Othello’s weakness is as much a cause of tragedy as Iago’s malice; do you agree?
The power to use another person and manipulate them is a great skill which Iago possess, but without all of Othello ‘s weakness’, it would be a pointless skill, which is why the main cause of Othello’s tragedies is his weaknesses. His passion to follow his will, not his mind, means he is easily susceptible to jealously which, for Desdemona, means her untimely death. The fact that Othello is an outsider makes him vulnerable to questioning how well he knows the customs and traditions of the foreign land he is in. However Iago’s malice is the key to Othello’s downfall; without him taunting Othello into near madness, Othello would never have destroyed his own life. This is why Othello’s weakness is as much a cause of his downfall as Iago’s Malice. Othello’s passion, or even ego, make him easily manipulated and thus can be exploited into making him jealous. Othello’s great and passionate love for Desdemona is seen clearly as he recalls his tale of wooing her to the court remembering how she was seduced by his tails of danger and he “lov’d her that she did pity them”. This passion is what Iago uses to seek his revenge on Othello for not choosing him as his lieutenant. For this love might be seen as a good passion but when twisted by Iago this love is what burns Othello on the inside.
Iago makes it seem as if Desdemona had given Othello’s handkerchief to Cassio. Because of this Othello becomes apprehensive to the fact that he has been “cuckold” by none other than Cassio, and this jealousy bring out the “green-eyed monster” in him to act on this enraged jealousy. As he is passionate, he acts without thought and these blind actions lead him to murder his wife without seeing reason. In his anger when he is torn between his love for Desdemona and his rage for being “cuckold” he lashes out at iago who fills his “mind with poison” yet again and this is the final straw before he murders Desdemona. If it wasn’t for his passions for love and his instinct to kill in war he would never have become the tragic hero, hence he is to blame for his tragedy. Othello is “the moor”, and being an outsider makes him vulnerable to believing that he doesn’t know the customs as well as others. Brabantio claiming that Othello has “practiced on [Desdemona] with foul charms abused her delicate youth with drugs and minerals”, Othello could never have wooed his daughter
by legitment terms. Othello is a constant victim of racism and prejudice, he is degraded by Iago being called the “old black ram” as if he is a sexual beast and is then being compared to “the devil”. As well as this, he is constantly being called “the moor”, even by Desdemona and the duke who are both people who think highly of him, and he himself when questioning the love Desdemona has for him claims “I am black” which is why she could never love him.
This constant taunting and deformation is what makes Othello an outsider, and thus makes him vulnerable to Iago’s mischievous plans. Being oblivious towards the truth and having an insecure nature from the people he trusts, Othello jumps to conclusion without attempting to sort out complications, just believes the malicious words of Iago. His insecurities lead him to only trust the one and only “honest” Iago, without knowing he is trusting the wrong person he was manipulated by. All of his insecurities and constant racism towards him lead Othello to feeling like an outsider, left him vulnerable to Iago’s plots and because of this weakness he becomes a tragic hero. Othello isn’t all to blame, without Iago taunting him into believing he had been “cuckold” he would never have committed the deeds that lead to his death. Jealously is what drives Iago, who is a very unsettled man is suspicious of everyone; believing that the moor had “done [his] office”, and because of this he manipulates Othello to do his evil deeds. Iago has been playing everyone from the start since Othello appointed “a great arithmetician”, Cassio, to be his lieutenant even though he had “never set a squadron in the field”. Iago torments the mind that had been crushed multiple times of Roderigo, urging him to put all his money in “thy purse”, for the chance to be with Desdemona, but Iago had no plans to get them together.
Iago uses his wife, Emilia, to obtain the hankercheif, the first present that Othello had given to Desdemona, as another part of his plan to make Othello jealous. Iago knows that “the moor already changes with [his] poison” by putting doubt in his mind with the fact that she had given away the Hankercheif. “the moor” tries to keep a calm mind, and knows that he loves Desdemona but if he thinks that he “loves thee not, chaos comes”, and this doubt is because of Iago. Since Iago knows the “country dispositions well”, better than Othello, he can easily make Othello think he has been “cuckold” and makes Othello think the only way to restore his pride from this tragedy is by killing Desdemon and Cassion. Without Iago’s malice Othello would never have been drive to cause his own downfall which is why Iago’s malice is also to blame. Without all of Othello’s weakness’ he would never have experienced his tragedies but Iago is also to blame for encouraging the “green-eyed monster” inside of Othello. One of Othello’s weakness’ is his passions which he makes all his decisions with instead of thinking through everything logically. Another major weakness of Othello is the fact he is an outsider, and being “the moor” means he is easily led to believe that he has been “cuckold” and should do something about it. But Othelllo isn’t all to blame, without Iago’s malice urging on Othello he would never have questioned Desdemona’s love for him and wouldn’t have murdered her, so Iago’s malice is also to blame. This is why Othello is to blame for his tragedies, but it wasn’t his weakness’ alone.