By now, you are all aware that your next paper is going to be a compare and contrast paper on a ‘premodern’ mythological hero (or idea, theme, etc.). Hence, to practice the skills involved in comparison, I thought it would make some sense for your final Blog post of Unit Two to be comparative in nature. Accordingly, for this response I want you to compare Othello (or another character from Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name) with some other figure we have encountered of late. Among the possibilities, then, would be some kind of comparison featuring Charlemagne, Joan of Arc, Sigurd, Roland, Thor, Odin, King Arthur, Lancelot, or maybe Guinevere. Whichever figure(s) you choose to use as the basis of your comparison, the key is not just to note that there are similarities and differences at play but to illustrate them, and investigate them. In so doing, you must demonstrate how bringing your two characters together reveals something about them (their beliefs, their world, etc.) that would not have been clear otherwise. Thus, much like your second major paper, this response is asking you consider how bringing the two characters helps to illuminate their (respective) meaning and significance; it highlights why it is important to read them together and explains what gets learned through this comparative and analytical negotiation.
Ignore the first comment, I hit enter when switching screens and realized the problem…
When thinking about a comparable hero to that of Shakespeare’s Othello, Joan of Arc comes to my mind. The two hero’s are very important to read together for the reason of not similarities but important differences. Othello is the easily led, fast reacting king who can change from a methodical and valued leader to an insane, psychopath in only a short period of time. While Joan is a stead-fast and grounded leader who doesn’t waiver from her mission even during controversy.
Beginning with Othello, we see a military leader going to defend Cyprus in the middle of a love/revenge plot being formulated by a subordinate. Othello does his job by defending Cyprus as their enemies all drown off the coast in a storm. Following celebrations, Othello is faced with many decisions based off of the acts of his men. Through misinformed meeting after another Othello losses is lieutenant, kills his wife, and ends his life. Through these events his mental state and honor are shattered by one formulated event after another an never stops to think what is truly occurring.
This is very different o the acts of Joan where she was given religious visions as a young woman in the midst of one of the longest conflicts in history. Using these visions, she stands strong in the face of her peers and reaches military prowess only surpassed by her king. Though a woman, her journey is valiant as her status as a peasant, illiterate, woman would stereo-typically place her against unthinkable odds for success. Which is why her ability to keep a cool head upon being captured and questioned even more valiant and a complete foil to that of the quick change of Othello. With her respectful death, she clearly is more of a military bad ass than Othello.
While the situations between the two leaders is quite different, I believe that their intentions and decisions towards the end of their lives shows the two ways a hero can really change. Othello fell far from the prominent perch that the people of Venice placed him by losing his mind completely. This shows no self-discipline and a complete lack of true leadership in the face of difficult circumstances. This is where Joan shines. Her lack of change even through her unfortunate death shows her true heroism and leadership over that of the Venetian fool.
To be fair Othello was never under as difficult combat situations as Joan but had just as many internal decisions to make. Joan is the bigger “man” here as her beliefs never change because of circumstances. Othello is a hero is his own play but he never seems to me to show any form of heroism in his acts. Heroes are remembered for the acts that define them, so who’s the hero here: Crazy wife killer or Proud military martyr?
There are many parallels between Othello and King Arthur in the first three Acts of the play. King Arthur is a legendary and great warrior, but in many of the stories his knights are the central focus. In a similar way, Othello is a great General but most of the first three acts focus on Iago’s plot to ruin Othello’s marriage to Desdemona. Iago fits the character of Mordred by pretending to be close to Othello like Mordred was to Arthur, but secretly wants to ruin him. Iago tries to frame Desdemona and Cassio as having an affair, where as Guinevere and Lancelot actually did have an affair. But much like king Arthur, Othello was quick to believe Iago’s story. While Arthur was actually betrayed by Guinevere and Lancelot, he still believed his knight’s stories before he saw the truth for himself just like Othello. In a similar situation to the end of act three, where Othello calls for Cassio to be killed, Arthur then seeks to kill Guinevere and Lancelot.
A character who came to my mind as I was reading Othello was definitely Joan of Arc. Although there are some obvious differences between the two, he a black man descended from royalty and she a white peasant woman, I still did notice the similarities between them.
