Othello's tragic flaw is his own feelings of insuperiority. Iago manipulates Othello by use of this tragic flaw. Discuss, with close reference to the text

Essay by timburroughHigh School, 11th gradeB-, March 2003

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Someone manipulating your weaknesses to their advantage can often bring about your downfall, especially when you consider yourself an outsider. In William Shakespeare's play, Othello, the main character is a black moor. Although some question remains about the exact race of Othello, there is no doubt that he considered himself an outsider. Othello sometimes goes out of his way to present himself thus, but it is left to the reader to decide whether this is because he recognizes his exotic appeal or because he is self-conscious of and defensive about the differences between him and other Venetians. For example, in spite of his obvious eloquence in the first act, he protests, "Rude am I in my speech, ... And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace". While Othello is never rude in his speech, he does allow his eloquence to suffer when he is put under increasing strain by Iago's plots.

In the final moments of the play, Othello regains his composure and, once again, seduces both his onstage and offstage audiences with his words. The speech that precedes his suicide is a tale that would definitely impress almost anyone. It is the tension between Othello's victimization at the hands of a foreign culture and his own willingness to torment himself that makes him a tragic figure rather than simply a ridiculous puppet of Iago, one of Shakespeare's most heinous villains, who is terrifying due to his willingness to take revenge on anyone--Othello, Desdemona (Othello's wife), Cassio (Othello's Lieutenant), Roderigo (Iago's friend, who trusts him almost blindly), even Emilia (Iago's wife)--at the slightest provocation, and he enjoys the pain and damage he causes, until he is forced to bear much of the burden of...