What is the distinctive impression that Othello leaves?What is the distinctive impression that Othello leaves?

Asked on by lillyan

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As with any work of literature, the feeling that the ending will leave you with will vary depending on each person, but I think that we can make a rough generalisation regarding this play. The tragedy and the way it concludes with Othello nobly killing himself leaves us feeling rather shocked and horrified by what has occurred. We feel anger and hatred towards Iago for all that he has achieved and how his foul purposes have been accomplished, yet we feel gladness that his complicity is discovered and that he will be punished. At the same time I think Othello's last speech, when he remembers how he served the state by defending it. His plea that people should "Speak of [him] as [he is]" is moving in its simplicity, and his last speech accurately reflects on where he went wrong and the mistakes that he made:

Then must you speak

Of one that loved not wisely, but too well;

Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought,

Perplexed in the extreme; of one whose hand,

LIke the base Indian, threw a pearl away

Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,

Albeit unused to the melting mood,

Drops tears as fast as the Arabian trees...

These images bestow a real dignity upon the character of Othello, and we see him as a passionate, intelligent but flawed individual who nevertheless has the courage and bravery to salvage what glory and honour he can by killing himself. Our sympathy for his character is assured.

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