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Dramatic Purposes of Roderigo in Shakespeare’s “Othello”

Othello is Shakespeare’s play driven by its characters whose traits, moods, or relationships are told by the words, rhythm, and structure of the drama. The story therein is about a general in the army fooled into questioning his wife of adultery; and his name was Othello, so he is considered to be a tragedy of sexual jealousy. The play also examines racial prejudice and envy through false implications. Roderigo is one of the characters in this book having significance and dramatic purposes.

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There are several incidences where the purposes of Roderigo are portrayed in Shakespeare’s play. Roderigo portrays the power of love and manipulation when he falls victim to Iago as a result of the love he had for Desdemona (Galland, 2019). Love made him ready to do anything for her, and this made him be manipulated by Iago, who was evil. Due to this, Iago guides him to fight with Cassio making him lose his job in the army (Gale, 2018). Roderigo is also used by Shakespeare to bring about the theme of jealousy in the drama. Roderigo was jealous of Othello to the extent that he saw him as an enemy making him compete with the aim of winning the girl’s heart.

Through Roderigo, the dramatic purpose of being a one-sided lover is revealed. His life was used by the author to represent people living in their own assumed reality, making them one-sided lovers. Roderigo had fed himself with illusion to the point that he did not want to see the love that Desdemona had for Othello and chose to have desires for her unreasonably (Galland, 2019). He had an imaginary and shallow idea on the subject of love that led him to engage himself in vain attempts and allowed crafty Iago to easily use him for his own selfish ambitions.

Shakespeare, in his drama, uses Roderigo to display the timidity in people. The man was a coward such that he could not lead his own life (Galland, 2019). He instead preferred to be in control of Iago, and he let him make decisions for the actions he was to take for his own life. This was so evident to the point that even his wealth was used to exploit him when Iago cheated him about his money and gifts and pretended that he would forward them to Desdemona. When Iago asked him to fight with Cassio in the street, he agreed without a second thought (Galland, 2019). This made him be used for accomplishing filthy acts that had no basis.

Through the acts of Roderigo, as displayed in the drama, readers get to know about how lack of moral judgment can be. This character had no ability for moral judgment to the extent that he stooped so low to the level of attempting to kill Cassio without any cause (Galland, 2019). He did not seem to know the fact that Iago had no integrity, and so he could not spare him from his malice. His thoughtlessness gets worse when Iago kills him and when he sees that he is going to get killed, that is when he understands what is happening, and he ends up crying (Miller, 2018). Roderigo enables the audience to understand how Iago operates through his foolishness.

He has very poor judgment, and his acts are dreadful since he did not even try to understand whether Cassio deserved to die or not. His continual pursuit of Desdemona can also be questioned since he chose to chase an adulterous relationship and thought that he could win her through his favors (Miller, 2018). Roderigo also described Othello by his race, revealing his poor morals.

Characters in a play serve different purposes and can be used to hold the attention of the audience while provoking an emotional response from them within a short time. They help in extending and prolonging the plot of a drama while making it readable and interesting. A set of characters to be used in a play are the most key element since it ranks the most above other elements. It is through them that the audience gets to understand the themes that the author is trying to put across with their effects in real life. Through Roderigo is when one understands the danger of one-sided love and lack of moral judgment. Players are a driving force of the story since they create and push the plot forward, and their interactions make the audience experience the world that was created in it.

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Gale, C. L. (2018). A Study Guide for William Shakespeare’s” Othello” (1995 lit-to-film). Gale, Cengage Learning.

Galland, N. (2019). Play review: Othello. Cahiers Élisabéthains, 98(1), 102–104. Web.

Miller, G. (2018). Othello by Shakespeare’s Globe. Shakespeare Bulletin, 36(4), 695-699.

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