Tragedy and Monstrosity: A Comparative Analysis of Othello and Frankenstein
Society is full of evil and monstrosity propelled by the innate nature of humans. For instance, advancements in technology are human interventions that are supposedly meant to improve the quality of life. Indeed, life experience has been enhanced with the response in medicine and medical technologies that have facilitated quality services in health care facilities. As a result, the mortality rate has decreased rapidly, leading to a situation where the world is too small to sustain the growing population. Social life has also been improved with the emergence of the internet and IT technologies. Information can be passed on from one person to another, swiftly and reliably. However, advanced technology has also grown up to be venom that transmits monstrosity and evil in society. For instance, social life has been greatly impacted by issues such as isolation or alienation, cyber-bullying, murder, and many other problems that face society. The exciting part of it all is that the venom is transmitted and grows inside people without them realizing it. It is after things have worsened that individuals recognize monstrosity in their actions. Therefore, Othello and Frankenstein explore the theme of tragedy and monstrosity in detail; both of the authors have demonstrated that people are monsters of their own creation. This essay compares Othello's tragedy as it unfolds in the novel, and relates it to Shelley's Victor in Frankenstein.
The Role of Jealousy and Personal Choices in Othello's Tragedy
First of all, the name Othello is the disaster of an honorable hero who is destroyed by a incurable flaw of jealousy. Shakespeare therefore deals with tragedy as one of the critical issues that impact nations in most of his famous novels, while Othello a native calamity with contemporary themes such as jealousy, love, hatred, distrust, racism, trust, vengeance, conspiracy, etc. in this case, we experience mortality in all its stunning mixture. In Frankenstein, Victor is also a disaster in an honorable hero, who is educated and comes from an honorable family. Shelley also explores this instinctive tragedy with significant contemporary issues that affect the society.
On the other end, Othello is in love with a Venice girl, Desdemona. Although he is not from Venice, he is one of the victorious warriors and General for the state of Venice. However, his love is foundation of his tragedy, and other more series of tragedies unfolding down the story. Iago is another Villain who, although is the core cause of these tragedies, he experiences a tragedy at the end of the story, getting paid for his evil deeds. He secretly hates Othello for not promoting him. Iago develops hatred and the urge for revenge against Othello. As a result, he plots monstrous plans to get back at Othello. First, he tells Roderigo about Othello's affair with Desmodena to drive him crazy and provoke his animosity. In this case, Shakespeare is demonstrating that conceiving the urge for revenge is the first step that tragedy begins to unfold. Thus, Iago is creating a devil of himself without realizing it. The first act of revenge is informing Desmodena's father, whom they knew would not be happy about Othello's affair. They planned to "Call up her father, rouse him: make after him, poison his delight" (Shakespeare, ActI).
Moreover, Iago's hatred doesn't stop there; he continues to torment Othello by all means after the first attempt failed. He plans to implicate Cassio in his revenge against Othello. He tricks Othello into believing that his wife was cheating on him with Cassio. In act I scene iii, Iago suspects that his wife might have slept with Othello. "It is thought abroad that between my sheets. He has done my office" (Shakespeare, 369). He is the most monstrous character in the play because he desires Othello's wife and suspects that his wife Emilia has cheated on with Othello. In act two, he portrays his monstrosity planning to go after Desmodena. As such, he implicates Cassio by telling Othello that his wife is sleeping with him. He seems to enjoy the pain and suffering he is causing other people such as Roderigo, Cassio, Othello, Emilia, and Desdemona. Even a moral person would argue that his hatred for Othello goes beyond being denied the promotion of being lieutenant (pg7). His arguments portray his inability to express his true inspiration for his behavior.
The Manifestation of Evil and Monstrosity in Society: Othello and Frankenstein
Besides, tragedy impacts the reader by portraying scenes that appeal for terror and disappointment. In Othello's case, disappointment is stirred by the manifestation of a human being, who is the same as the reader. Othello bears misery that reveals the bare nature of his soul to our analysis. As a result, human feebleness, ignorance, dignity and strengths materialize as a result of calamities. The reader should develop a sense of elevation at the end of the calamity. In this case, unavoidable death is experienced as liberation because, the reader do not wish his hero to agonize anymore, like in the case of Othello. In Frankenstein, Victor's tragedy is also perceived as relief because he has suffers a lot; losing all his family members, and losing the knowledge he spend years to acquire "at the university of Ingolstadt" (Shelley, ch3). At the end, these heroes die but their frequent actions to battle their negative passions confirm hope in human nature.
Tragedy is as a result of unfolding monstrosity in characters. As a result, Shakespeare's diction and choice of words prominently portray the concept of monstrosity. Particular words like 'monstrous' and 'monster' are frequently used in the play, especially by some characters in the play. Besides, Desdemona's father is discriminatory against her daughter's husband, by perceiving black with evil or witchcraft. He does not believe in the possibility that his white daughter can love a black person; he only claims that his daughter has been bewitched (III.ii). In this case, elite would link his perception of 'black' as monstrosity and evil. However, it can be argued that the knowledge is not justified by him murdering Desdemona. Like the monster in Frankenstein, it can also be argued that the cruelty of the society has created a monster in the creature, through rejection and stereotype. As a result, both Shelley and Shakespeare, demonstrate that people right their own fate, with their actions and decisions.
