How is Othello driven into insanity and ultimately suicide?
Rational and Stable
A. “With all my heart.” (1.3.314-315)
Othello proclaims that he would never disregard his formal responsibilities even if Desdemona is
with him. He then asserts, “With all my heart,” clarifying he will perform with his whole heart in
both his duties and relationship with Desdemona.
B. “My life upon her faith! —Honest Iago,
My Desdemona must I leave to thee.
I prithee, let thy wife attend on her,
And bring them after in the best advantage.
Come, Desdemona, I have but an hour
Of love, of worldly matter and direction,
To spend with thee. We must obey the time.” (1. 3.335 -342)
Othello says to Iago that he would wager his own life on Desdemona’s loyalty. This incident
foreshadows the irony of him falling to believe Desdemona cheated with Cassio. This,
demonstrates how Iago will ultimately take advantage of Othello’s vulnerable and trusting
C. “It gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. Oh, my soul’s joy!
If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have wakened death,
And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas
Olympus-high, and duck again as low
As hell’s from heaven! If it were now to die,
‘Twere now to be most happy, for I fear
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.” (2.1.199-209)
Othello is united with Desdemona and pronounces that death would be worth it all if Desdemona
was with him in the end. This represents strength and stability in Othello and Desdemona’s love
D. “Amen to that, sweet powers!
I cannot speak enough of this content.
It stops me here; it is too much of joy.
And this, and this, the greatest discords be (kissing her)
That e’er our hearts shall make!” (2.1.213-217)
Desdemona tells Othello that their relationship will only grow stronger with time. Othello
agrees and states that their love overwhelms him greatly. This demonstrates Othello’s
emotional stability and full love for Desdemona.
E. “Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul
but I do love thee! And when I love thee not,
Chaos is come again.” (3.3.100-103)
After Othello’s discussion with Desdemona he states and rationalizes that if he stops loving her
the world would fall back into chaos— essentially Othello is in a confused state in which he
believes that his love or lack there of regulates disorder and chaos. At this point, Othello is
reluctant to accept what Iago is telling him.
F. “I’ll see before I doubt, when I doubt, prove,
and on the proof there is no more but this:
Away at once with love or jealousy!” (3.3.221-223)
Othello is back and forth with his emotions and ideas. Here, he thinks exceptionally highly of
Desdemona. He declares that he wants to see proof about her dishonesty in order to believe what
Iago is telling him.
G. “I have a pain upon my forehead, here” (3.3.326)
Iago plants the foundations of jealousy in Othello’s mind and then Othello complains of
having a headache. This expresses that Othello is beginning to think that Desdemona has
been adulterous and disloyal – Othello’s emotions are indeed heading for anger.
H. “Arise, black vengeance, from the hollow hell,
Yield up, O love, they crown and hearted throne
To tyrannous hate!” (3.3.507-509)
Othello is blinded with hatred for Cassio because of the jealousy Iago imposed upon him through
deceiving him to believe that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. Othello says this to
display his emotions and illustrate how angry he is.
I. “A horned man’s a monster and a beast.” (4.1.77)
Othello is expressing that Desdemona’s infidelity has made him into a beast. At this point, his
state of mind is full of wrath and completely out of place.
J. “I will chop her into messes! Cuckold me?” (4.1.221)
Othello is bursting with anger at the fact that Desdemona made him into a “cuckold” – a man
whose has been cheated on him by his wife. Othello, felt completely emasculated and as if his
dignity was shattered.
K. “By the world,
I think my wife be honest and think she is not.
I think that thou art just and think thou art not.
I’ll have some proof. Her name, that was as fresh
As Dian’s visage, is now begrimed and black
As mine own face. If there be cords or knives,
Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams,
I’ll not endure it. Would I were satisfied!” (3.3. 438-445)
Othello questioned Iago for evidence that Desdemona is in fact actually being disloyal. Othello is
suspicious of Desdemona’s character, however at the same time he is also becoming increasingly
more consumed by jealousy.
L. “I had been happy if the general camp,
Pioneers and all, had tasted her sweet body,
So I had nothing known. Oh, now forever
Farewell the tranquil mind! Farewell content!
Farewell the plume?d troops and the big wars
That makes ambition virtue! Oh, farewell!
Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th’ ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!
And O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
The immortal Jove’s dead clamors counterfeit,
Farewell! Othello’s occupation’s gone.” (3.3.397-409)
Othello misguidedly is lead to believe Desdemona has cheated on him with Cassio. He feels like
his masculinity has been taken and as if can no longer be a soldier. Othello is in desolation and
says goodbye to peace of mind and happiness! Othello truly feels like is whole life over.
M. “Minion, your dear lies dead,
And your unblest fate hies. Strumpet, I come.
For, of my heart, those charms, thine eyes, are blotted.
Thy bed, lust-stained, shall with lust’s blood be spotted.” (5.1. 36-41)
Othello thinks that Desdemona has not been loyal to him. He justifies that it is suitable for him to
murder his wife and stain the sheets on the bed they slept in with one another as husband and
N. “O perjured woman, thou dost stone my heart,
And mak’st me call what I intend to do
A murder, which I thought a sacrifice!
I saw the handkerchief.” (5. 2.78-81)
Desdemona questioned why Othello wanted her to die. Othello next tells Desdemona that he sees
that she is being dishonest about having a connection with Cassio, consequently he is going to
O. “She’s like a liar gone to burning hell!
‘Twas I that killed her.” (5. 2.159-160)
Othello justifies himself through his assumptions of Desdemona’s lies. Then, he admits to Emilia
he was the one who indeed killed her.
P. “I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this,
Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.” (5.2 .420-421)
In Othello’s last words he addresses, Desdemona, his murdered wife. He kissed her before he
killed her and he kisses her once again before he kills himself. His love, anger, and subsequent
jealousy was what actually killed Desdemona. Imaginably, if Othello never adored and loved
Desdemona he would have never been driven into insanity. Hence, as his own punishment
Othello kisses Desdemona once more and then takes his life.
How is Othello driven into insanity and ultimately suicide?
Both Anger and jealousy work as essential functions in Shakespeare’s play Othello. The
tragic hero, Othello, is undoubtedly controlled and manipulated by deception and dishonesty. He
is driven into insanity and ultimately suicide by the fabricated allegations that his wife,
Desdemona, cheated on him. In the beginning Othello was full of both trust and love for his wife.
He proclaims that he he would gamble his own life on Desdemona’s loyalty. Moving forward in
the play, Iago uses his deceptive abilities to convince Othello of Desdemona’s dishonesty and
command his actions through his vulnerable character. However, at first Othello is reluctant to
accept what Iago is telling him and declares that he wants to see proof about her dishonesty in
order to believe what he is being told. Never the less, Iago wins and plants the foundations of
jealousy in Othello’s mind. Desdemona’s infidelity has made Othello into a beast –At this point,
his state of mind is full of rage. Othello begins to feel like his whole life is over as he is in
complete desolation. He says goodbye to his peace of mind and happiness and begins to justify
that it is suitable for him to murder his wife because he sees that she is being dishonest about
having a connection with Cassio. Consequently, he murders her. He then becomes aware that he
was being deceived the whole time. As his own punishment Othello kisses Desdemona once
more and then takes his own life. All of the deception and dishonesty pushed Othello into a sate
of insanity that caused him to kill his wife and eventually kill himself.