Both Othello and Joan were the central figures in societies where their roles would normally be shunned. Joan was a strong, independent woman living in a “man’s” world and Othello was a black man living in a “white” world. Joan, at least nowadays in modern times, is revered for her bravery and fierce desire to stay true to herself and fight for what she believed in. She claimed she had visions and heard “voices” that allowed her to protect her country and her people, although she ultimately paid the price for it in the end. Despite her untimely end of being burned at the stake, she stayed true to who she was until her death, refusing to conform to the idealistic way men would have preferred her to be.
Othello, although a black man, was still held in high regards for his military strategies in numerous battles. He still had status as a soldier and this, to an extent, benefitted him. However, there was much rage, anger, and disappointment when it was discovered that he had married Desdemona, a white woman. Although it was greatly frowned upon, as Othello anticipated it would be, he believed their love for one another was true enough and worth the backlash they would face. Similarly to Joan, Othello experienced his own tragic downfall and lover’s demise as he allowed the “voices” of the manipulating Iago and Roderigo to interfere with his marriage to Desdemona and twist his love into a jealous rage.
Despite Othello’s downfall and mistake of trusting Iago and Roderigo, he, at first, stood up for what he believed in and for what he desired. He believed his interracial marriage to Desdemona was right in his eyes and that the truth of their love would prevail in the end. Maybe this would have actually ended up being the case if it wasn’t for the conniving plotting done by Iago and Roderigo. Joan of Arc was also fierce and independent in what she believed in and allowed no man to stand between her and her beliefs to stay true to who she was as a woman and a leader in her own battles. Both characters at least attempted to stay true to themselves. Joan was able to accomplish this and Othello probably would have been able to do the same thing if not for the interference of Iago and Roderigo.
The similarities of Othello and Joan, their “outcast” statuses in society and their strong beliefs, exemplify their roles of important characters in literature and in history. Despite their obvious racial, gender, and class differences, their desires to listen to the “voices” around them led them to experience similar, tragic fates.
There are many connections between the writings of Shakespeare and medieval writing. The two characters I would like to comapare would be Julius ceaser from Shakespeare and king author the midevil legend. There are many comparisons between both of these characters such as both being tragic heros. In Malory a book written about the life of king author he meets a tragic end to his best friend Lancelot who betrays him. This idea is extremely similar to the one in ceaser where Julius ceaser is betrayed and killed by one of his best friends Brutus. Both these characters meet tragic and untimely ends when all they both wanted was good. That is another comparison abou these two they were both good men who wanted the best for there countries.
These two men were also amazing fighters and men who led armies in great battles and went through trials and tribulations to get where they were. They were also great monarchs who ruled a vast and powerful land.
. I am choosing to compare Othello to Lancelot from Le Morte D’Arthur. Both of their characters exhibited similar themes that became popular during their times. Both literature styles highlight the power of love and the emotions that it can bring over a human. Othello did not care about what Desdemona father has wanted, he married her because he loved her and he was able to convince and entire senate that he was in the right for choosing the woman of his choice. In more ancient history and even modern literature the noble thing would be to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage but instead Othello takes it upon himself to sweep her away to wedlock. Similarly, in Le morte d’Arthur courtly love plays a big role throughout the entirety of the text. Lancelot pays little mind to the notion that he is having an affair with a married woman, it is only at the very end when Guinevere shows remorse that he feels truly wrong. These two texts intertwine in a new generation of literature that gives much credit to the power of love and much less respect to the integrity of these love-sick characters.
The differences between these two characters is also obvious. Othello was highly regarded and trusted by his peers and was known to be heroic in times of need. Whereas in the stories read about Lancelot, he was more times than not on the other end of the battle. When it was King Arthur or Gwain that wanted him dead, he was almost always under invasion. Lancelot also managed to sustain a pure love for Guinevere, once she told him she’d become a nun he took after her and became a monk. And once he discovered her dead, he fasted for days and ultimately starved to death. Othello, on the other hand, was manipulated by his peers and ended up resenting Desdemona.
