Sex, Violence and Honor in Othello: What is the connection between sex, violence and honor in Othello Essay

For Victorians Italians were wicked murderous and jealous; it was under this presumption that Shakespeare choose Venice as the scene for Othello; which is filled with, jealously revenge, sex and violence. The women of Venice were believed to be very beautiful and tempting; where as Venetian men were considered bad tempered, aggressive and jealous. The Iago name originates from Spanish. At the times, Spain was England worst enemy; it is no surprise that Iago is portrayed as the wicked character; who works as a catalyst to create murder and violence.

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As in Macbeth all things are not what they seem, similar is the case of Othello. Othello is disciplined in the beginning; but becomes victim of his own passion in the hands of Iago. The problem with Othello has been his being naive about the corruptness of the men. He trusted people without knowing them. He puts his trust on Iago during war and also during his marriage, even though Iago has a deep hatred for him.

And it was under this blind trust that Iago is able to deceit him. Othello has one inborn flaw; that is jealousy.

It is this jealousy that destroys his life; and the people around him. Thanks to Iago under the pretension of friendship; he takes revenge out of hatred from a Moor. Iago was able to fool everyone and it was only in the final act where Roderago realizes that how badly he has been fooled. The story of Othello starts from sexual jealousy giving rise to extreme violence to protect the honour ending up in disaster for everyone. Brabantio is deceived by Desdemona’s reaction to Othello.

Othello suspects that Desdemon is un-loyal and is trying to deceive him through her innocent looks. Ironically Cassio is a warm-hearted man who is perfectly honest in the praise of Desdemona. For Othello this warm admiration is not possible; as he believes that only he can love truly; and that love is based on man and female relation. Other than that any admiration means some thing is fishy. The innocent kissing in a scene makes the situation more suspicious; where Cassio kisses Iago’s wife.

Othello observing the situation feels deceived by his trusted friend; even though the things are not what they seem; but it was the angle that Iago was showing with an intention to settle the old score. Shakespeare is successful in portraying the human inability to judge false from truth; and how someone can be cheated till the end under the mask of honesty. Othello was a Moor; deep inside he has this feeling of inferiority complex. In the beginning; a man accuses him of seducing his daughter with his mysterious charm. The reason for this attitude is the public opinion.

Being a foreigner; he stands apart from everyone in the Venice. Othello was sensitive about it; which is further exploited by Iago who convinces him that Desmonda cannot be faithful to foreigner who is an unnatural sexual match. Thus we can see Iago makes him believe that he has less sexual charm than the men of Venice. It is under this misconception that his jealousy begins to build up against Desdemona; which proves fatal leading violence and killing of the Desdemona to save his honour. The plot is full of revenge and murders.

Brabantio is craving for revenge and save his honour; he takes revenge by bringing Othello before the Duke. Emilia and Desdemona also come up with touch of light revenge during their discussion to take appropriate course of action where husbands and wives are unfaithful. Othello under his presumption ponders to kill Desdemona, as he believes she has been faithless. He also feels by doing so; he will be also defending his honour. However the violence does not end here; Othello injures Iago and let him live a life of pain and misery.

In the end, he commits suicide when he realizes how wrong he has been. The relationship between men and women in Othello is the center of celebration and joy and conflict and jealousy (giving rise to violence and murders). From the first act Desdemona attempts to guide Othello by insisting “ That I love the Moor to live with him, / My downright violence, and storm of fortunes, / May trumpet to the world” (1. 3. 243-245). And in the final act, after killing his wife; Othello confesses about himself the “one that loved not wisely, but too well”.

Othello is drama; which forms a strong relation between love, sexuality revenge and honour. Othello shows the disintegration of male authority and loss of female power, the isolation of men and women and association of sexual consummation with death. It is these factors that makes Othello a memorable piece of literature. Thus we can conclude that Othello has been a tale of green eyes monster jealousy arousing from sexual inferiority leading to revenge, violence and death of so many characters

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