Is Othello a victim of a destiny and/or forces beyond his control, responsible for his own demise, or was it a combination of the two?

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One could argue that both destiny and individual choices result in Othello's eventual downfall. Othello's race plays an important role in his relationship with Desdemona and is something controlled by destiny. Othello cannot change the fact that he has dark skin, which makes him an enemy in Brabantio's eyes. One could assume that if Othello were a white man, Brabantio would not have an issue with Othello marrying his daughter. Othello would also not feel like an outcast in Venetian society, and his race would not affect his confidence. Fate also influences Othello's visit to Cyprus. If there had not been a violent storm that destroyed the Turkish fleet, Othello would probably have had less time to focus on Michael Cassio and contemplate his wife's infidelity. Destiny also plays a role in Desdemona accidentally losing her handkerchief, which is very important to Othello and presumably confirms his suspicions.

Despite the role of destiny and fate in Othello's life, he makes several independent decisions that lead to his downfall. Othello makes the mistake of completely trusting Iago and allows his jealousy to obscure his perspective. He also allows his low self-esteem to affect his thoughts regarding Desdemona and does not use proper judgment when analyzing the entire situation. Finally, Othello makes the independent decision to murder his wife and ends up killing the love of his life at the end of the play.

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I think the text of the play suggests that it is a mix of both.  The Othello that we come to know through the action of the play is a supremely capable and powerful general very confident in his own abilities as a soldier and leader of men.  He is too trusting in Iago but this is hardly a cause for concern on its own.

Yet when the Turkish fleet is destroyed and he no longer has a clear purpose in defending Cyprus from the dreaded Turks, he has nothing to occupy his time or his concern but Desdemona and the supposed cheating that Iago begins to tell him about.

The combination of his lack of confidence in navigating the intrigue and plots of court and people like Cassio and Desdemona and the fate that befalls him because of the sudden absence of an enemy combine to bring him to murder his beloved and then kill himself.

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