Compare how flaws are presented in Othello and a range of poetry you have studied?
In my essay I will be comparing how flaws are shown in Othello and a range of Robert Browning poems I have studied. The two poems I will be analysing are Porphyria’s lover and The Laboratory, as I feel that both poems display a relevant amount of flaws in each poem, and an excessive relation to uncertainty which leads to vicious reactions. In Othello, there is a continuous sequence of flaws which are portrayed throughout the play and that each flaw is displayed for the structure of the play.
Othello as the main character shows many flaws in the duration of the play, and his flaws in my opinion sets out the structure of the play. His flaws could be that he is jealous, that he has too much pride, or that he is constantly uncertain. Othello’s uncertainty in my opinion clouds his judgement and actions. Uncertainty is portrayed throughout the play but I feel that it mainly shown in Act 3 Scene 3. When Iago exits, Othello briefly has a moment to himself where he expresses his feelings from the heart. I know this as it is in iambic pentameter. In this part of the play, Othello talks about his uncertainty about Desdemona’s faithfulness, and questions their long term relationship. He starts to talk about why she could be unfaithful, what he has done to deserve this, and mentions that it could be for his age or that he is black. He suggest that he would rather be a toad rather than love and marry someone for other peoples uses. I know this as Othello says ‘I had rather be a toad, and live upon the vapor of a dungeon than keep a corner in the thing i love, for others uses’. He clearly shows uncertainty about the relationship and doubts Desdemona.
Another factor that contributes to Othello having major flaws is that he is characterized by jealousy. He is jealous throughout the play and there is a key part in Act 3 Scene 3 where Iago confronts Othello about his jealousy. ‘Beware my lord of jealousy, it is the green eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.’ Here, Othello’s jealousy is described by Iago by using personification by saying the green eyed monster. This is also a form of metaphors used by Iago, and by doing this it highlights the key part of the quote which attracts the audience even more. As Othello was a soldier, it means that his decisions have to be decisive. Being decisive means that you have the ability to make judgments or vital decision quickly and effectively. This goes against Othello gradually throughout the play as he refuses to give Cassio a fair free trail to Cassio as he did on the Brabantio accusations. Othello does not acknowledge what has happened and jumps to conclusions straight away. Othello’s mind was fixed of the supposed relationship between Cassio and Desdemona so did not think about the situation properly, so refused to give Cassio a fair trail in gaining his innocence. A quote which supports this point is ‘Cassio, I love thee: but never more be officer of mine’ meaning that his confidence in Cassio has gone.
Othello is a outsider to the Venetian society, and I feel that he uses his misunderstanding on how things are done in Venice to his disadvantage. He feels that everything done wrong is due to him being inexperience amongst the people, and at their fault. He also doubts how women are in Venice and is uncertain of how their nature is. He marries Desdemona quickly, and in my opinion this decision to show love to someone is too early, and consequences were bound to happen. Not too long after their marriage, Othello begins to question their relationship due to rumours circulating. Othello has too much pride for him to be cuckolded, and begins to question his decision to marry, this can be supported when Othello says ‘why did I marry’.
In Porphyria’s lover, the character main flaw is that he is mentally unstable which allows the poem to be analysed for my use. He talks about the women coming in, flirting around with him then all of a sudden, she has been killed. This was an unusual turn of events to happen in a poem, but after analysing many Robert Browning poems in the past, I have noticed that many of his poems has a dramatic ending, mainly in terms of tragedies. From Porphyria’s lover, I have developed an understanding that both characters had lust for each other. Lust is a strong sexual desire, and this best describes the women in this poem, and it could relate to the man. It best describes the women as she does want this sexual desire between the characters as she comes in and sits close up to the man, laying her hair on him. It may also suggest that the man does not want to have sex before marriage, the reason why he is resisting her persistence of an sexual encounter to obey the biblical reference of not doing pre-martial sex, but the man could still have lust for her. In a state of uncertainty of what to do, the man decides to kill her. Throughout the poem there have been references towards the bible and that why he doesn’t want to commit to pre martial sex, which gives us an understanding that he could be religious in some way. This could be supported by the remark ‘And yet god has not said a word’ This is a flaw for the character in Porphyria’s lover as he was uncertain on the decision to do with his so called lover.
In Porphyria’s lover, we can interpret that the main character is uncertain on many things, and one of them is hes unsure on her faithfulness in their relationship. This can be supported by a quote; ‘made my heart swell, and still it grew, while I debated what to do’ This shows his doubts within the relationship as he describes his heart swelling. This suggests that he cannot contain the amount of stress which is coming upon him, which makes him say his heart is swelling, can could imply that he has problems of containing a healthy releationship, as its a real struggle for him to be happy.
In the poem The Laboratory, flaws are presented throughout. The poem is about a women who seeks revenge on her lover as she is with another man, pure jealousy is illustrated throughout. Jealousy is her main flaw in the poem, as it is the main factor for what happens in the play. Each play I have analysed I feel that flaws are how the poem/play progress, and in the Laboratory’s case, her main flaw, jealousy, sets the tone for the poem. Her jealousy proceeds in the poem and leads to her poisoning someone, an evil act someone could possibly do. An sign of an evil mindset, the character shows that she doesn’t want the women to have a fast easy death, but in fact wants her to suffer a lot. She also wants the man to ‘remember her dying face’ a cruel wish someone can wish upon another person.
Robert Browning adds a fast rhythm upon the poem to describe her excitement of killing someone. He also uses personification to describe the people at the party by saying ‘what a wild crowd’. The use of repition in the poem also describe the importance of what the character is talking about, ‘the poison to poison’. This shows how strongly she feels about the poison and her next steps coming up in the poem. Also, an interpretation I have made is that as there are twelve stanzas in the poem, it may also describe the twelve hours leading up to this day. I made this assumption as each stanza progresses in terms of time and leads onto each other like a normal day, and I think this technique of using stanzas in this way was implied by Robert Browning to show how time progressed throughout the poem, and her eagerness throughout. Jealousy is her main flaw, and this is part of the seven deadly sins, envy.
Comparing the poems and Othello together, I feel flaws are portrayed throughout in order to find a plot to pounce upon, and the duration of them. I feel that Shakespeare and Robert Browning have both used similar techniques in presenting how flaws lead on to reactions of the main character. The two poets have presented that the characters react violently in their flaws and uncertainty, which actually then leads on to death. Death in Othello is seen as a atrosophy, but unusually in Robert Browning poems, it seems that both characters have done their deed and have not been punished, which relates to Browning’s past life experience of being an atheist. So to conclude my essay, I feel that flaws are presented in a similar fashion and the plot then continues on from their flaws being exploited.