[email protected]English Othello Charlie AndersonDiscuss a theme/s in the play that relate to modern society.
Through history there are endless cases of empires with a huge amount of internal and external control falling sacrifice to corruption. There is a saying that the modern world has been accustomed to “power corrupts”. In Othello one of the key themes is control and how this causes corruption. We see the shift in control throughout the play from the hands of the authoriser to the manipulator. Othello’s control is taken and stolen by Iago and remains absent as our protagonist remains the puppet of corruption, until the the symbol of Venetian order Lodovico arrives. This idea of control abides ever present in today’s world as we hear and see the continuing breakdown of society.
In the beginning of the play Othello is in control over his army acting as General. This entitles him to a large amount of power over the army, having the ability to order the forces at will. In act 1 we can see his confidence in his position against the Turks “Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them”. He stays in control of his army and emotionally with his love Desdemona, there is no sign to show that he doubts her loyalty and he thrives on the situation that no one is challenging this power.
Iago as the controller of the corruption os able to invoke conflict into this seemingly beautiful relationship. He is a symbol of all the reasons that power has caused damage in society, by controlling the discord he is able to easily destroy it with no more than a carefully laid plan. We see his intents revealed through his actions, firstly trying to cause anger in Brobantio’s mind “an old black ram is tupping your white ewe”. Then his convincing of Rodrigo to fight Cassio as Iago tells him Desdemona loves him. Soon after Iago’s turning point of gaining Othello’s prerogative by making him witness the handkerchief in the possession of Bianca “dam her lewd minx”. By gaining Othello’s emotional power he then captures the military power that Othello so loves “Now thou art my lieutenant”. Now at the pinnacle of his control Iago despite his control over the situation lets corruption interlude.
Iago’s control of Othello increases at every step of his plan however as progressive control becomes absolute control, corruption is soon to follow. Through a series of tragic events the corruption that was so inevitable occurs. Iago kills Rodrigo, the first sign that Iago’s plan is being foiled by the control that got him in his peak of power. Othello bound by Iago’s lies and his jealousy of Cassio and Desdemona takes her life in anger after her pleas to spare her “Kill me tomorrow , let me live tonight”. Then Emilia enters to find the scene and insults Othello’s jealousy revealing “O thou dull Moor! That handkerchief thou speak’st of I found by fortune and did give my husband.”Iago stabs Emilia, Othello wounds Iago and then as a final act of his corrupted power he takes his own life.
This chain of events hugely chaotic which occurs straight after Iago’s peak. In summary Othello’s control is stolen by Iago, and Iago’s overbearing control of Othello’s emotions causes chaos and absence of control until Lodovico arrives at the end of the story. Shakespeare’s Othello is a direct commentary on society. The theme of control in society, apparent to Shakespeare in this play, is a prevalent view of society today.