When trying to compare Shakespearean Tragedy and Medieval Mythical stories you will see that these two different types of genres really do have a lot more similarities than differences; you just have to look deeper into the stories rather than solely depending on the text to give you significant information. The differences are quite know to major of the people that have read or heard of both Shakespearean and medieval. The most common is that they are both for two entirely different categories of history. The Medieval Period lasted from the fifth to the fifteen century and was known to be a time of much chaotic and evil behave and way of life. When look at the Shakespearean time period you’ll find that things and people were a bit more sophisticated; people were less likely to go after blood but more toward making their enemies suffer from a lot of pain and sadness.
At the same time, like I said in my previous paragraph Shakespeare and medieval do have numerous amounts of similarities that most people don’t ever recognize until someone points it out. For instance, the connections between the medieval characters and the Shakespearean character are so comparable and reflective—meaning that it’s like looking at another mirror and having the same thing happen to you—that it’s not even humorous. One comparison that might be over looked are the characters Othello and King Arthur in the first three Acts of each play. King Arthur is known for being this legendary great warrior who is meant to be thought as some sort of god or godly figure. However, in the plays that we have been reading there seems to be a different way that King Arthur could be portrayed. He wasn’t as confident or strong-willed as I thought the real “King Arthur” would be; and to top that off his story wasn’t really about the King that much. Instead many of the stories his knights are the central focus. Equally, Othello is a great General but most of the first three acts focus on Iago’s plot to ruin Othello’s marriage to Desdemona. They both also do suffer from this little emotion called love, and then in the end suffering from betrayal and a broken heart.
The two characters that I decided to compare are Othello and King Arthur. Both characters rely heavily on the men under them. Othello trust Cassio as his lieutenant and takes his judgement into consideration. King Arthur also has a high level trust when it comes to the men that are under him. This is seen when he takes their advice on many occasions and never really makes any decisions on his own. Both Othello and King Arthur seem to love their wives and have only good intentions for them. Both characters are also easily influenced into believing things that many not necessarily be true.
These two characters also have some key differences. Othello carries himself as a powerful leader where I feel that Arthur, though being a good leader, lets others control the decisions he makes. Othello is also quick to question his wife Desdemona after hearing that she may be having an affair. This is something that King Arthur does not do. Both characters have similarities and differences. It is interesting to see how two different leaders from two different stories react to situations and the approaches that they use in leading their people.
When comparing Shakespearean Tragedy and Medieval mythical stories although at different time periods their themes are very similar. In Shakespeare’s story of Othello and Thomas Malory’s Marte D’Arthur, both have the themes of love, betrayal, and revenge. Both Othello and Arthur were misguided by being naive and having other peoples’ opinion dictate their actions. The consequences both men faced were their impulsive actions that drove distance between them and their wives, even though Guinevere did have an affair when Desdemona didn’t. In the end though it didn’t matter if Desdemona did have an affair or not because Othello let his actions and emotions be dictated by others. Both men seem to be well put together when it comes to their duties to lead and fight, but when it comes to their personal lives they are train wrecks. One difference between the two characters are that Arthur may or may not be actually in love with his wife and his actions for revenge were motivated by others. Like we said in class, it is possible that the marriage between Arthur and Guinevere was politically motivated where Othello and Desdemona fought against her father, who was manipulated by Iago, to be together. Another difference is that in Othello Iago was the main person pulling the string in breaking down Othello where there isn’t just one particular person doing that to Arthur.
