The Poetry of E. E. Cummings
srjr27@yahoo.com (Drake Callahan)

In the dictionary morality is defined as, “the degree of conformity of an idea or
practice to moral principles”. This basically is refering to the way each character feels
about his/her actions. It shows if they posses morals. The morality of each individual in
the story Othello is different in many ways. Shakespeare has made characters that have
low morals, and characters that have high morals. In Othello he even has a character that
on the outside acts as if he has high morals, but to himself he knows that he is only acting
on a lie so in truth he has low morals. The minor characters in the play are used to bring
out or uncover the morals of each of the main characters. The main characters in the
story are Othello, Desdamona, Cassio and Iago. Each of them show their morality in
different ways. Some openly express their morals while others tend to hide it and keep it
to themselves. The minor characters of the play Othello, who are Emilia, Roderigo,
and Bianca Shakespeare does a wonderful job expressing the general theme of morality
in itself. Some authors even believe that the entire play is carried on morality alone. In
the play some of the characters attempt to be virtuous by doing what they think is right.

In truth though they don’t know that they are really being deceived behind their backs
and instead of being virtuous they are the total opposite and fail at their attempt. After
reading this play I can understand more of how a person can use morality in a story to
help emphasize a characters personality. To better understand the morality that exists in
the characters of this play you may look at childrens fables to see how characters may be
deceiving. In doing this it is easier to understand what Shakespeare is trying to
accomplish in Othello.

One of the more easier characters to understand is Desdamona. In the play she is
wed to Othello. Throughout the entire play the morality of her character does not change
once. She is what you might call a pure woman. This can be seen when she says to

Emilia, ‘Dost thou in conscience think, tell me, Emilia,/That there be women do abuse
their husbands,/In such gross kind.’(IV.iii.59-61). In this question that Desdamona asks

Emilia she cannot believe of what she’s being accussed because in her mind with the
morals that she believes in, cheating on your husband can never be done. This is a
complete shock to her. What Shakespeare has done is made it seem like she was brought
up in a good enviorment so that she has strong morals, hence high morality. This is
probably the only character in the story Othello who keeps strong moral beliefs
throughout the play. Her morality can also be viewed as a cause for her death at the end
of the play. If her morals wouldn’t of been so high she perhaps could have lied to get her
way out of being murdered. Instead she would not break and because of morality a
character is killed.

The character that has to help Desdamona get through all the probems she faces is
a minor character named Emilia. When ever Desdamona is troubled or confused about
something, her servant, who in this story is more of a friend, is the one who helps out

Desdamona and explain to her whats going on. This minor character has some truly
major affects. By saying to Desdamona: ‘Marry, I,/ would not do such a thing for a joint
ring, nor measures of lawn, nor,/ for gowns petticoats, nor caps,nor any petty exhibition;
but for the whole,/ world, who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a
monarch?,/ I should venture purgatory for‘t,(IV.iii.69-73)’. This is how she shows to

Desdamona how immoral acts are created and that’s how the world works.

The character in Othello who is truly immoral is Iago. But to someone who did
not really know what was going on in the story it could be very confusing. On the
outside Iago acts like he has high morality and he is helping everyone out with their
problems by giving them information. To himself, however, he knows that the only