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Portrayal of Traits Through One’s Opinions

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by Jojo Gillespie

Arrogance is never a good trait to possess, but Brabantio is an example how his arrogance brought out the determination in him after his daughter married a lower class outsider, Othello.  After reading William Shakespeare’s play of the tragedy of Othello, most will start to pick up on the development of characters and what their opinions are of others, along with how they think of themselves.  All the characters in Othello have different opinions of the people in the play based on what that character has done to have a negative or positive effect on them.  A character whose strong opinions frequently seem to come up throughout the play are Brabantio because he is the father of Desdemona, which manages to always keep him in the loop of the play’s major points since she is one of the play’s protagonists.  The opinions surrounding Brabantio are plentiful, ranging from what he thinks of others, what others think of him, and what he thinks of himself, and when these opinions are exposed, the true qualities of Brabantio are revealed.

Brabantio, a rich Venetian politician, has widespread opinions of different characters mainly based around his daughter Desdemona.  Brabantio originally had great respect for Othello for his major accomplishments in war, and even would frequently invite him over to his home.  Little did he know, that he was helping create the central conflict of the play.  This is where Desdemona and Othello first met, and where Othello would tell her many stories from war, which is ultimately what ignited the two to fall into such a deep lust.  Brabantio never saw this coming likely because he would never expect Desdemona to attract to a man like Othello, but as soon as he grew aware of their marriage, his opinion of Othello was quickly negated.  He takes his daughter’s marriage as a business proposition and wants her to marry into another wealthy Venetian family — Not some outsider like Othello.   After Roderigo and Iago informed Brabantio of the two lovers marriage, he went from respecting him with great honor to despising him for “stealing” his daughter’s marriage.  Brabantio is convinced that Desdemona must be under some kind of spell because in no way does he think that she would marry Othello under normal circumstances.  “Ay, to me; She is abused, stol’n from me, and corrupted by spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;” (I.iii)  This line shows his true arrogance for he doesn’t believe any daughter of his would marry a lower class, black man like Othello without being drugged or put on some spell.  Besides his arrogance, another likely reason for Brabantio’s disbelief derives from his his father instincts.  He undoubtedly loves her with great passion, and as a result, will do everything in his capability to do what he thinks is protecting her –even if that means going to the Duke to put an end to their marriage. Brabantio’s previous encounters with Roderigo and Iago made him think they are crazy or even villians because of what their frequent false accusations he hears them shouting from outside his house.  “Thou art a villain.” (I.i)  However, after they informed him of the marriage between his daughter and Othello, he no longer faulted them for their past lies and trickery, because all he cared about now was putting an end to the lover’s marriage.  Although Brabantio may be a deluded man with not a lot of positive traits, one that stands out is his determination.  As soon as he heard that his daughter married Othello, he didn’t waste any time and went straight to the Duke with no hesitation in an attempt  to put an end to it.   Although Brabantio did everything he could to put an end to their marriage, there’s nothing he could do in the end.  Iago mislead Othello into believing that Desdemona Is having an affair and that there’s no way she would ever fall for a man like Othello.  As a result, Othello did what he believed he must by killing her, and when he discovered his mistake, he then killed himself.  

As seen through reading this tragic play of Othello, one’s traits that they possess can be deduced based on their opinions of others and themselves.  Shakespeare displays in this play how you can pick out multiple character traits just by studying the way they think of others.  Brabantio’s multiple character traits are displayed as he tries to “fight” for her daughter by trying to end her marriage with Othello.  Although this is not what Desdemona wants, he truly believes that he is doing whats best for her.  Perhaps Brabantio was right because if the two lovers never got married, then they wouldn’t have dies in such a tragic way.




1 Comment

  1. jojogillespie says:

    Thanks for the valuable comments regarding my punctuation Will.
    Greatly Appreciated


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