cousin. He plays a critical role in finding out the truth behind the death of Desdemona. He questions Othello together with Cassio, and it is during this questioning that he discovers the true causes behind the killing of his cousin. It is as a result of hos revelation that Othello realizes that he has been deceived.

Montano

 Montano is the former governor of Cyprus. He is Othello's predecessor. He is a strong supporter as a well as a faithful supporter to Othello.

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