There are many similarities between Medieval Literature and Shakespearian tragedies with arguably less but also noteworthy and distinguishable differences. Comparing two leading characters in each of the different categories exemplifies the resemblances and variances between the characters and the genres as a whole. The protagonist Othello from Shakespear’s Othello, like Lancelot from Le Morte D’Arthur, is a character that a reader may love and hate at the same time. While he is full of redeeming qualities, he manages to let his flaws get the best of him; simultaneously ruining his life and causing the reader to develop disappointment in him at the same time after growing angry and eventually killing Desdemona. Similarly, Lancelot despite his good qualities, engages in an affair with Guinevere who is the Queen to Arthur, Lancelot’s friend. In Le Morte D’Arthur, Lancelot’s affair may cause the reader to dislike his character in a similar way that a reader grows to dislike Othello. Both Lancelot and Othello are brave, strong and respectable warriors, Othello a military general and Lancelot, a knight that demonstrates his courage and skill in battles even where he is outnumbered. Both characters are also extremely passionate and are made to do stupid things over women they love. Lancelot’s love or lust for Guinevere causes him to make a foolish decision that cause a multitude of unpleasant events and Othello’s love for Desdemona causes him to go insane with jealously ultimately resulting in him taking his own life. A major difference between the two characters is that I think Lancelot brings a lot of his own misfortune on himself. He is full of contradictory behavior and he makes the choice to betray Arthur and kill his fellow soldiers. Ultimately, it is Lancelot’s character that initiates most dramatic aspects of the story. While one may interpret Othello’s fate as self-induced because of his irrational reactionary behavior, I would argue that contrary to Lancelot, Othello is somewhat victimized. Had it not been for Iago and Roderigo, Othello would most likely still be happily married to Desdemona and none of his qualities (on their own) would have led to such a tragic ending.
After reading through the first half of Othello (and not reading any other posts to avoid spoilers) I have decided to compare what I know of Iago to the trickster Loki from Norse legend. Both characters serve a sinister purpose throughout their respective tales, Iago attempting to take revenge for what he believes Othello to have done and Loki brings upon the apocalypse of the world. Though both of these men seem to have evil intentions, not both of them seem to entirely cast off a sense of morality. Iago, of the two, is the more sinister. He intends to kill Othello and ruin his life for he believes that Othello has seduced his wife. He then begins to manipulate all those around him, including Othello, in order to turn Othello against his fellow soldier and loyal follower Cassio. Iago intends to take his revenge by framing Cassio to be having an affair with Othello’s wife. All of the things he does (his lies and deceit) are in his own interest of revenge against Othello. Loki on the other hand, is a god who is destined to bring devastation and death to the world, but he cannot necessarily help the fact that he is the harbinger of death in his world. Yes, he does voluntarily kill Balder (or at the very least try to see if Balder will really be hurt from his one weakness, still not entirely sold on Loki wishing to kill the gem of the gods’ and mortals’ affections) and yes, he not only fathers the evil creatures who will kill Odin and Thor and destroy the world, but throughout the stories of the Norse gods he does do good and aids the gods. Taking a look at Iago and Loki together shows us that there are different kinds of evil portrayed in literature and myth, and Shakespeare uses a more diabolical form of his evil in his plays. Loki and Iago are both evil characters with varying degrees but Loki is evil by fate and Iago by choice.
When it comes to Othello, Joan of Arc stands out among the rest. Although there are major physical difference betwixt the two characters, their spirit and strength match. Another similarity is their resilience; Othello was a black man in a world where it was difficult to be anything but a white man, as was Joan of Arc being a woman in a white man’s world. They jumped obstacles in their surroundings and within themselves. It is also interesting to note that both of these characters were Christian, which was the now increasing throughout Europe.
Joan of Arc is one of the most resilient women in history. She stood for what she believed in and never backed down. She is also highly regarded in the Catholic Church for her beliefs, faith and strength as a Christian. She was a strong leader despite being poor and not from royalty. She had faith in France and used her messages from God as guidance. Sadly, she was accused of witchcraft and eventually burned at the stake. Above all, she is remembered as a symbol of strength, especially for Christians and women.
Othello was a strong man that led a strong army. Usually when thinking about that time period, a man like Othello would probably not be a military leader based on his skin color. But his strength and intelligence as a leader set him apart from every other man. He did face obstacles, some in battle and some within his community, but he prevailed. Like Joan of Arc, he did not let his physical appearance hold him back.
Both these stories and characters end in death, but they still have a strong message and powerful themes. These themes can be seen in several different stories, both fiction and non-fiction. These people remained symbols of strength in medieval culture and well into modern day.
Two characters I have decided to compare and contrast is Othello and Joan of Arc. Othello was a very strong person, who fought for his army. He was a hero to many, but also a protagonist. Othello was one to be looked up to as a strong man.
