Saturday, November 9, 2019
To what extent is Othello a Hegelian tragedy Essay Example
To what extent is Othello a Hegelian tragedy Essay Example To what extent is Othello a Hegelian tragedy Paper To what extent is Othello a Hegelian tragedy Paper A Hegelian tragedy must have; a society in conflict and a series of opposing social forces that ultimately destroy themselves. It is argued that a Hegelian tragedy is not about the individual characters but rather what they represent. The beginning of the play Othello is set in Venice and the Venetian society is definitely portrayed to be in conflict. Firstly there is a war going on between Venice and the Turks. Othello is a general and plays a key role on the war. Eventually the venetians beat the Turks and Othello, Desdemona and the rest of the key characters go to stay in Cyprus. Secondly there is the conflict with race within the society. Othello, otherwise known as the moor, originates from North Africa and he is black. Many of the characters call his names such as thick lips and black ram as well as always referring to him as the moor. When Brabantio finds out that his daughter Desdemona is married to Othello, a black man, he thinks its monstrous and takes Othello straight to the duke. Lastly there are the constant arguments. In the opening scene of the play we see Roderigo and Iago arguing outside Brabantios house. Roderigo has paid iago a considerable amount of money to spy on Othello for him, since he wishes to take Othellos girlfriend, Desdemona as his own. Roderigo fears Iago has not been telling him enough and that this proves Iagos real loyalty is to Othello not him. Iago tells us of his hatred towards Othello for choosing Cassio as his new lieutenant and not him as he had expected. There are many opposing social forces in Othello; the main social forces are to do with white vs. black, love vs. lust, honesty vs. Lies and chaos vs. Order. The first social conflict to mention is black versus white. White people are seen to be generally higher up in society and black people lower down. It is clear that some of the white venetians strongly believe this statement should be the way forward for Venice and consequently they very raciest. This point is backed up firstly by Iagos hatred of Othello could be seen as partly being racially motivated. This is evident in his use of racially disparaging names for Othello. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Othello can be seen as a victim of racist ideology because he gives in to and accepts the racist constructions of himself. The opening scenes establish Othellos status as an outsider in Venice. Iagos hatred of Othello as racially motivated is emphasised especially in his description of Othello as his Moorship which implies that Iago sees Othellos high status as incompatible with his race. In a way, Venice is portrayed as a society in which there are competing ideas about race, because not everyone has a problem with Othello being black, especially Desdemona and of course the duke who likes othello and doesnt mind one bit that he is black. But it is also portrayed as a society where no one seems to be totally unaware of Othellos difference. To other opposing social forces are love and lust. In the play there are examples of both these aspects. True love is shown between Desdemona and Othello at the beginning of the play. The two love each other for who they are, rather than just how each other look. You can see from how they act at the beginning of the play by how they speak and interact with each other that they are truly in love. On the other hand, lust is brought up in the play on several instances. First there is Iago, believing women are only creatures of lust and nothing more. He doesnt seem to believe in love, even though he is married and his wife loves him. He mocks love, believing it is only lust that brings a man and a woman together. He makes a lot of sexual remarks and mocks women. Also there is Roderigo who is lusting after Desdemona, rather than loving her. He sees her as a prize, as he does not seem to know her at all. Also with Bianca and Cassio, he does not seem to really love her, and sees Bianca as more of an object of lust to him. There is a lot of lying in Othello but there is also honesty. When it is said that in Hegelian tragedies it is not about the individual characters but what they represent, we can say that Iago represents lies and Desdemona, even though she deceives her father, represents honesty. Iago does nothing but lie. Even lying to himself to convince himself of the lie for when he tells it to other people. Iago says at the beginning; I am not what I am this tells the audience that he is a liar and he is going to deceive the Venetian society in many ways. When Desdemona is accused of having an affair with Cassio she speaks the entire truth and doesnt lie at all. But sadly Othello believes the lies rather than the truth. There is a battle between order and chaos and this is shown throughout the entire play. Although Iago goes through lots of trouble to create chaotic events at the beginning Shakespeare tends to bring a sense of order into the play that calms down the previous events. This is shown when Brabantio visits the Duke with the issue of his daughter and Othello. The Duke makes the decision to leave Othello and Desdemona be and that Desdemona has chosen this path and Brabantio follows the Dukes decision. However Iago never stops trying to cause the chaos and as Othello sinks deeper into distrust of Desdemona and is more consumed by his jealousy, chaos increases and threatens to devour him. His suspicion of Desdemonas affair overpowers him and makes him mentally chaotic, leaving him in deep despair. To conclude Othello is to a great extent a Hegelian tragedy because it matches hugely all of the Hegelian traits, especially the opposing social forces and the play being set in a society in conflict.