Write a speech to a hsc student about human condition in Othello. Give reference to one character and one theme. For centuries, William Shakespeare has captured the hearts of men and women with his tragedies. His plays explore human existence and raise questions about what it means to be human; allowing the audience to relate to his characters despite the era in which the play was produced. Good morning students, today I am going to discuss what role the human condition plays in the plot of Shakespeare’s play, Othello.
In ‘The tragedy of Othello: the Moor of Venice’, Shakespeare probes into the human condition by creating characters who present distinguishing qualities of human emotion such as jealousy. It is a tale revolving around a central character named Othello, who is deceived by jealous men and in turn becomes jealous himself. The moral conveys a close application of the concerns of human life and excites the audience’s sympathy through this. Throughout the play, we see how Othello’s nature and attitudes change from the fondest love for his wife, Desdemona, and unbounded confidence to the tortures of jealousy.
Jealousy is a human quality that transcends time and place. The revenge of Othello, after it has once taken possession of his mind, grows stronger at every moment of its delay and leads to his eventual downfall. His raging thoughts till his revenge highlights the painful regrets and involuntary recollections of past circumstances which cross his mind and aggravate his sense of wrongs. This is depicted when Iago shows him Cassio with the handkerchief in his hand, making Othello feel betrayed, bitter and full of shame. Iago provokes Othello to manipulate his jealous side, leading to a sequence of events, ending in his death.
Iago warns him of this. He says ‘O beware, my lord of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on. ’ This evokes and shows the darker nature of the human soul, as a once noble character seeks to satisfy selfish desires and take revenge. The suppressed jealousy of Othello makes him relapse into a momentary fit of weakness and he says ‘yet, oh, the pity of it Iago! ’ and the returning fondness is steered by Iago to fuel Othello’s revenge and set his heart against his innocent wife. Othello wrestles with the idea of Desdemona’s infidelity, and Iago is the driving force behind this insecurity.
Shakespeare creates the nature of the Moor to be noble, confiding, tender and generous; but once being roused by a sense of his wrongs, is not stopped by considerations of remorse or pity until the release of all that which fueled his rage and despair. In doing this, Shakespeare reveals how human nature involves rapid changes of feelings and emotions. Othello’s conversations with Desdemona, the persuasion of her guilt and the immediate proofs of her duplicity seem to inflame Othello’s resentment of her, but in the final scenes of the play, the recollection of his love returns and he forgets his wrongs in the sense of his loss.
He says ‘My wife! My wife! What wife? I have no wife Oh, unsupportable! Oh heavy hour! ’ His remorse becomes as dreadful as his revenge has been and his farewell speech is equal to his first speech in which he courted her. It is in working Othello’s noble nature up to this extremity through these transitions and painting the conflicting emotions of jealousy and remorse that Shakespeare develops a deep investigation of the human heart. He unfolds the strengths and weaknesses of human nature by putting in motion the various impulses that agitate people and blends them with passion.
If anything could add to the force of our sympathy with Othello, or compassion for his fate, it would be the generosity of his nature, although he so little deserves it. When Iago first begins to act upon his unsuspecting friend, he answers: ‘Tis not to make me jealous, to say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company, is free of speech, sings, plays and dances well: Where virtue is, these are most virtuous. Nor from my own weak merits will I draw the smallest fear or doubt of her revolt, for she had eyes and chose me. ’ This exemplifies the idea that innocent virtue can be misinterpreted and manipulated to lead to their tragic downfall.
Within this play, fundamental questions about humanity, as well as situations, attitudes, and problems that continue to hold strong universal meaning to this day are explored . It shows Shakespeare’s ability to create characters who resemble real life individuals and reflect lifestyles and personalities accurately. You could not help but be moved by the dark despair and utter wretchedness of Othello’s downfall! Shakespeare has dramatically explored many aspects of the human condition in this play, The Tragedy of Othello.