The second character I chose is Joan of Arc. She was powerful within herself and stood her ground. She was a simple strength for many women and showed how women could fight for themselves without the help of any man.
Both of these stories show how strength and courage are a huge part in this time period. You did not have to be a man to be strong and fight for what you believed it. (Joan of Arc). Othello, was also a very strong man, and fought for the best for his army.
There are clear similarities between Shakespeare’s character Iago and the trickster Loki of Norse mythology. Iago appears to be a Shakespearean version of a trickster. He is constantly deceiving other characters in the play like Othello, Cassio, and Roderigo. Whenever Iago does anything, it is secretly in his own interest rather than in the interest of helping another character. He is masterfully weaving this web of lies and deceit that will probably come crashing down on him in time, but until then it is evil and exciting. Just like Loki manipulated people to help himself, Iago does it in this play. The only main difference between the two is Loki’s access to magical abilities, allowing him to operate on a higher level. But Iago being purely human, his ability to trick the other characters in this play puts him on level with Loki.
The comparison I found most interesting was the characters of Othello and Joan of Arc. First, I want to note the important differences between the two, and the role that plays in their stories. Although the two are strong leaders, their emotional stability seemed to be quite different. In Othello’s case I found him to be quite tempered and easily persuaded. For instance, how Lago so easily was able to trick Othello into thinking that his wife and Cassio were having an affair and how quickly his tempers would change. I didn’t feel like Othello (thusfar) has made many decisions on his own, he allows others to constantly alter his judgement. He seemed to be “all over the place.” Where on the otherside, I found Joan of Arc to be assertive and stayed true to her beliefs, in her leadership during war all the way up until her death, where she stuck up for herself, and didn’t let other change her mind. The other obvious differences were their genders and race. Joan of Arc, a white women and Othello a black man. Notably, Joan of Arc, tended to take on more of a masculine role, as far as women were represented during this time period. Joan never took on that, “Damsal,” role and love and romance never distracted her from the task at hand. Obviously, religion had a big part in this but never the less, I felt like this was an advantage for her story. Where in Othello, I feel as if love and sex was his flaw. I mean the whole plot in this story is over women and territory, and distracts the men in the real issues of war, on more trivial battles.
The similarities between the 2 strong warriors is also important. They are both highly respected, Joan for her “spiritual” wisdom and great leadership of the troops, and Othello for being a very successful general. The biggest similarity between the 2 leaders, were the people who didn’t accept them, and tried to persecute them. In the beginning of the Othello story, Desdemona’s father brings up his complaints to the duke that he thinks Othello has used magic to charm his daughter into loving her. Similarly, in Joan of Arc they also trial her, accusing her of being a witch, for having all this military knowledge, and hearing voices. I feel like this is important because of their differences from the typical “white male” leader. If Othello was white and Joan was a man, maybe their stories would of turned out differently, they may not have been questioned and would of been giving more respect.
The characters in Shakespeare’s great tragedy Othello share many common features with earlier, medieval mythical characters. For my post, I think an interesting comparison could be explored between Mallory’s Lancelot from Le Morte D’Arthur and Othello from Shakespeare’s play. The two characters have obvious characteristics in common, like their strength and skill in battle as well as how they both command respect and admiration from not only the common people, but also their superiors (the Duke of Venice and the Senate for Othello, King Arthur and other noblemen for Lancelot). When you dig deeper down, we can see they share more similarities like how they both face complications that keep them away from their true love. Othello’s father-in-law, Brabantio, doesn’t want his daughter, Desdemona, to be with Othello because the Moor is a foreigner in Venice and he believes Desdemona’s interracial marriage can only be the result of Othello’s trickery and magic spells. Similarly, Lancelot is in love with Queen Guinevere, wife of King Arthur, whom Lancelot is completely devoted. He is torn by his relationship with Guinevere, who he loves regardless of the circumstance and his loyalty to his king. Other characters in both stories believe Othello and Lancelot are with their respective women out of some other reason than their true purpose: love. Quite simply, both Othello and Lancelot are with Desdemona and Guinevere because they truly love them and not because of witchcraft or a plot to overthrow King Arthur. As the stories go on however, their love lives cause major damage. When Othello begins to suspect his wife of cheating, it ultimately leads to the unnecessary murder of his wife and Othello’s own demise. When the secret of Lancelot and Guinevere’s affair is exposed, it ultimately leads to the demise of King Arthur and Camelot. Exploring these similarities between the two characters, reveals a common theme of love in both Shakespeare’s play and Mallory’s epic. Love is dangerous in both texts, for Lancelot and Guinevere because it destroys friendships as well as Camelot and for Othello because it leads to his own tragic death.
