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Critical Analysis of Shakespeare’s, “Othello”, Act V, Scene II Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jan 8th, 2022

Introduction

Act five, scene two involves mysterious events that result in a series of deaths. In this scene, Desdemona and Emilio are killed as a result of a false allegation. They are portrayed as unfaithful women who betray their husbands. Othello, a husband to Desdemona realizes later that Desdemona was a faithful and loving woman. The same case applies to Emilio who is stabbed to death accidentally while Othello was trying to stab Iago. Cassio is accused of having a secret affair with Othello‘s wife. This was after Cassio was seen holding Desdemona’s handkerchief. The handkerchief is dubbed as ‘the handkerchief of death’. The paper explores and analyses some of the events that unfold in the scene. Othello portrayed as their main character eventually dies while holding Desdemona’s body.

Main body

According to Haddon (pp.169), when Othello enters Desdemona‘s room she finds her deep asleep.Othello is determined to kill her however her beauty and innocent appearance restrict Othello. Although Othello is furious, when Desdemona wakes up she tells her to repent her sins before he dies. Desdemona claims she is innocent and she has no power of preventing Othello from killing her. There is a huge contrast of events in this scene. According to Othello, Desdemona’s outside appearance portrays her as a righteous, well-behaved, and innocent woman however her inner attributes and behavior reflect a woman with a black soul. The incident portrays metaphor where Othello is confused by the beauty of Desdemona and soft voice. As a result, he declines to kill her brutally despite furious and angered emotions. Although Desdemona is beautiful and soft-spoken she is sure Othello will finally kill her. While Othello starts smothering and suffocating her, a knock is heard on the door. Emilia knocks to know what is going on. Othello tries to hide and conceal Desdemona who she thinks is dead. Killing Desdemona by smothering, portrays imagery of the unsettled emotions and feelings of Othello. His action was based on a belief Cassio had a secret affair with Desdemona however Emilia insists that his wife is faithful and loving. Although he kills Desdemona, Othello feels guilty and remorseful. He is also grieved by his action and does not want to admit Desdemona is dead

After learning of Desdemona death, Emilia reaction and decision to confront Othello for the crime committed does not bear positive results. Emilia also faces a similar death as Desdemona after Othello accidentally stabs her while trying to stab Iago. Despite a demand from Othello and Cassio to know the truth, Iago declines saying anything about the incidence. Although the two are killed because of betrayal allegations, it is later known they die without any wrong doing. The truth is only known after Emilio reveals that handkerchief was a fixation and a token that could influence Othello to believe her wife was unfaithful. Othello has been trying to safeguard his public image and reputation which he uses as the main reasons for killing Desdemona. Based on his action and behavior, Othello appears to be possessive but does not admit. Eventually Othello tries to die in a honorable way that will maintain his reputation. Although Othello is a human, his flaws and follies symbolize a tragic figure. Iago is involved in the death of three innocent people. Portray him as an evil person in the society. After his death Othello wealth and possession is inherited by Gratian (Gioia and Kennedy pp 124).

Works cited

Gioia, Dana, and Kennedy, X.J. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, 6th ed. Boston: Longman, 2011.

Haddon, John. Teaching Reading Shakespeare. Taylor & Francis publishers, 2009.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Critical Analysis of Shakespeare’s, "Othello", Act V, Scene II." January 8, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/critical-analysis-of-shakespeares-othello-act-v-scene-ii/.

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