Othello - Change of Characters

Othello\'s character during the play is first shown as a hero
of war and a man of great pride and courage. The other main
characters in the play all form their own opinions of him and as the
play continues, his character begins to deteriorate and become less
noble. Chronologically through the play Othello\'s character changes
from a flawless military leader, to become a murderer. Also as the
play progresses, the other characters in the play change their
opinions of Othello which causes the plot to happen the way it did.

Throughout the first act of the play, Othello was shown as
many different characters depending on who was speaking. Iago
complains of Othello\'s pride and "bombast circumstance" and is angered
by the appointment of Cassio, and educated military theoretician of

Florence to lieutenant, instead of himself. Although he knows Othello
is a proud man, his open and trusting nature in the beginning of the
play will be eroded by the conclusion of the plot. As Iago is
speaking to Brabantio about Othello, he uses the term "white ewe" to
represent Desdemona, and "black ram" when referring to Othello. By
using these terms, it shows that he is trying to give a bad impression
of Othello when he is speaking to the royal family in Venice, because

Othello is a Moor or a Negro. Iago shows his black hatred for the

Moor, and his jealousy of Cassio in his first soliloquy and also
reveals his evil intentions. As the act continues and Othello is
being searched for by a group of people, Iago attempts to incite

Othello into anger against Brabantio, but Othello does not take the
bait. He feels that he (Brabantio) may do his worst because Othello
is assured that his military services to the government will outweigh

Brabantio\'s complaints of him marrying Desdemona. These answers to

Iago\'s persistence show that he is still a character of calmness and
dignity, and he still has the self-assurance suitable to command
armies of men.

When Othello is found by Cassio, he seems to be relieved
because he does not like personal conflict, which would have occurred
if Brabantio had found him instead. After he is found, Othello is
taken to Brabantio where he is interrogated on how he possessed

Desdemona enough in order to make her run off with him. Brabantio
damns Othello and calls him an enchanter, saying that the "tender,
fair, and happy" Desdemona was too shy of marriage, which is why she
shunned all of the suitors sent to her. This entire scene helps to
establish Othello as an alert and composed leader. Later in this act,

Othello offers to explain how he won Desdemona. He chooses not to
contradict or deny that he has used "magic" but when the true meaning
of the "magic" comes to light it is shown that he used the magic of
love and not a conjured magic. Iago also suspects Othello of having
some kind of relationship with his own wife, although he doesn\'t know
or even seem to care whether or not his suspicions have any foundation
at all. Again, according to Iago, Othello is an "ass" because he has
a "free and open nature." This act works as an introduction to the

Othello character and shows how other characters react to his presence
in different ways.

The remaining acts of the play continue to show how the
characters react to Othello\'s lifestyle changes. Even though he must
rid Cassio of his lieutenant responsibilities forever, Othello
explains how he still loves him. If it were up to him Othello would
have reinstated Cassio at the first opportunity, but this would be bad
political practice. He wishes to appease Desdemona by doing this but
he realizes that he can\'t. These practices show that he is a good
governor and does not wish to arouse hostilities in the city, with an
untimely pardon of Cassio. Desdemona tells Emilia that Othello is not
the jealous type, which Othello believes to be true himself. However,
as the play progresses through Act 3, Othello talks to Iago telling
him that their prior conversation gave him reason to suspect

Desdemona\'s motives. As a reader, you can see that Othello\'s capacity
for judgement has deteriorated up to this point, not only is his state
of mind changing due to Iago\'s constant prodding, but his morals have
also deteriorated along with his character.

As the play winds to a close, the characters continue to show
their own opinions on Othello. Many of the characters have changed
their initial opinions because of Othello\'s obvious attitude change,
but Iago is one of the only characters that