FORSTER ENGLISH II

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Montano: The Mature, Moral Man

by Zachary Bell

Grow up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.” This line spoken, by F. Scott Fitzgerald relates perfectly to Othello and one of its characters, Montano, because he is the only character is the story that acts ‘grown up’. All the characters in the tragic play Othello, by William Shakespeare, are already physically grown up, but Montano, the governor of Cyprus, has not ‘skipped from one childhood to another. He is well-established in his position, highly respected by all people, and a wise man when it comes to experience; on the other hand, almost every other character, at least the main ones, show extreme traits of immaturity, as if they have not grown up. Even though he has a big mishap in the play — the fight with Cassio — he is still able to demand respect for himself. Montano is a highly valued man in Othello, the tragic play by William Shakespeare, because he demonstrates a high level of maturity and is a moral man.

Over the whole play, Montano is not referenced very much — only when the crew gets to Cyprus, during the bacchanalia, and the final brawl — but maturity and honor are displayed while he is present. During these scenes, he does not talk about himself much and he does not reveal many of his traits, but they are discovered when we hear other characters talk about him. The few comments said about other characters and the majority coming about the current political situation prove the Montano is not a gossiper, but rather mature and honorable. Being the governor of Cyprus, he is serious about his business, and enjoys getting his business done. Of the few times he talks about the characteristics of other people, he states compliments and positive characteristics about the character. For example, he shows respect for Othello when he says, “Pray heavens he be; / For I have served him, and the man commands / Like a full soldier” (II.i 38-40). Since he has been one of his soldiers before, Montano displays the utmost respect for Othello. Although he does not talk often, his praise is stated by other characters in the play. First, the messenger in Act I tells the Duke of Venice that Montano is his “trusty and most valiant servitor” (I.iii 47). This is special because Montano is not in the scene, meaning the messenger truly believes Montano is most trusty and valiant. Secondly, Othello talks of his great name after the big fight in Act II: “The gravity and stillness of your youth / The world hath noted, and your name is great / In mouths of wisest censure” (II.iii 203-205). Even though Othello next wonders why Montano is fighting with Cassio, it turns out he was actually trying to stop Roderigo and Cassio from fighting when Cassio pulled his sword on him. Overall, from Montano himself and the other characters talking about him, his two most important traits are honor and maturity. He is honorable in the sense of his reputation and how everyone has prime respect for him; he is mature in the sense of him wanting to keep everything peaceful and under control.

Montano’s maturity and honor are vital to the play. Whenever he feels as if a situation is getting out of control, he calms everybody down to keep the group from fighting. Montano has earned himself a reputation as a peacekeeper and mature man because it is required to keep the rest of the characters from arguments and fights. Montano’s role keeps the play from bursting out in violence from the start by containing the Act II brawl. If Montano had not cut off the fight between Roderigo and Cassio, the result could have been fatal, with deaths and a bigger brawl. Thus, his ability to keep others in peace saves the play from ending immediately due to the death of all characters. Even though the majority of the characters lose their mind by the end of the play, Montano maintains his maturity and morality by peacefully listening to the situation at hand and making sure Iago does not escape from the scene, which would create more trouble.

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1 Comment

  1. haleyschwager says:

    I really liked this post. It gave me some insight on a character who I had not thought much about, seeing as he is rarely mentioned. I enjoyed the quotes you used and your analysis. Great job!!

    Like

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