I want to compare and contrast two figures/characters that burned; one, unfortunately at the stake, the other, with indignation. This tragedy was inevitably due to voices that led to actions. On the surface, Joan of Arc and Othello do not have much in common, the former, a shining beacon of independence and heroism who died a martyr, the latter, a confused general, who foolishly eats up all that is told to him. However, both of these characters listen to little, and in some cases, insidious voices that inevitably lead them to act.
Joan of Arc obviously listened to what she believed to be holy voices. She then acted upon this, and the story goes that she pushed the English out of France. Othello’s voices (or voice) that he hears is that of the scheming Iago’s, far from holy… It is Iago that starts to turn the thought of Desdemona for Othello from love to that of jealousy and betrayal. Let’s see, Iago convinces Othello to keep an eye on Desdemona, he fabricates the story of Cassio’s dream and about wiping his beard with Desdemona’s handkerchief etc. And the worst thing is that Othello blindly believes Iago! If he just opened his eyes—started questioning what Iago is saying—actually asked Desdemona, maybe he would then know the truth! Of course, in the end, Othello acts upon what the false Iago has been telling him. He listened to the voice, and like Joan of Arc he died because of it, less heroically, I must add.
The two Characters I see a lot of similarities and differences in is Guinevere and Desdemona. Both characters are woman, and share similar story lines. The first and most obvious similarity is that they are both married to the protagonist of the story. Both woman’s husband’s plot to kill them because of their infidelities. Arthur wants to burn Guinevere at the stake, while Othello strangles Desdemona. While it is true that they are both murders are plotted, only Othello is able to carry out his plan. No one was there to rescue Desdemona. Another difference, in this similarity, is that Desdemona actually died, and it was because of her infidelity, however she never really had an affair. One the other hand Guinevere actually committed the crime, and her death sentence was never carried out, because her lover rescued her. Had Desdemona actually cheated on Othello, would she have been rescued as well?
A difference between these to first ladies (respectively) is that their fathers support of their marriages. Guinevere’s father ‘gave’ her to Arthur and supported her marriage to him. Desdemona’s father was hurt by her secret marriage to Othello, and tried to stop/end the marriage. The difference with the father support could be a big sign in the ending of the stories and their fates. The marriage between Arthur and Guinevere, that was supported by the father, ended well. They ended up fighting for each other, attempted to right their wrongs, and they did not directly die at the others hand. The marriage that went unsupported between Desdemona and Othello, ended with the wife being killed by her husband. I can see some foreshadowing here.
The final similarity I noticed is that the description of their looks. Guinevere was described as being fair skinned, dark haired, grey eyes, and beautiful. Desdemona’s direct description isn’t noted but many say she is ‘fair,’ ‘meek,’ ‘delicate,”happy,’ and ‘perfection.’ Fair skinned and beautiful usually go hand in hand with being pure. Since Desdemona is described as fair and perfection is implied she is pure as well. Both woman’s perfection is emphasized throughout the story.
When reading Othello, you see that despite being different from the rest of the society Othello lives in, he is a strong and noble leader. I think the same exact words could be used to describe Joan of Arc, as they clearly share many similar traits.
One of the first things the reader discovers about Othello is that he is not from Venice. In fact, he is a Moor, meaning he comes from northern Africa and that his skin color is black. Yet, through many ups and downs, Othello eventually becomes a military leader of people who are of a different ethnicity and nationality than he is, all of which is completely out of the ordinary, especially in the timeframe of the text. This is quite similar to Joan of Arc, for even though she is of the same ethnicity and nationality as the military she leads, she is woman. In her time period, women were usually nothing more than housekeepers and were more than likely kept in those positions by men. Yet, Joan, through her strong will and truthfulness, became a highly respected leader despite every other military leader at the time being a male.
