Theme Of Guilt In Othello

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“Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one's own actions or lack of action.” This is a quote from Caribbean-American writer Audre Lorde. Many people express their opinion on guilt, but having written over 20 books, she is a very well-educated individual and her word is looked upon with adoration. Another successful and commendable person is the philosopher, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Nietzsche is the philosopher that came up with the love, guilt, and redemption philosophy, in which Nietzsche believes that the amount of “guilt and debt, the act of giving (of love or money) must never overwhelm the receiver” (Cybulska). This statement means that not only should the negative influences be limited, but the positive influences…show more content…
In this play, Desdemona is loyal to her trusty companion, Othello. However, Iago has a devilish scheme to paint the image of cheat in Othello’s mind. Iago was disgruntled that he was passed over for a promotion and Cassio, “As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice” (1.1.27) was given a more substantial rank. He wanted Cassio dead and he thought that the way to do this was to have Othello kill him. During this time, when Othello spots Desdemona with Cassio, Othello takes it out on her, thinking that she didn’t really love him. Desdemona feels somewhat guilty after this. “Some critics respond to the issue of Desdemona's guilt by suggesting that Shakespeare deliberately makes Desdemona's character ambiguous in order to give Othello's jealousy a motive” (Smith). In every cheating relationship, there is jealousy and guilt. “From an interpersonal perspective, the prototypical cause of guilt would be the infliction of harm, loss, or distress on a relationship partner (Baumeister 3). The guilt that Desdemona feels radiates off her body, causing distress to Othello as he wonders if she really does love Cassio instead of himself. There are minor trips of guilt in this play. For instance, when Emilia picks up Desdemona’s handkerchief. She only does this because her husband tells her to so it didn’t cause her pain or guilt. However, Iago planted this item on Cassio, which caused Othello to become infuriated with Desdemona once he found out that it was not in her possession. Iago’s plans on making Othello jealous were working. He progressively gets angrier with Desdemona and he eventually ended up killing her due to his intense jealousy. After the word gets out that Iago made the whole thing up, Othello’s heart sank and he was filled with guilt for the loss of his beloved
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