Count of Monte Cristo and Othello

William Shakespeare??™s Othello is considered to be one of the four tragedies, amongst Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth. Due to the extraordinarily villainous Iago, Othello is considered to be the most tragic, due to the hopelessness of Othello, and the survival of Iago. Shakespeare wrote this play to illustrate the effects of jealousy on an innocent mind, and to reflect the undermining nature of social prejudice.
Both protagonists led lives typical of their social caste. Edmond Dantes was a poor sailor ??“ naive, hard-working and trusting of his superiors. Religious and loving, he quickly gained the respect of those around him. Only marked by the tempests on the sea, and the grounded love he found on land, Dantes??™ life was simple. Too far removed from the social elite, Dantes kept to his social stratosphere and the road prepared for him. He was expected to live a rather uneventful life, his only concerns his family and occupation. Othello the ???Moor??? was very similar. A foreigner to Venetian society, the African had a different set of values. Honest, trustworthy and simple-minded, Othello commanded his post as General – the obvious fit as, like Dantes, his peers and superiors respected him. Recently eloped, Othello had begun a family, continuing his productive life. Family and work were all that were in store for the Moor. That is, until he promoted a dear friend, Cassio, to a position commonly seen as undeserved; the shift for Dantes came as his ship, the Pharaon, anchored in Marseilles, captainless but maintained.
As soon as Dantes step foot on the island of Elba, his fate was forever changed. Little did know that the life he once had would soon be completely flipped upside down. Upon his return, Dantes expected to wed his beloved Mercedes, but was pleasantly surprised by the promise of a potential promotion to become the captain of the Pharaon. Dantes trusted his employer, a weak spot for the young sailor. As this sliver of hope put stars in his eyes, the fabric of fate twisted ever so slightly against Dantes, proving his promotion a double edged sword. Dumas guides the reader through a tumultuous journey of placing pleasure and disquietude starkly against one another, as he does with Dantes??™ promotion with Danglars??™ jealousy. He also uses this same tactic with Dantes??™ love for Mercedes as well as her cousin Fernand??™s love for her. Dumas painfully dances through chaos, creating nothing but tension for the protagonist. While celebrating his wedding feast, Dantes is also arrested. As opposed to enjoying the life he anticipated, it??™s suddenly shut him out and put him in a cold, damp prison. Similarly, Othello had just married Desdemona, and was enjoying life as a newlywed, hopeful and trusting of the seemingly good world around him. His only mistake was allowing his personal life get in the way of his position as General, thus subjecting himself to the intense jealousy of an old friend, Iago. The shift in his life was Iago??™s scheming with Roderigo, representing the first vengeful theme in the play. This shift brings the naive Moor nothing but pain and suffering, and the unquenchable thirst for retribution.
Only when does Madame Villefort commits suicide and kills her son does he realize he??™s gone too far. He discovers he is not an agent of God, and is a victim of fate. His rebirth of character is similar to the definition of tragedy in Aristotle??™s terms, and is necessary to be a true hero, a questionable debate throughout the book. Othello??™s corruption leads to him losing dear friends Cassio and Iago, stabbing Iago, and smothering his love, Desdemona. Only in his dying moments does he realize the error of his ways and his misplaced trust. As true divine retribution, however, he also witnesses Iago??™s capture by Cassio, and dies in peace knowing his life and Desdemona??™s will be avenged.

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