Strong will and determination are also other characteristics that Othello and Joan of Arc share. Othello endured many hardships to become the military leader he is in the play. He was persistent despite at one point being captured and sold as a slave, where he would eventually buy his freedom. Even in the face of accusations from Brabantio, Othello remained strong in his convictions and left no trace of doubt in his story. This is strikingly similar to Joan of Arc’s story. Joan hears voices and talks about them until she is finally brought to the king. When she was eventually captured, she was asked to sign a paper stating she never heard voices of past. Knowing admitting that she did hear voices would lead to her death, she signed the paper. But, a few days later, she decided to remain strong and truthful in what she believed was right, and rejected what she had signed. She was burned at the stake, dying for what was to her the truth. Both Othello and Joan believed in honesty and were certainly unique to their time.
Right to the meat of it then shall we. Loki and Iago shall be the subjects of our compare/contrast lite that is this blog post to become. Loki, trickster god and starting gun to the end of the world, and Iago, the mastermind of the web of deceit which ultimately kills Othello. Loki seeks for his own vanity and self-serving motivations while never truly earning anything from it but more reasons to spite the world around him. He conspires to spite Baldr when he goes to learn how to harm him. Then after successfully getting the mistletoe, his focus falls on those who’s attention was denied to him and spites them by having Baldr killed and ,supposedly, refusing to grieve for his loss in the form of a cave troll. Iago is also slighted but it is a lack of a promotion rather than generally good attention of mirth which Loki desired. Iago goes to scheme, manipulate, and generally make worse the lives of everyone else in the play. He , unlike Loki, is found out but as opposed to Loki, who is punished for his transgressions, is promoted to Othello’s position while Othello is sent of for execution for murdering his wife. Iago also murders his wife, who is also the one revealed his machinations, but nothing is done about it most likely to the need for a higher ranked officer at the battle of Cyprus. Loki’s motivations up until the end were more for his own amusement and need for attention while Iago was just dark and kept getting darker all the way through.
When reading the first three acts of Othello, I immediately thought of King Arthur. To start off, both of their stories do not really contain them. In Othello, the play usually contains characters other than Othello, but have to do with him. Much like in King Arthur’s story where he is barely even in it. Another similarity is that they both go to other characters to make strong decisions. In Othello’s case when Iago tells him about Desdemona possibly cheating, Othello cannot get the idea out of his head and wants it proven. In King Arthur, he asks for Lancelot’s opinion when he was the one who had the affair with his wife. Lastly, they are both known for being great warriors and leaders. The Duke in Othello specifically asks that Othello goes to Cyprus to protect it. For King Arthur, many people have asked for King Arthur’s help, such as in Culhwch and Olwen. In both of these stories, it highlights chivalry. Othello is known for being a great leader, but also being a good friend and husband. Just as King Arthur was known for being a good knight and king. Comparing these two characters highlights the theme of being chivalrous.
In some ways, Othello and Arthur deal with some of the same problems. One of the more obvious problems is the idea of a cheating wife. Although Desdemona is not really cheating on Othello, he believes that she is and perception is reality. Othello’s relationship with Desdemona is based on love and dedication. Desdemona leaves against her father’s wishes because she loves Othello and wants to follow him. When he is led to believe that Desdemona has taken another bed, he goes crazy with jealousy and rage. These emotions are all derived from passion. Othello is a man driven by passion. On the other hand, Arthur is also confronted with the rumor that his wife has cheated. He also reacts in a way that causes many problems, but for different reasons. I am not inclined to believe that Arthur is in love with queen Guinevere. She seems more like a possession. When Arthur is given the news, he does not get as passionately angry as Othello. In fact, at first he seems reluctant to react at all because his loyalty more so lies with his men. He does not wish to start a war with someone who has saved his life so many times before. However, his honor is also at stake. Sleeping with the King’s wife is disrespectful and treason. Arthur is driven more so by his own reputation and the expectation of loyalty from his men more so than by passion or love for his wife. This shows that Othello and Arthur, although put in similar situations, are driven by different values, beliefs, and desires.