by Paul Thompson
Death has an interesting way of taking people from this world. Sometimes, Death is able to lure an unsuspecting person into his trap with the false promise of one of their deepest desires. This method of death is portrayed well in the tragedy of Othello. Roderigo, a wealthy nobleman, is fooled by death, whom Iago is embodying, by falsely promising Roderigo that he would win the heart of his love. Roderigo’s views of others, and others views of Roderigo contribute to death’s success in taking Roderigo. In Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello, Roderigo’s perspectives of others and their perspectives of him contributed to death ultimately claiming his soul.
The way other members of society view Roderigo gives evidence towards the level of difficulty in taking Roderigo from this world. The play begins with Roderigo and Iago trying to figure out a method to win Desdemona love from Othello. Roderigo decides to wake signior Brabantio, a senator of Venice, and reveal the secret elope involving his daughter and the moor, Othello. Brabantio demonstrates his opinion of Roderigo, “The worser welcome! / I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors. / In honest plainness thou hast heard me say / My daughter is not for thee” (I.i.96-99). Brabantio finds Roderigo is not a worthy man of her daughter demonstrating that he believes Roderigo is weak and incompetent. Brabantio describes Roderigo as annoying and irritating when he exclaims that Roderigo is not welcome at his doors. Roderigo’s unworthy status gives death a greater opportunity to take Roderigo.
Not only is this view of Roderigo contributing towards his ultimate demise, but also Roderigo’s failure to see past Iago’s perspective trap. Iago sees Roderigo’s gullible nature as an exploitable resource where Roderigo can provide him with riches while Roderigo slaves away doing task for Iago. Roderigo sees Iago as a resource to help him win Desdemona’s heart which only cost him his fortune, a price Roderigo is more than glad to pay. Roderigo looks towards Iago as a master of romance which explains why he so willingly obeys Iago’s suggestions, “Put money enough in your purse. / [Roderigo responds:] I’ll sell all my land” (I.iii.375-376). Roderigo falls for Iago’s personality trap by obeying all of Iago’s advice, displaying how easy it is for death to take him as he is now willingly obeying death’s wishes.
One crucial aspect in understanding how easy it is for death to take Roderigo is Roderigo’s perspective of himself. Roderigo believes his wealth is his greatest asset when it comes to winning Desdemona’s love. Roderigo is willing to “sell all my land” (I.iii.376) in order to buy jewelry. He believes by giving Desdemona the jewelry which demonstrates his great belief in his wealth, he will win Desdemona’s heart. Since Roderigo believes he has no greater attributes, he is even more at the mercy of death when his fortune runs dry. Death job is made easier as Roderigo’s view of himself weakens him.
One can not live forever; Roderigo did not last an eternity. Death took him once he had served his purpose to Iago. Other’s views of Roderigo, Roderigo’s views of others, and Roderigo’s view of himself all led to a greater probability of success for death since Roderigo’s opinions are more easily swayed with his weakened mindset. But, in order to evolve and grow as a race on must be taken by death so only the strong survive.