Shakespeare also explores the role of personalities in the tragedies of the characters. In a way, he explores how acts and behaviors of his characters contribute to their tragedies. In Act I, Iago plots against his General, and describes the plan as 'the birth of evil.' As a result, the birth of monstrosity is reflected in the attempts to break Othello's marriage, the removal of Cassio from his position as lieutenant, and Desdemona's killing. Roderigo meets his death, as a result of his jealousy and plans to kill Cassio. On the other end, Othello's personal choice for believing Iago's lies and his jealousy drive him to his fate. Just like Othello, Victor's temper and his urge for vengeance, lead him into the most painful experience of losing a son, wife and father.
Jealousy plays a very crucial role in Othello's tragedy. However, critics have argued that there is no direct indication of him being jealousy because Shakespeare has not revealed any incident of him confronting Cassio. However, his sexual jealousy is aroused by Iago's mastery of his emotional instability and insecurities. "What should such a Fool, do with a woman so good" (Shakespeare 35). In act five, he tells his foolish reason for killing Desdemona that she 'must die' because she will 'sleep with more men.'
Through Desdemodena's tragedy, Shakespeare demonstrates that humanity is the source of evil; in the same way, Christianity claims that darkness came to the world as a result of man's sin. For instance, Iago manages to convince his wife, Emilia, to steal Desdemona's handkerchief, which he uses to persuade Othello about the affair of his wife. Shelley also demonstrates the idea in Frankenstein, in the way, the monster kills, and Victor's son and places his necklace in William's pocket, leading to her execution for a murder charge. The argument is grounded on the fact that, although the monster is 'unnatural,' it is half-human, hence, possess human qualities. On the same note, Victor is the exact origin of the monstrosity that befalls his family, leading to the loss of his father, son, wife, and William.
Shakespeare also demonstrates that the physical appearance of a person does not make him a monster, but his actions. He shows analogy through Desdemona's father; we prejudiced Othello as evil because he has bewitched his daughter into loving him. This is just a misconception as far as the reader is concerned. Both the reader and Shakespeare can tell that Othello is just a genuine and honest person. In some way, the reader can sympathize with him because the venom of hatred from Iago only implicates him. No matter how much he straight, the poison is too strong because it eats his wits up until he can't think straight anymore. For instance, he falls into a stance for a while after being told what his wife is doing.
Similarly, Shelley also demonstrates that individuals' physical appearances do not depict their monstrosity, but their actions do. In Frankenstein, Victor's application of his 'dangerous knowledge' as Walton describes it, represents evil in him. Other instances that portray monstrosity in his actions include the episodes in which he kills the monster's companion, and his plans to kill the creature that has human qualities because it is a sub-human. Similarly, it appears that people were scared of the monster's hideous and unnatural appearance that they chased him away. The beast lived near the low-income family of the blind father for some time without hurting anyone. It wanted to be human and feel love, but society denied him the opportunity. However, its actions of killing Victor's son and facilitating William's prosecution portray it as being evil or monstrous.
Shakespeare also demonstrates that jealousy is the cause of monstrosity or tragedy in society. In "Othello," jealousy inspires Iago's hatred for Othello, Desdemona's death, and Cassio's attack. Iago complains about Othello's decision to promote Cassio instead of him, "I am worth no poorer abode" (i.i). Similarly, in scene three, he is plotting to instill suffering on Othello because of mere rumors. "But for mere suspicion in that kind. Will do as if for surety" (Act I.iii). The utterance portrays the deep-rooted jealousy he has on Othello, probably, based on his color or success as a general and well-respected soldier. Othello, on the other hand, is also infested by this venom or disease for jealousy, that he eventually murders his wife on mere suspicions. Equally, Shelley demonstrates that jealousy is the cause of evil in Frankenstein. The monster envied the love and unity that humans have, that's why he requested Victor to create him a companion. Victor refused to do that; instead, he destroyed what he had started building. Later on, the monster makes Victor lose his family, not only as a mere act of revenge but for jealousy because Victor had a family, yet he had no one.
Finally, "knowledge is dangerous" (Shelley, ch3) is so tragic. The knowledge about his wife's affair, makes Othello isolate himself from her. Even though they are mere rumors, he is willing and ready to pursue experience without knowing the consequences of his actions. Similarly, Walton demonstrates that knowledge is dangerous by telling the reader that it is Victor's knowledge about science that has caused his death and made him create a monster. "I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became capable of bestowing animation on the lifeless matter" (Shelley, ch2). Besides, the knowledge makes him isolate himself from society and play right, to...
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