To what extent is loyalty at the heart of Othello?Hi, and thanks for taking the time to look at my question. I'm struggling with an Essay for school, and didn't know where else to look. I have...

To what extent is loyalty at the heart of Othello?

Hi, and thanks for taking the time to look at my question. I'm struggling with an Essay for school, and didn't know where else to look. I have structured my points as identifying the main loyalties in the play and how they intertwine to create the tragedy of Othello, but I don't think my Essay actually answers the question.
Does it?
Thanks a bunch

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

Posted on

I think that loyalty is at the center of the drama.  I think that an essay that explores this would have to discuss where human interactions are in terms of loyalty in the drama.  For example, how "men should be what they seem" and Iago's own statement "I am not what I am" are both reflections of how loyalty lies at the heart of the drama.  Both statements are addressed by loyalty.  Loyalty becomes the currency of value through which people can "be what they seem" for as they act with loyalty to others, their true nature is revealed through actions.  When they do not while they profess to be, it is here where Iago's statement is correct in that human beings are not what they are.  Loyalty is important because the characters search for it in their interactions with one another.  Othello searches for it in his relationship with Cassio and Desdemona, thinking he has found it with Iago.  Iago feels that Othello was not loyal to him and thus wages war to destroy him.  Emilia struggles with the loyalty that she is to show to Iago.  Cassio fights to be loyal to Othello, unclear as to what he has done to not be seen as loyal.  Brabantio curses Othello because his daughter was not loyal to him.  In these examples, one sees how loyalty is of vital importance, lying at the heart of the play.  It is Shakespeare's genius to construct a drama with the one emotion that causes more insecurity in the hopes of establishing security at its center.

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