Justice and Revenge in Othello Essay Example

Justice and Revenge in Othello Essay Example
📌Category: Literature, Shakespeare
📌Words: 1070
📌Pages: 4
📌Published: 07 June 2021

Many people try to seek justice, but it turns into revenge. We see this with the characters in Othello too. They all want to get justice but instead, they get revenge. In Othello Shakespeare suggests someone will go to extreme and violent measures to get justice when in they are only getting revenge, but revenge never helps anyone because the situation only gets worse. 

People go to extremes to seek justice, but instead their actions are revengeful. Through the play Iago is manipulating characters such as Othello and Roderigo because he is mad at Othello for giving the lieutenant sport to Cassio and uses Roderigo as part of the plan. During Act 1 we see Iago coming up with his plan. “But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor,/ And it is thought abroad that ‘twixt my sheets/ ‘Has done my office. I know not if ‘t be true,/ But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,/ Will do as if for surety. He holds me well” (1.3. 429-433). Iago is talking to himself. He has manipulated Roderigo into giving him money and is using the money to create a plan on how to destroy Othello and Cassio so he can get “justice.” Iago is not seeking justice; he is only out to hurt others and not actually making the situation better for anyone. In his soliloquy, Iago is clearly determined to hurt Othello. He says he hates Othello, which drives him to get revenge.

Hating someone is not a way to get justice only revenge. We later see Iago manipulating Othello in act 3. He is trying to get Othello to believe that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio. Othello does not believe him and asks for proof. So Iago goes and steals Desdemona's handkerchief from Emilia to show Othello their having an affair. “I know not that; but such a handkerchief-/I am sure it was your wife’s-did I today/ See Cassio wipe his beard with” (3.3. 496-498). Iago has stolen Desdemona's handkerchief and shows it to Othello to get him upset. He claims that Cassio was using it only to make Othello mad and to make him believe that Desdemona is having affair. Iago is not getting justice; he is not thinking about how his actions might affect the others around him. When Othello asks for proof that Desdemona is cheating on him, he goes to extremes and steals Desdemona's handkerchief from Emilia and gives it to Othello. Iago is trying to “help” Othello and believes he is seeking justice but in reality he is manipulating because he wants Othello to believe that Desdemona is having an affair so he will be made lieutenant.

Then a little later in the scene Iago tries and seeks justice again but this time with Cassio. They are out drinking at a bar and Iago decides that this is the perfect time to manipulate Cassio. “Am I to put our Cassio in some action/That may offend the isle” (2.3 63-64). Iago wants to get Cassio even more drunk then he currently is so he will pick a fight or do something horribly wrong that will offend everyone in Cyprus because then Othello will have to take the lieutenant position away from Cassio and give it to Iago. Iago is getting revenge on Cassio. He is jealous of Cassio because he got the lieutenant spot over him and wants to hurt Cassio, so he will get the lieutenant spot. This is not justice, this is revenge. Iago goes through extreme measures just to get justice but in reality it is revenge because people have wronged him. 

What revenge does to people

Revenge makes people’s lives worse because it results in misery. In the end of the play Othello, a lot of the characters get revenge on others by trying to kill them which only make their lives worse, and they end up miserable. Othello kills Desdemona but he later then regrets his actions. “From the possession of heavenly sight!/ Blow me about in winds, roast me in sulfur,/ Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire!/ O Desdemona! Dead, Desdemona! Dead! O, O!” (5.2.329-332). Othello Finally listened to others and Desdemona when they tell him ever cheated on him.Now Othello wants to kill himself and suffer. Othello got revenge on Desdemona because she allegedly slept with Cassio. Othello now realizes he made a mistake and therefore wants to suffer and wants to be killed because he killed Desdemona and made her suffer.

Killing Desdemona only made his life worse because he realizes he made a mistake and now he is living in that pain of realizing he was manipulated and he has no wife anymore and has to live in that pain. Othello is now mad at Iago because he has manipulated him into thinking Desdemona cheated on him and wants him to live and be miserable. “I am not sorry neither. i’d have thee live,/ For my sense ‘this happiness to die”(5.2. 340-341). Othello wants Iago to live and be in misery and see what he has caused. Because if Iago dies he will not see what he caused and will not be in misery. Othello believes he dies he will be relieved of all of the pain and misery Iago caused. But now he has nobody left around him, and he killed himself to be out of misery. Othello also believes that misery is worse than dying because when you are dead you do not feel anything, therefore he will not feel pain.

Othello wants Iago to feel the pain and see what he caused.Iago has made everyone's life worse because of all his manipulation and revenge. After killing Desdemona and leaving Iago in pain and misery he is now in pain too. He is miserable and wants to be dead.Othello believes he should get revenge on himself for what he did, so he decided to kill himself. “I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this,/ Killing myself, to die upon a kiss” (5.2. 420-421). Othello is all alone now. He got revenge on Iago which created misery and then got revenge on Desdemona which caused loneliness. Othello was upset that he believed Desdemona was not cheating on him. Because Othello allowed himself to be manipulated, he believes he should suffer, be dead and be in misery. Because of all of this, his life is worse. Revenge made is life worse. He wanted to get rid of this misery to get revenge on himself and be out of this pain. 

As you can see, the characters in Othello have turned on one another just to seek revenge and justice but it all resulted in misery, suffering, and death. These characters lives are worse than before because they have to deal with the pain that was caused and all of the aftermath. We see now that revenge is not the answer.


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