Revenge And Destruction In Othello And The Tempest

2007 words - 9 pages

A revenge play or revenge tragedy is a form of tragedy which was extremely popular in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. One of the best-known Shakespearean revenge tragedies is Othello and tragic comedy is The Tempest. And the most prominently occurring and important aspects of human nature that appear in Shakespeare’s work is the concept of revenge. The main idea of this essay is to show how Revenge leads to Destruction in Shakespearean plays – Othello and The Tempest. The crux of the thesis is ‘neither the avenger is benefited nor the victim’.
In William Shakespeare’s Othello we are taken on a journey with Iago whose thirst for revenge is the main cause for ...view middle of the document...

In the process of taking revenge, Iago hurts and destroys several other supporting characters. Iago is Shakespeare’s one of the most popular antagonists. Most importantly, what is it that creates a desire in him to destroy Othello? Cassio’s promotion to lieutenantship over Iago could be one of his reasons to commit revenge on Othello, and another reason could be the rumours about his wife Emilia sleeping with him “And it is thought abroad that ‘twixt my sheets’ has done my office” (I.3.430-431). Few other possible reasons could be, a Moor, who is his superior, a black, marrying a lady like Desdemona. In order to achieve his revenge, Iago discredits Cassio in the eyes of Othello and gets him removed from his office. Iago is an intelligent character who uses his tactics to manipulate others. He is clever, eloquent, charismatic, and always has a perfect sense for timing. He is able to create an exact analysis of other people’s strength and weaknesses. He makes Othello believe that Cassio talked about Desdemona, while he is actually talking about Bianca and his sexual relationship with her. He also manipulates Othello against Desdemona saying that she slept with Cassio “Look at your wife; observe her well with Cassio (III.3.228). This becomes the juncture where Othello’s attitude which turns into obsessive jealousy. Through this, he achieves his goal of destroying the marital and relationship of Othello and Desdemona. He also leads to the self-destruction of Othello when he manipulates him against his wife and continually talks against her. This causes Othello to fall into a trance where he suffers from seizures with foam in his mouth. Othello also ponders over his decision of taking revenge from Desdemona for deceiving him and to add fuel to the fire, Iago instigates Othello saying that the handkerchief he gave to her is with Cassio “ I am sure it was your wife’s did I see today Cassio wipe his beard with” (III.3.497-498). At the end Othello ends up murdering Desdemona which lead to his own destruction when he kills himself. Iago acquired his goal of committing revenge on Othello, however caused his own downfall by murdering his wife Emilia and also got himself arrested. His thirst for revenge not only destroyed his victims, but also himself.
The plot in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” revolves around Prospero enacting his revenge on characters who have wronged him in different ways. What’s interesting is that even though the play’s rising action indicates that Prospero seeks vengeance, it’s not a revenge tragedy. Fortune had brought his enemies within his grasp and Prospero seizes the opportunity for revenge. Prospero’s desire for vengeance and the sudden advent of his foes stimulates the will to action. Prospero wants to commit revenge mainly on his brother Antonio. Antonio usurped the dukedom of Prospero. He actually wanted to murder Prospero. But fearing the people, Antonio abstains from murdering Prospero and his daughter but sets them...

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