In the late 1990’s playwright, William Shakespeare’s, Othello was successfully produced in the United States and around the world. One might wonder why this classical tragedy gained so much popularity with today’s society. In my own opinion, this play was successful due to the themes and issues addressed. Societies still deal with these situations today. These themes and issues are a part of our lives and people can relate to them. This story’s success was also due to the historical, sociological, and psychological function it plays. As well as it’s impact on language and literature.
The basic theme of Othello is man’s struggle with his own psychological conflicts. Our antagonist, Iago lets us into his own demented mind using soliloquy. Shakespeare uses this method to let us know what he is thinking, feeling, and plotting. Most of us know an Iago. One of our own mortal enemies, our friend who all the while is stabbing us in the back. He is the portrayal of pure evil. Othello, our protagonist, stuggles with the common man’s own fears. He suffers greatly his own hubris, he is so afraid of having his pride hurt. But his jealousy is the main conflict. Jealousy something each of us deal with daily.
We have all fallen victim to the ‘green-eyed monster’ e. g. , (1085). After all, what is one of the highest causes of divorce in the United States? Adultry. It doesn’t seem to matter how good a person we are doubt always seems to creep through and take over. An example of this parody is when Othello is confronted by Iago concerning Desdemona’s possible unfaithfulness. Othello states ‘Villian be sure thou prove my love a whore, Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof. ‘ e. g. , (1090). His fear wont let him trust her completely. Yet, he won’t believe it without proof. These are things we deal with today.
Private detectives are thriving today with spouse’s wanting proof of their husbands or wives unloyalty. The realism of this script is uncanny. The fuctions of this play covers a large range. Othello provides us with a lesson in history, sociology, and psychology. The setting gives us a view into the lifestyles and culture of the era. The external stuggles that both Iago and Othello deal with lets us understand the sociology of the times. Iago is jealous of Cassio and wants his position of high social standing. Othello is made jealous of Cassio because he is of the same race, age, and social class as Desdemona.
Iago points out to Othello that ‘Not to affect many proposed matches Of her own clime, complexion, and degree’ e. g. , (1087). These are issues that are studied in sociology even today. The psychological realism has an intense impact on this play’s readers. It also gives insight to the psychological study of human behavior. The internal conflicts each character fights with helps us understand them and relate to them. However, I feel the historical lessons are the most abundant. History sure does repeat itself. Lets examine the O. J. Simpson trial. A stunning resemblance to the classical tragedy.
The real people playing slightly twisted roles of the characters. O. J. Simpson as Othello, Nicole Simpson as Desdemona, Ron Goldman as the innocent Cassio, and a hidden unknown evil as Iago. The dramatic irony of this true life dramatic interpretation of Othello leaves us with the eeriness that history in any sense can repeat itself. This playwright gives us a vast, intrigueing look into language and literature. Shakespeare’s dialogue in Othello can be, at first, extremely confusing to today’s readers. His vocabulary is expremely large and the language used in those times have changed.
Many of the words are not used today. He also uses very unusual sentence structure making his works difficult to understand (New Folger Library handout). Shakespeare’s works play a key role in, not only our own history but more so, the history of literature. He was, in a sense, a literary genius. His works give us a brief glimpse into our own past. The magic his literature has given us helps his era live on. Undying and unfaded by the hands of time. Shakespearian works has left it’s own mark to be learned, loved, and studied among the literary society.
Shakespeare’s Othello gained it’s populaty because he knew how to integrate realism, passion, and humanity into his writings. He based his works on how society functions and how people live their lives and deal with their situations. They may be fictitious, but by all means not impossible. His characters and events could have easily been real. The theme of Othello definately matches up with history, sociology, and psychology. And his impact on language and literature is outstanding. His literary contributions will entertain us for centuries to come.