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Othello's Tragic Downfall

A great custom research paper topic on Othello is a study of Othello's Tragic Downfall. The tension in the play Othello begins as one becomes aware of a transformation in Othello character. In the climax of the play, this transformation takes Othello to the exact opposite of what he had been, a firmly grounded man in love with Desdemona, to a paranoid man driven by jealousy.  This transformation leads to what can be referred to as Shakespearian "tragic downfall". 

Othello's Tragic Downfall

The driving force behind Othello’s tragic downfall is not the love in his life, as one might expect in a romantic tragedy, but rather his friend, Iago. Iago serves as an antagonist to Othello. In his own words, Iago lets the audience in on his secret, which is that he is the cause of Othello’s downfall and the instigator of tragedy. This is the point in which one begins to have sympathy for Othello’s ranting. Iago justifies Othello’s action and allows the audience not to fully blame Othello because Iago is evil, and admittedly so. “Others there are/Who, trimmed in form and visages of duty, /Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,/And, throwing but shows of services on their lords,/Do well thrive by them, and when they have lined their coats,/Do themselves homage . . ./As such I do profess myself.” (I.i.46-53) Thus we can see how Othello is portrayed as the innocent one who is duped by the conniving ways of an envious friend.

Iago’s motivations have been much studied and much debated.  Iago is brilliant in bringing about Othello’s tragic downfall.  By obscuring what is true and what is perceived as true, Shakespeare creates the complexity of Othello’s jealousy more in his imagination than in actuality.  Shakespeare uses this pretext to explore and illuminate reality versus blind jealousy and this is the tool that Iago uses to bring about Othello’s ruin.

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