In Act 2, Scene 3 of Othello, is Roderigo pitiable, comical, or something else?

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I think Roderigo is supposed to look the fool here. He has been soundly duped, and not only that, he's been beaten for his pains as well.

He's the type of character who allows the audience to feel good about ourselves...we laugh because he's *such* a fool, but we feel great because we know we're foolhardy, but we'd never be that dumb. Or so we wish to think...ha...ha.

Most of us would like to think that we'd see Iago coming and wise up after the first purse-full disappeared. The reality is that we're (most of us) more like Roderigo than we want to acknowledge. Whatever our unrealistic desires are, many of us have the potential to throw money away or to be tricked into believing that we can, with a little more time and money, achieve our ends.

So when we laugh, it's not entirely derisive. It's that laugh we laugh when we're exposed and we feel stupid. Yes, he's a fool and we feel sad for him, but we also feel a twinge of discomfort because there, but for the grace of the gods, we could go.

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An interesting question. I have to say, I found him mostly pathetic and unlikable. Yes, everything he says is true, and there's a certain dignity in haring after the woman you love even if she's married…but come on! He has, as he himself says, spent all his money and been beaten, and for what? He's got nothing for it, and Iago is advancing his plans.

I do think it likely, though, that an Elizabethan audience would find the scene funnier than we do. They had harsher senses of humor, at least judging by some of the comedy in Shakespeare's plays.

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