Othello: "Then you must speak ... Of one not easily jealous ..." (Act V.ii) . Is this a reasonable estimation of Othello from the play Othello? To what extent do you agree with Othello's...

Othello: "Then you must speak ... Of one not easily jealous ..." (Act V.ii) . Is this a reasonable estimation of Othello from the play Othello

To what extent do you agree with Othello's estimation of himself in this quote?

Asked on by firdousa12

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Othello is a complex character whose initial strengths and his apparent flaws contribute to his ultimate tragic end. He is a typically tragic character as he does come to a realization, albeit too late, that his actions were misguided.

In Act V scene ii Othello has realized his error and that “honest” Iago has completely betrayed him. He is trying to justify his deeds and is overwhelmed by his own stupidity. Othello is a passionate man - who "loved too well." He is suggesting that his passion and love for Desdemona was so intense that he could not see or think clearly – something which Iago knew only too well.

Desdemona gives Othello so many opportunities to believe her and redeem himself. He even kisses her before he wakes her and, momentarily, considers his position

O balmy breath, thou dost almost persuade/ Justice to break her sword

However, he still believes his actions will be justified “so sweet was ne’er so fatal”   and proceeds to smother her despite her protestations of innocence.

It is the all-consuming jealousy that prevents him from thinking rationally and his (up till then) unwavering trust in Iago. His claims then of being "not easily jealous" are grossly underexaggerated. He has admitted that, once his jealousy is ignited it is difficult to stifle but, as a reasonable man, which he believes he is, he would not have taken the matter to such a conclusion. A reasonable man would have , even as Desdemona pleaded with him, stopped such drastic action.  

Othello does seem remorseful and, even though he knows he will kill himself - he tries to distract the others by telling some tale- he is still concerned about how others will see him. Although he wants his story told

without toning down his flaws or making him more of a monster than he feels he is

he does seem to have missed the point somewhat by reminding the others of his positive attributes but ultimately he recognizes that he is  "a malignant and a turban'd Turk" and must suffer the same fate as Desdemona; whereupon he kills himself.

His last statement is as conflicting as his understanding or complete misunderstanding of his part in this tragedy.  


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