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Assess Othello's characterization when he first starts to doubt Desdamonas faithfulness.

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jen-jacobs94 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted November 25, 2012 at 3:19 AM via web

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Assess Othello's characterization when he first starts to doubt Desdamonas faithfulness.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 25, 2012 at 3:10 PM (Answer #1)

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It is interesting to note that Othello succumbs to a lack of clarity when confronted with the images of Desdemona's "unfaithfulness."  He faints, reflecting a lack of clarity.  He then hides and watches Iago and Cassio from concealment.  These reactions help to bring out how Othello lacks the moral courage to simply talk with Desdemona about his feelings.  Rather, he acquiesces to gossip and innuendo.  Othello believes in falsehoods and what he thinks could be reality as opposed to actually talking and discussing with Desdemona his experiences.  His emotions have reached unstable ends, reflecting how his own composure that was initially observed might have been fraudulent.  At the very least, he shows himself to be swayed with what he perceives to be the intensity of the moment when he remarks, "Hang her! … chop her into messes, and poison her,” in regards to Desdemona.  The intensity of emotions have infected Othello and his characterization upon hearing about Desdemona's supposed unfaithfulness reflects this.  For Othello, his own composure is belied with his willingness to accept gossip and truth and his unwillingness to muster up the courage to openly talk with Desdemona about what he is feeling and why he is feeling it.  This characterization shows how the path of open discourse might be challenging, but is preferable to the alternative.

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