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Dig a Little Deeper

In the play Othello, Shakespeare creates a dramatic story about a marriage that suffers from the twisted revenge plot of a jealous soldier. In the beginning of the play, Othello maintained the sharp mind of a leader, even under stress. However, when Desdemona’s fidelity is questioned, Othello uncharacteristically ignores any suspicions he has of Iago’s dubious story.  After reading Othello and Iago’s encounter in Act 3 Scene 3, I feel frustrated and disappointed that Iago gained the upper hand in his plan of vengeance because Othello abandoned his good judgment.
Throughout the first part of this scene, Othello keeps a logical mindset despite Iago’s manipulation. For instance, during their conversation Othello insists to Iago that “[He’ll] see before [he] doubt[s]” Desdemona’s faith in him (III. iii. 221). Not only do Othello’s words demonstrate his trust in Desdemona, but also his logical side by quickly asserting that only visual proof could convince him of any infidelity. However, instead of following through on his instinct, he simply lets the matter go. By ignoring his suspicions, Othello opened the door for Iago to play into his insecurities as an outsider and convince him of the affair. I feel angry that Othello didn’t pursue his suspicions further, especially since I see that he possesses the capability to detect questionable details. By failing to follow his instinct, Iago easily gained control over him. In fact, Othello doesn’t even challenge Iago when he mentions that Desdemona could easily cheat on Othello since she successfully deceived her father by marrying him. Conceding, Othello replies to Iago’s point with a simple “and so [Desdemona] did” (III. iii. 241). When I read his passive response, my frustration with Othello’s blindness to Iago’s lies amplified. Given the intellect Othello possesses, he could have easily detected Iago’s lies and avoided any problems caused from the conversation. I don’t like seeing people wasting their skills and intelligence, so seeing Othello just ignore what he sees as suspicious bothers me. However, I do have the benefit of knowing the outcome of the play, so dramatic irony factors into my high level of frustration. On top of Othello leaving himself vulnerable to deception, his personality changes for the worst, allowing Iago to cause even greater damage.
By the end of the scene, Iago has complete control over Othello, who has lost his calm exterior and replaced it with raging emotions and hate. I am thoroughly disappointed in Othello because he wants to hear “that Cassio’s not alive,” because he essentially ordered the murder of one of his closest friends (III. iii. 538). Not only did Othello never see the proof that he previously insisted upon having, but he also forgets his good judgment by failing to seek justification for his actions. I had hoped that a smart man like Othello would recognize his mistake and want to see evidence before forming any judgments. My disappointment stems from what I learned in my childhood, which was the value of justice and the importance of gathering evidence first before making any decisions. Much to my chagrin, I found out Othello wants to hurt his own wife and close friend without even stopping to consider an alternative explanation or seeing evidence. I appreciated Othello’s approach to handling difficult situations earlier in the play, such as reprimanding Cassio for his drunken brawl, because he made an appropriate and fair judgment. However in this scene, Othello uncharacteristically made his decision in the heat of the moment. By losing control of his emotions, Othello allows Iago to gain power over him because he can feed Othello false information.
Though Othello does not readily submit to Iago’s accusations about Desdemona and has the ability to think rationally, Othello never thinks twice about placing his trust in Iago. I hope that Othello realizes his error in judgment and thus prevent further damaging his relationship with Desdemona. Unfortunately, since Othello’s character has changed so drastically, I don’t think he will find out, if at all, what unnecessary harm he has caused as a result of his actions. Though in a way, Othello’s actions are somewhat justified, as him simply taking Iago’s word without first forming his own opinion is similar to how people in the real world act. For example, when I was in middle school, I thought that a classmate of mine was an arrogant person, an opinion based solely on what my friend had told me about her. I went into the school year with expectations of meeting a horrible girl. However, what I found out was that although at times her attitude came off as condescending, she was actually a smart person who cared about others most of the time. Thus, it is important to not always take someone’s word for everything and potentially ruin a relationship with someone.

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