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What Can Lawyers Learn From ‘Othello’? Essay


Written by William Shakespeare, Othello is a fascinating story, whose setting is on a street in the provincial capital of Veneto, Venice. Shakespeare has employed one of the literature elements by using major characters like, Othello, a hero and the head of armies, Desdemona, Othello’s covert wife, Michael Cassio, Othello’s deputy, Lago, ranked below the lieutenant, among others. Following Cassio’s promotion by Othello, Lago has not been in his terms because, according to him, he deserved the promotion.

He declares his hate to his boss, Othello, and secretly manipulates a way of bringing Cassio down from that rank. Cassio later gets the demotion! This story is rich in lessons for all people, but Shakespeare seems to have dedicated it to lawyers. In his works, Shakespeare likens Lago to a lawyer. Shakespeare wanted them to learn that manipulation, as expounded below, is a vice, and ought to appear nowhere in their services to people.

Othello’s secret wife, known to be more than a friend, is compassionate enough to assist in whichever situation one is in, provided she is able to. Lago’s plan to have Cassio demoted succeeds. Cassio is demoted, not because he has offended anybody, neither is it based on his job performance.

However, he is demoted anyway! Lago is a fox, whose words seem well organised and sensitive as if they are true, but hardly are they. “This is a key Lago tactic. One of the ways he is so successful at controlling others is by leveraging their positive qualities to serve his own ends” (Maslanka October 7, 2010). Lago intentionally approaches Othello’s wife and owing to her sympathetic attribute, he convinces her that if she raises Cassio’s issue of demotion before her husband, he (Cassio), will be restored.

This happens, a case that induces questions to Othello, who wants to know why his wife should be the one talking on behalf of Cassio. He imagines an underway relationship between the two, a situation that forces him to kill his wife. In this case, Lago is responsible for the death of the innocent Desdemona, because of his manipulative trait. It is a lesson to lawyers who bear the same character that whatever they do, will affect them at some point.

In addition, the issue of rationality, as portrayed by many lawyers, is quite sensitive. They ought to apply it with a lot if vigilance. Many people, driven by their ill motives, end up creating stories that favour them on the expense of others. Lago has been tirelessly looking for a promotion, which he never gets. He approaches Othello and raises the issue of the unfaithfulness of Desdemona. He posits that she has been having affairs with Cassio, though it is a lie.

Othello accepts the lie, even without consulting his wife to confirm the validity of the act, showing how rational he is. He ends up depriving her of her life even after others like Emilia rise to support Desdemona’s faithfulness. Shakespeare is addressing the lawyers who, based on invalid excuses from their clients, end up applying the trait of rationality wrongly. They ought to investigate matters first, before declaring sentences to those claimed guilty by others.

Moreover, Lawyers ought to be wise when tackling the subject of promotion or demotion of employees. A demotion can carry with it productive results. It can also be a disaster to them.

From the story, it stands out clear that if Lago were offered the promotion, instead of Cassio, the death of Desdemona would not have occurred. Othello, who is now likened to a lawyer, ought to have considered the possible repercussions of Cassio’s promotion. If this were the case, he would have realised its effects on others like Lago and probably conflicts therein, as it was evident.

In conclusion, though Shakespeare is dead and forgotten, he speaks volumes today through his works. Othello is a story, whose lessons form the basis of arguments for lawyers, not only of today, but also of generations to come. For the upcoming lawyers, Othello is a recommendable book, which can equip them with the knowledge that, they need a good deal of vigilance when interacting with their clients, failure to which they will suffer the consequences.

Works Cited

Maslanka, Michael. “What Can Lawyers Learn From ‘Othello’?” Web.

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"What Can Lawyers Learn From 'Othello'?" IvyPanda, 7 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/what-can-lawyers-learn-from-othello/.

1. IvyPanda. "What Can Lawyers Learn From 'Othello'?" July 7, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-can-lawyers-learn-from-othello/.


IvyPanda. "What Can Lawyers Learn From 'Othello'?" July 7, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-can-lawyers-learn-from-othello/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "What Can Lawyers Learn From 'Othello'?" July 7, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-can-lawyers-learn-from-othello/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'What Can Lawyers Learn From 'Othello''. 7 July.

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