When thinking about sympathetic characters, an individual

When thinking about sympathetic characters, an individual who decides to kill his own wife does not come to mind. A reason for this could be the other differentiating factors that allow the audience to feel sympathy towards a character. An example of this is found in William Shakespeare’s Othello. As Othello demonstrates that his difficult life partnered with his gullible nature compelled him to perform such regretful acts without losing pathos from the audience, allowing him to remain a sympathetic character. The main factors that make Othello a sympathetic character is Othello having to deal with being ‘othered’, Iago chose to exploit Othello’s gullible nature, and Othello tries to keep a good reputation even when the odds are against him which forces the audience to feel sympathy due to all the adversity he has been through. Firstly, Othello had to deal with being ‘othered’, allowing him to gain sympathy from the audience due to the ill treatment he received. This was shown when Iago states that Othello and Brabantio’s daughter “are now making the beast with two backs”(Shakespeare 1.1.116) in contrast to saying that they are making love ; this subtle difference portrays the two making love in a negative perspective, and something that should not be done. This is unfair to Othello as he has done so many great things for the Venetian army. Yet, they do not consider Othello an equal by their standards. Which shows the audience the inequality towards moors in Venice in the Elizabethan era. In addition, the duke of Venice claims to Brabantio that “his son-in-law is far more fair than black”(1.3.290). Moreover, this quote is significant since many individuals in the play were not on Othello side in the marriage between Othello and Desdemona. The duke also symbolizes wisdom as he is an old figure in the play and is one of the only characters who truly understand Othello for who he is. However, since he faced such tremendous adversity so early on in the story. This made the audience feel pathos for Othello.Secondly, Iago was the one who used Othello’s gullible nature against him. Nevertheless, Iago had a large contribution in Othello’s downfall. One of the few instances where this was shown was when, Cassio asks Desdemona for help in getting his job as lieutenant back but Iago tricks Othello into thinking that his wife and Cassio are in a secret relationship with each other. Iago does so by making the subtle statement “Ha! I like not that” (3.3.34). With Iago making this statement it plants a seed of doubt in Othello’s mind that his wife is cheating on him with the likes of Cassio. Which shows us that Iago lead Othello into causing his tragic flaw to occur. Moreover, with the audience knowing this information they in result would have more sympathy towards Othello because Iago is manipulating Othello; Which directs the audiences anger towards Iago. Additionally, Othello begins his suspicion towards Cassio and Desdemona as they are talking behind his back. Othello then questions Iago stating “What didst not like? … Show me thy thought” (3.3.110-116). Othello’s gullible nature is showcased in these lines as his thoughts and perceptions are getting altered by Iago’s power to manipulate daily occurrences. Yet, Othello still receives sympathy from the audience since as stated previously Iago was the one who originally planted a seed of doubt that Desdemona could be cheating on Othello. Moreover, if Iago chose not to manipulate the situation between Desdemona and Cassio there is a large possibility that Othello would not suspect his wife is cheating on him. Thirdly, Othello tries to keep his good reputation even when the odds are against him which contribute towards the audience’s sympathy towards Othello. One instance that this was shown occurred early on in the novel when Cassio’s duel with another Venetian came to a halt by Othello who then states “why, how now, ho! From whence ariseth this? /Are we turned Turks? And to ourselves do that /Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?”(2.3.148-150). As shown in this quote Othello views highly of reputation. He even states that Cassio and others involved in the fight were no better than the turks. This quotation changed the audience’s perception they previously had of Othello. Subsequently, the audience put Othello on pedestal and viewed him as someone who was powerful but knew how to use that power. Consequently, when Othello the highly victorious general of the Venetian army suffers a tragic downfall the audience will in result feel sympathy for him. Another instance this was shown was in Othello’s final soliloquy were he wants to be remembered as a person:that loved not wisely, but too well.Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought,Perplexed in the extreme. Of one whose hand,Like the base Indian, threw a pearl awayRicher than all his tribe. Of one whose subdued eyes. ( 5.2.344-348) As seen in the soliloquy performed by Othello he chooses his reputation over his life as he decides to kill himself to free him of the sins that he committed. While being remembered for the great things he has done throughout his life. Additionally, Othello acknowledges that his wife did nothing incorrect as he first believed. Specifically comparing Desdemona to a pearl that he carelessly threw away. Moreover, this makes the audience feel pathos for him since he knew what he did was wrong but there is nothing he could do about it now as it’s too late. To conclude, Othello showcases his downfall from his original life in addition to his naiveness made him perform such regretful actions without ruining his sympathetic image. This was due to Othello having to deal with being ‘othered’ on a regular basis. Iago utilizing Othello’s naive nature against him. As well, the reputation Othello tries to retain as the story progresses becomes difficult when the odds are starting to be against him which makes the audience feel sympathy towards his character regardless of the sinful actions that Othello committed. Moreover, the sympathy an individual has for someone become larger when they are viewed on a pedestal and goes through a tragic downfall in comparison to a character who suffers a downfall who the .   

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