It is right to say that Character sketch of Othello is a most significant character of William Shakespeare. He is the central character to whom all the minor or major characters revolve around because the action of the drama revolves around him.
It is very difficult to think that this play can be without him because the play deals with his sufferings, problems & tragic death. The tragic concept of Shakespeare is very much prominent in him just like other Shakespearean heroes Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth and Julièus Caesar. Alt the characters: directly or indirectly linked with this supreme powerful figure..
Most of the critics have different views & ideas about this character. Some of them are of the view that he has a least heroic quality of Shakespearean heroes of tragic vision. As far as Bradely is concerned, he takes Othello entirely as blameless & sinless. He says that the main implication & complexity of the plays are within lago’s character. According to Leavis, the shortcomings & egotism of Othello’s character, are themselves responsible for his tragedy.
He loves his wife by the core of his heart. His love for Desdemona is sensual as well as passive. He never ever imagines a single spot on her character. His real tragic flaw exists in his self idealization. He just hears only lago’s statement & then idealizes himself all about his wife’s unfaithfulness. Though he is a master of martial arts & adventures yet he is totally unfit & ignorant to understand the tender, loyal & sincere sentiments & passions of his wife. This play is based on the relationship of husband & wife in which both are sincere, loving & caring to one another but later husband’s love is destroyed & spoiled by a jealous character lago. Though apparently lago is serving Othello in faithfulness but inwardly he is an opponent & jealous to him & is ready to finish his life at any cost.
Othello is unable to recognize the true identity of lago who spoils the husband & wife’s true relation by creating doubts & suspicions about Desdemona’s chastity & purity of life in Othello’s mind. When the pressure is built up, Othello’s weaknesses are revealed and his self-idealization becomes blindness and his nobility changes into a brutal egotism. In fact, it is his egotism which makes lago’s way easy to do his work. Owing to the intensity of this egotism, he murders his loving wife who was once the queen of his dreams.
Bradley rightly says that this is the tragedy of assassination of love by non-love. lago, who does not know about the a.b.c of love but is destroyed by the power of love: lago by heart is loveless who does not think of those loveful heart’s passions of Othello & Desdemona because his heart is full of hatred & malice. Othello’s ego dominates over his love and he makes decisions not by heart but by brain. The credibility of the play and the success of Iago’s plot are closely connected with this character Othello describes himself as:…………
“One not easily jealous, but being
wrought, perplexed in the extreme.”
This statement is absolutely right because the whole of the tragedy lies in it and his nature was completely inclined towards jealousy. Here he could not bear any more delay in taking revenge & he does this in a decisive manner. Othello had a great experience of war life and adventures. He had been wandering in the deserts, had been having magic stories, experiences of slavery, his sojourn in Apallo, had been taking part is battles and sieges.
All these experiences make him a romantic hero or figure. His imaginative approach is not meditative just like Hamlet but is of practical one. Though he is more poetic than other Shakespeare’s heroes yet he does not perceive the softness & tenderness of love. When we read his famous speeches either long ones or short ones, Othello seems to be a great romantic poet that even his every phrase expresses & exposes his intensity of feeling and emotion. It is also said that romanticism is also an element of danger in his personality because being so simple, he has no observatory power and is unable to introspect. An emotional intensity prevails on hips imagination which destroys & troubles his power of thinking.
So, we see that his passionate nature spoils him and ultimately he commits suicide and at last he repents severely on the act of assassination of his queen of dreams -Desdemona. As Othello’s Jealousy arouses which prevails over his power of thinking, he acts blindly. Sometimes, Othello exhibits strange self-control and other characters become aware of his this act. Lodovico is rightly surprised when he gets violent by losing his self-control and he utters here.
“Is this the noble moor, whom our full senate call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature whom passion could not shake? Whose solid virtue, The shot of accident nor dart of chance could neither graze nor pierce?”
If we talk about his whole heartedness then we see that it is appreciable because on whom he trusts, he trusts completely. He does not hesitate on any act because he is self dependent and whatever he decides, he also acts accordingly. If he loves, he loves extremely; because he loves Desdemona intensively and even cannot hear a single word against her. If he controls or hides the passion of jealousy then it becomes an uncontrollable passion for him.
Being noble, his sufferings are heart-breaking and seek our attention and sympathies because whatever comes in his mind, he does it wholeheartedly and he is always rash & violent in both love & hatred. He is trustful and thorough in his trust. His suspicion & doubt of Desdemona and finally his sufferings are pitiful for the audience. In the very starting act of the drama, he has full confidence on lago who is outwardly faithful but inwardly he is capable of cheating Othello because being noble, Othello does not recognize lago’s evil intentions and aims.
Here, one thing is also to be pointed out that as Othello is newly married, he could not know much of Desdemona’s temperament & nature. This is the very reason that as he is given evidence, he suspects and doubts her dignity and chastity. Only a suspicion was enough to destroy his faith & confidence on his beloved wife.
Here, we observe in confidence even in his own personality and he loses his self control. Moreover, he is not particularly an European or cultured enough to perceive & realize that mental capabilities of a civilized & cultured Desdemona of Venice. Actually he is absolutely unaware & ignorant of the soft & tender thoughts and emotions of Desdemona. He had himself seen in Desdemona’s deception of her father how perfect an actress she could be. He is straight forward in thinking soft things and he believes in prompt action rather than any fear of the consequences.
To sum up this discussion, we can say that Othello is himself more responsible for his tragic end of life than any other character because if lago plays a role in his destruction but he only arouses his hidden & latent traits and passions in his personality on which he could himself control but he did not do so & finally became the victim of his feeble suspicious nature.