Othello is the protagonist of the play; he is a highly respected general of the Venetian army. Othello is not a Venetian though; he is a moor, which means he is from North Africa. This puts Othello in a very unusual position; he is one of the most important people in the Venetian army and very respected but is also an outsider because he is a black man. I perceive Othello’s character at this point in the play to be Naive, honorable and honest; he really has nothing to hide.
His naivete’s will cause Othello to make bad decisions and shows that Iago (the villainous character that hates Othello and wants to ruin Othello) can easily deceive Othello through his insecurities and self-consciousness of being a black outsider. We are shown these characteristics through; how Othello acts, what others do and think about and towards him, and what Othello says about himself. In Act 1 scene iii we see that Othello knows he is an outsider and is very conscience of this fact.
Othello is also very honest, secure and confident about what he knows of fighting and that his life has been bravely filled with many battles; it’s the only thing he knows – “…seven years’ pith till now some nine moons wasted” (84-85). Othello is self–conscience that he is not like the Venetians and knows that he isn’t as smooth a talker as the Venetians – “Rude [he is] in speech”(81). Although Othello doesn’t think he is a smooth talker he was able to win over Desdemona through talking about his life and battles – “This to hear would Desdemona seriously incline” (145).
This shows how honest Othello really is; he told the exciting true stories of his life not realizing that Desdemona would find them great. When Desdemona secured the fact that the stories were enriching and powerful it gave Othello a new confidence – “And that would woo [Desdemona] Upon this [he] spake” (166). Othello rises to an occasion when faced with difficulties; He decided to go to war straight away and there was no question is his mind he would be going –“a natural and prompt alacrity [he] find[s] in hardness”(232).
We see Othello make bad choices because of his Naivete’s; Othello puts Desdemona in the hands of “honest Iago”(294). This line is dramatic irony and juxtaposition because we know that Iago is not a very honest man at all and Othello has made a very bad judgment of him. What people say about Othello, how they act towards him and what they call him are all ways we can see Othello’s Character. We see Othello being portrayed negatively in some instances – “valiant moor” (47). This shows Othello’s race being compared with the word valiant; Being ‘Valiant’ is a positive thing but he is not calling Othello’s identity directly Valiant.
The duke then greets him as “Valiant Othello” (48). The Duke, who is supposed to be the representation of justice, does the opposite of the ‘first senator’ and call’s Othello Valiant for who he is, and not what he is. Brabantio on the other hand fears Othello and accuses him of “witchcraft” (64). Brabantio compares Othello to the ‘supernatural’ and the ‘unnatural’ he thinks that Othello could never have gotten Desdemona on his own because that would be unnatural, because he is unnatural (being black).
Also Brabantio never calls Othello by his name, always calling him “moor”(71). This shows that Brabantio will never experience the true Othello because he will always be blinded by Othello’s race. His love, Desdemona says Othello’s Character is honorable and brave – “And to his honors and his valiant parts did I my soul and fortunes consecrate” (252). The Duke see’s what others cannot see in Othello; he see’s goodness and justice in him – “your son-in-law is far more fair than black” (290). Iago see’s something different again in Othello.
Through Iago we see Othello’s flaw. Iago plans to convince Othello that Desdemona is cheating; Iago can do this because Othello is a very trusting and Naive person – “[he] thinks men honest that but seem to be so” (390). Through act 1 scene iii, we can see Othello’s character through what people say about him, how he acts and what he says about himself. Othello’s character is Naive, honorable and honest. His naivete’s cause him to make bad decisions and show that Iago can easily deceive Othello through his insecurities and self-consciousness of being a black outsider.