Passion and Reason in Othello
Considering that ancient times, philosophers have considered the issue of balancing reason and passion. Misconceptions like the fall of Icarus inform of the calamities that take place when one takes precedence over the other– in this example, when passion supersedes reason. In his play Othello, Shakespeare illustrates this exact same dilemma in an altogether various style. 3 characters– Roderigo, Othello, and Iago– let passion override reason, with disastrous outcomes. Roderigo’s infatuation with Desdemona dominates his good sense.
At the beginning of the play, Roderigo is a rich young Venetian who had actually formerly stopped working to woo Desdemona. When he finds out of her marital relationship to Othello, Roderigo is heartbroken, and he irrationally threatens to “incontinently drown [himself] (I. iii. 305)”. Benefiting from this weakened state, Iago, under the premise of assisting in the wooing of Desdemona, obtains large amounts of money from Roderigo and convinces the boy to eliminate an opponent of his, Cassio. So desperately in love with Desdemona, Roderigo agrees with the plan and is eventually eliminated by his benefactor, Iago.
Roderigo’s passion for Desdemona had led him to attempted murder, hardship, and death. Both Roderigo and Othello let their love for Desdemona overrule reason. Othello begins the play as a high-ranking basic newly wed to Desdemona. He speaks just and eloquently, and is able to stop a conflict with only his words: “Keep up your brilliant swords, for the dew will rust them. (I. ii. 58-9)” His temperament shifts when Iago, his envious ensign, persuades him that Desdemona betrays, changing his enthusiastic love into fury.
He fiercely declares his “sweet Desdemon” (III. iii. 56) to be a “raunchy minx” (III. iii. 477), and irrationally accosts his better half with allegations she understands nothing about. His enthusiasm blinds him to the truth that Iago had actually incorrectly accused her, and his previous eloquence is transformed into savage ramblings. His anger sways him to the decision to murder Desdemona. Subsequently, he discovers that she is innocent, and kills himself in grief. Othello had started the play as an affordable guy, however his crazy passion culminates into the death of both his other half and himself.
His is the starkest tale of passion bypassing factor: factor had actually forsaken him, and that result in his death. Othello succumbs to enthusiasm since of the controls of others, however Iago leads himself to his doom. Early in the play, Iago is aware of the dilemma of balancing enthusiasm and reason, thinking that “we have factor to cool our raving movements, our carnal stings, our unbitted desires” (I. iii. 331-3). Iago believes he can control his passion with reason, but falls victim to the features of passion himself.
His statements of hatred towards Othello scatter the play, and, for the “simple suspicion” (I. iii. 391) that Othello has actually slept with his partner, he is embattled with the desire for revenge. His thirst for revenge leads him to the actions of an illogical guy: he drives Othello to fury with accusations of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness, threatens Emilia, his better half, and murders Roderigo. Iago’s obsession drives him to hurt those undeserving of his hatred, even after he reaches his goals of promotion and messing up Othello: he kills Emilia, in the hopes of silencing her.
Iago’s enthusiasm for revenge leads him to murder, and his actions do not go unpunished– it is chosen to abuse Iago for his criminal offenses. With the departure of factor, enthusiasm engulfs Roderigo, Othello, and Iago. The features of enthusiasm lead them to death, torture, and bad luck. Because ancient times, philosophers have actually cautioned against prioritizing enthusiasm over factor. In some ways, the tale of Othello parallels that of the Ancient Greek figure Icarus– in spite of all warnings, they end up being victims of fascination, leading to their plummets from the sun.