Saturday, 7 April 2012

Intoduction to the role of pride in Othello

     In this blog spot, we deal with the theme of "pride" in Othello. The main two characters whose actions and motivations revolve around the theme of pridein this paly are Othello and Iago. Hubris would be an appropriate word to describe the main character Othello's excess of Pride. If Othello hadn't been so proud, he might have been able to talk to Desdomona about the issue of her faith and resolve it. Iago is an example of someone who has so little pride that he is jealous of, and feels hatred for, everyone around him. This causes him to feel the need to bring others down to his level. In othello there is a change in pride for most characters.Characters with no pride let their thirst for pride overtake their judgment about what is right. Characters with a lot of pride are easily munipulated, because they are so proud. Othello lets pride get the best of him, and this clouds his judgment to such an extent that he actually ends up murdering his wife because he falsely believes that she has been unfaithful to him and he feels humilated as a result.

Quotes and explainations about the role of pride in Othello

1.) "Awake! What, ho, Brabantio! Thieves! Thieves! Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags! Thieves! thieves!"-Iago, Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 81-83

This quote was chosen because of the key word “Theives; stealing in that time was very much a disrespectful thing, and if your daughter was “stolen” as Iago is trying to make Brabantio feel she was, it would be a very shameful issue.

2.)"Despise me, If I do not. Three great ones of the city,(In personal suit to make me his lieutenant)Off-capped to him, and by the faith of man."-Iago Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 8-11

In this scene, Iago is speaking about being overlooked for Othello’s Officer Position; his pride is very much damaged here, and in this quote, he expresses his hatred for Othello. This gives us a rare insight into the motives behind Iago’s actions.

3.)"I prithee, good Iago, Go to the bay and disembark my coffers."-Othello Act 2, Scene 1, lines 192-193

In this scene, Othello is asking Iago to go and find his trunks, which is essentially a task for an assistant. This type of belittlement further damages Iago’s pride.

4.)"This is my ancient, this is my right hand, and this is my left. I am not drunk now. I can stand well enough, and I speak well enough."-Cassio Act 2, Scene 3, lines 75

In this scene, Cassio is too proud to admit that he is in fact intoxicated. If he had made this fact public, he might have been able to get out of guard duty and not allow the chain of events to happen as they did.

5.)"Reputation, reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!"-Cassio Act 2, Scene 3, top of page

In this quote, Cassio is speaking of his destroyed reputation. "Reputation", in this context, is a word synonymous with pride. Cassio is very hurt because he knows that he has made a mistake, and in this scene is showing how his pride has been damaged as a result.

6.)"Poor and content is rich, and rich enough, But riches fineless is as poor as winter To him that ever fears he shall be poor. Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend From jealousy!" -Iago Act 3, scene 3, line 180
In this scene, Iago is playing on Othello’s pride, trying to make Othello believe that his pride is thought by others to be very fragile. Iago is saying to Othello that it’s important not to be jealous, angry, or feel little, in an attempt to make Othello experience all these emotions.

7.)"A hornèd man’s a monster and a beast."-Othello, Act 4, scene 1, line 5
     Here, Othello uses strong words (horned, beast) to associate with a man who has been cheated on. By this point, his pride is so damaged from being convinced that Desdemona is cheating on him that he doesn’t even feel that he is still human.

8.)”Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice?” -Othello, Act 4, Scene 1, 136
      Othello overheard Brabantio laughing at his own relationship with a prostitute, but thought that he was speaking of relations he had with Othello’s wife. In this scene, Othello seems very perturbed about the thought of another man taking his wife so jokingly like she is a plaything.

      9.)” If you are so fond over her iniquity, give her patent to offend, for if it touch not you it comes near nobody.”-Iago Act 4, Scene 1, 152          
      Here, Iago is telling Othello that he should give Desdomona permission to cheat on him if it’s not such a big deal. Iago is clearly trying to incite anger in Othello at the thought of his reputation being that low and damaged. This is a point at which Othello becomes blindly enraged in large part as a result of his damaged pride.

10.)”I cannot tell. Those that do teach young babes Do it with gentle means and easy tasks. He might have chid me so, for, in good faith, I am a child to chiding.”- Desdemona Act 4, scene 2, line 115

      In this quot,e Desdemona is talking about the way Othello is treating her, and how he used to be gentle with her. Now, he is acting as if she is used to abuse and has done terrible things. This is a shot at her pride, as well as demonstrating her husband's lack of pride.

11.)”I am no strumpet, but of life as honest As you that thus abuse me.”-Bianca, Act 5, scene 1, line 125

 In this quote Bianca, (a prostitute), is defending herself and her honor to people accusing her of having something to do with foul play. This scene gives an insight into her pride, as she feels the need to defend herself and state that she is an honest, good person despite her profession. Clearly, she has damaged pride from doing her work and feels like an easy target.

12.) “Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief Shore his old thread in twain.”-Graziano, Act 5, scene 2,line 216
In this scene, it is revealed that Desdemona’s father Brabantio has died. It is suggested here that he died due to his daughter’s elopement with the Moor; this is a good example of how serious damaged pride/honor was thought to be in that day.

                    Above is a plot summary for Shakespeare's Othello, taken from youtube.