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Othello as the Greater Evil in William Shakespeare’s Othello

Othello as the Greater Evil in William Shakespeare’s Othello

What makes one person to be considered evil, while another is considered righteous? The character Iago, in William Shakespeare’s Othello, could be considered evil because of his plot against Cassio and Othello. Othello, could be considered righteous, because he believes his wife has been unfaithful. The line between these two labels, evil or righteous, is thin. Ultimately, actions speak louder than words. Iago is evil in his actions towards Othello, but between the two, Othello is the most evil for reacting to lies in the most violent of ways.

The evil in Iago becomes visible from the very beginning of the play. He explains at the beginning how he was passed over for the position of lieutenant by Othello, who gave the position to Cassio. This gives Iago cause for not only hating Othello but Cassio as well. Iago’s hatred for Othello becomes even more apparent by his simple statement “I hate the Moor” (Oth. 1.3.588). His hatred for Othello is partly based on his belief that Othello had an affair with his wife, Emilia. He says, “And it is thought abroad that twixt my sheets / He’s done my office” (Oth. 1.3.588). This belief is based purely on rumor and nothing more. It is during this speech that Iago gives insight into his plot to make Othello think that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. This will ultimately be the fuel that exposes the evil in Othello.

Othello’s deep love for Desdemona is the reason behind the deep hatred he begins to feel. Early on Othello proclaims how happy he is and how much in love he is with Desdemona. “For know, Iago, / But that I love the gentle Desdemona” (Oth. 1.2.572). Othello also seems consumed with passion for Desdemona….

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…ay. These lies may have been planted by Iago, but it is Othello’s own decision to carry out these murders. Should Iago’s soul carry the blame for the lies that had an evil result?

Works Cited

Mc Elroy, Bernard. Shakespeare’s Mature Tragedies. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1973.

Shakespeare, William. “Othello, The Moor of Venice”. Literature and Ourselves. 2nd ed. Ed. Gloria Henderson, Bill Day, and Sandra Waller. New York: Longman, 1997. 563-682.

Vanita, Ruth. “’Proper’ men and ‘Fallen’ women: The unprotectedness of wives in Othello”. Studies in English Literature. 34 (1994): 341-58. Online. EBSCO Publishing. 18 June 1999. Available WWW:

Zender, Karl F.. “The Humiliation Of Iago”. Studies in English Literature. 34 (1994): 323-40. Online. EBSCO Publishing. 18 June 1999. Available WWW:

A Worn Path, The Bean Trees, Little Women, How It Feels To Be Colored Me, and the The Piano

Courageous and Heroic Women in A Worn Path, The Bean Trees, Little Women, How It Feels To Be Colored Me, and the The Piano

Women have been heroic and courageous throughout history, though not all of these heroic (or courageous) adventures have been shown in any way. Some of women’s heroic and courageous adventures are portrayed through short stories, books, and movies. Eudora Welty’s short story “A Worn Path,” Barbara Kingsolver’s book The Bean Trees, Louisa May Alcott’s book Little Women, Zora Neale Hurston’s story “How It Feels To Be Colored Me,” and the movie “The Piano” all show women going through their own amazing and heroic adventures. In these stories, the authors and director share with the reader (and watcher) the heroics of a woman. Though these heroic adventures are full of risk and danger they are very valuable adventures for the characters’ health and development.

In “A Worn Path” the character Phoenix Jackson walks through the forest on her way to town to get her grandson some medicine. Now, Phoenix is an elderly lady, so this trip takes her awhile. She has to go up and down hills, through thorny thickets, and over streams on logs. Throughout the story she talks to herself and encourages herself to go on. She talks to the brushes and the animals that she hears and tells them to keep “out of my way all you foxes, owls, beetles, jack rabbits, coons and wild animals! Keep from under these feet…” (Gilbert and Gubar 1641).

This trip shows how heroic Phoenix is, for it’s pretty risky for her to take. It might not be as risky for a younger person, but it’s hard for an older woman to go through barbed-wire fences, over logs, and through ditches. She could get caught or hurt on any of the obstacl…

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…es where he gets to do more with her than she wants, like touching her, taking off some of her clothes, and eventually sleeping with her.

All of these women show their courage in some way or another, whether that courage is of the heart, mind, or body. Women have had heroic and courageous qualities throughout history, but these women are some very good examples of how some women have the nerve and bravery to do and think what they feel is right no matter what men or other women think of them.

Works Cited:

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. New York: Signet, 1983.

Hurston, Zora Neale. “How it Feels to be Colored Me.” World Tomorrow, 11 (May, 1928)

Kingsolver, Barbara. The Bean Trees. New York : Harper, 1988.

Welty, Eudora. “A Worn Path.” Perrine’s Story

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