.. n Desdemona and Cassio was implanted in Othello’s head, Iago built up his trust with the moor by saying, “O, beware, my lord of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”(3,3,195) Iago, being a man of skills and tricks, bewares Othello of the dangers of jealousy.. the same jealousy being instilled in Othello by Iago. He relentlessly plays off Othello’s gullibility throughout the play. Othello’s gullibility led him to believe lies and insinuations by Iago. “What Iago injects into Othello’s mind, the poison which he changes him, is either false deductions, dubious generalizations, or flat lies.”(Gardner, 142) Othello was succumbed by all of the insinuations and lies.
The lies in the play are stressed in critical essays. Othello’s gullibility, his tragic flaw, was the underlying reason of his downfall. Othello eventually became overtaken with all of the jealousy that was in his mind. The battle between love and hate going on in Othello’s mind was clearly evinced in the statement, “Farewell the tranquil mind! Farewell content! Farewell the plumed troops and the big wars that makes ambition virtue! O Farewell!”(3,3,400) Othello was enraged at all the “evidence” of an affair given to him by Iago. The proof that he had received was sufficient. Othello then plans to murder Desdemona and Cassio.
Othello’s statement also relates to his statement that his life is good with love. When Othello lost his love, his life turned to chaos. At that point, Iago realized that his plan worked perfectly and that he had Othello in his grips. Iago’s statement, “Work on, my medicine work! Thy credulous fools are caught, and many worthy and chaste danes even thus, All guiltless, met reproach.”(4,1,53) shows that Othello was gullible. He clearly called Othello a “credulous fool.” Iago comments on the people he caught and the ease of trickery. Othello was clearly manipulated by a person that recognized his natural flaws and used them to his advantage. Othello was made into a fool by Iago, a person that had drive and mental capacity to use someone’s psyche to his benefit.
Shakespeare portrayed Othello as one of the most loving persons. He lived for the love and care of a person. The way that he was turned to hatred was ironic. “Even though Othello was Shakespeare’s most loving man, he was subjected and succumbed by the pull of Iago.”(Stoll, 323) Iago’s scheming inevitably caused Othello’s turn for the worse. ‘”Othello had suffered an overpowering delusion.”(Stoll, 325) The overpowering delusion that he suffers was due to his beliefs of an affair. His primal qualities led him to easily believe anything that was presented to him. Othello’s false beliefs drove him into extreme anger and made him plot to kill his wife and lieutenant.
The final stages of the play reveal the true gullibility of Othello to the other characters. Iago agreed to help kill Desdemona and Cassio. With Othello, they made a vow of brotherhood to kill his wife and his former lieutenant. When Othello finally did go through with his plan, the dying Desdemona reassured her faith to him. Othello believed Iago and his own false deductions instead of his own wife. Desdemona didn’t realize Othello’s flaws.
In her statement, “And but my noble moor is true of mind and made of no such baseness as jealous ones are, it were enough to put them to ill thinking.”(3,4,25) she judged Othello opposite to what he really was. She didn’t suspect that Othello would suspect her for an affair. In reality, Othello was a gullible person drawn into jealousy and falseness by Iago. Othello had accomplished his plan of killing his wife and destroying a marriage that no reason to be torn apart. Desdemona was the victim of a plot by a gullible man drove into rage because of lies.
When Emilia confronted Othello, he admitted to killing his wife but said that she was untrue to him. Emilia repeatedly told Othello that it wasn’t true. He responded to Emilia by saying, “Ay, ’twas he that told me on her first. An honest man he is, and hates the slime that sticks on filthy deeds.”(5,2,179) Othello’s gullibility is also exhibited in this statement. He believed Iago and his lies because he thought that Iago was honest. Othello was drawn in by the appearance of Iago that was given to him. Iago’s scheming was so powerful that Othello praised him for his “honesty.” Othello and Iago were finally caught and their plot was revealed.
Iago didn’t go through with his vow to kill Cassio. Othello told the officials his reasons for committing murder and that Iago told him of an affair. Iago’s response was, “Demand me nothing. What you know, you know. From this time forth, I never will speak a word.”(5,2,335) Iago told Othello and the others that he didn’t tell Othello about an afar.
He just made insinuations and suggestions about one. Othello really didn’t know of an affair between Desdemona and Cassio. His gullibility led him to be overtaken with appearances. Othello didn’t make any real attempt to find out the truth. He relied on Iago to provide a picture of what he thought happened. Because of Othello’s mistake to seek the truth, his inevitable downfall became realized when he killed himself.
Othello’s tragic flaw was being gullible. His background of baseness made him a weak minded person. Iago was an evil man who wanted to see the downfall of Othello. He recognized Othello’s flaw and used it to his benefit. Iago’s scheme consisted of images and appearances of an affair, but not evidence of one. Othello’s stature, and downfall make him a true tragic hero.
His tragic flaw, gullibility, the defining criteria of a tragic hero, made Othello a man that he never thought he would be. Othello became a person filled with rage and hatred who wanted to resolve the chaos in his life by putting an end to the affair that he believed was going on. All the structure’s of Othello’s character makes him a prime example for a Aristotelian tragic hero.