Discuss the ideas developed by Shakespeare about ways in which individuals struggle to restore honor and certainty in Othello.

Individuals struggle to restore honor and certainty in William Shakespeare’s Othello with nefarious schemes and lethal violence.

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In Othello, William Shakespeare challenges the idea that vicious manipulation is a way for an individual to restore honor and certainty. What propels the play is the dishonor that Iago feels once Othello names Cassio his lieutenant instead of him. Iago is certain that he should have been tapped...

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In Othello, William Shakespeare challenges the idea that vicious manipulation is a way for an individual to restore honor and certainty. What propels the play is the dishonor that Iago feels once Othello names Cassio his lieutenant instead of him. Iago is certain that he should have been tapped for the position. According to Iago, Cassio lacks the experience that he has when it comes to warfare. Iago dismisses Cassio as a “spinster” and derisively refers to Othello as “the Moor.”

To restore his honor, Iago launches a nefarious plot in which he leads Othello to believe that Desdemona, Othello’s wife, is having an affair with Cassio. The plan results in the death of Desdemona and Othello, and it puts Iago in prison. Iago’s stratagem indicates that an individual will go to lethally devious lengths to restore their honor.

Shakespeare also shows how individuals struggle to restore honor and certainty with Othello. Certainty seems to be a problem for Othello. What he is sure about changes. At first, he is sure that Iago is an honest human and that Desdemona is loyal to him. Later, he remains certain about Iago’s integrity, which is how Iago convinces Othello to be sure that Desdemona is cheating on him. Now that Othello accepts that his wife has betrayed him, he can restore his honor by killing her. Othello’s plight illustrates how an individual's wavering certainty and perceived dishonor can produce tragic outcomes.

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