Comparison of Hamplet and Othello

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The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark and The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice have multiple areas that are similar and different. Each character seeks for some sort of revenge, but their focus is on different things. Not only that, but the antagonists in each play have some differences and similarities between them. The antagonist in The Tragedy of Hamlet is King Claudius and in The Tragedy of Othello it is clearly the character of Iago. Each character has a firm plan to take down the protagonist, but in the end they both seem to backfire. Lastly, between both plays there is a distinct treatment of women that catches the eyes of the readers. Within each play, women are not treated correctly and portray women to be seen as powerless.

William Shakespeare’s tragedies Hamlet and Othello have revenge, antagonists, and the treatment of women in common. Othello and Hamlet are both tragedies in which they are being driven by a character. They all follow classically nice men from nice heights to terrible ends and deaths. Each man is in a situation where he is vulnerable, and if they swapped places, they might not have fallen so easily. But as they fall, others fall with them, including the people they love. In the play, Hamlet goes into the deep psychological afflictions of a man whose mother marries his uncle, who has wrongfully murdered his father. The ghost of Hamlet’s father appears before Hamlet to tell him who his murderer is, and to make certain Hamlet will avenge his death.

Even though Hamlet seeks revenge, he delays his efforts because he is waiting for the perfect moment to strike. However, Hamlet’s obstruction to hunt revenge drives him virtually insane. In The Tragedy of Othello Iago has a big part in Othello’s decision making. Iago plants the seed in Othello's mind that his wife, Desdemona, is being unfaithful with Cassio. The reason Iago does this is because he is mad at Cassio for stealing his job and is believed to have slept with Iago’s wife Emilia. Out of rage and pure revenge because of Iago’s words, Othello eventually ends up killing his own wife by smothering her with a pillow, “Ay, let her rot, and perish and be damned /tonight, for she shall not live. No, my heart is turned /to stone. I strike it, and it hurts my hand. O, the/world hath not a sweeter creature! She might lie by/an emperor's side and command him tasks” (Othello, IV.i.200-204).

This is what Othello feels towards his wife after Iago tells him that she is unfaithful. Hamlet’s doubt and indecisiveness cause his rage and apparent madness, and Othello’s insecurity about his otherness leads to Iago’s ability to easily deceive and mislead Othello. Iago’s deception of character light-emitting diode to his rage and jealousy that ultimately cause his ending, while Hamlet’s fear of being wrong led to his own deception of everyone around him and thus caused his own demise.

In each play the main antagonists are Iago in The Tragedy of Othello and Claudius in The Tragedy of Hamlet. Iago and Claudius make plans to take down the protagonists; kin which these plans ultimately backfire. In contrast, at the end of each play each antagonist has different morals. At the end of the play, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Claudius seems to recognize his mistakes and shows remorse for his actions. On the other hand, at the end of The Tragedy of Othello, Iago has the opposite feelings as he seems to feel no remorse and says “Demand me nothing, what you know, you know. From this time forth I never will speak a word” (Othello,V.ii,355-356).

In each of Shakespeare’s play the treatment or role of women is something that is not a big focus, and are women are treated poorly. Even though they might not be the main focus as the men in the play, main female protagonists Ophelia and Desdemona, respectively, are only involved in a situation in which men are the key focus. Then leading to the conclusion that the females in these plays are only of secondary importance, and that they lack independence.

However, these two characters do have an independence of thought, but due to the environment they are put in, they lack the independence in action throughout the play. This can especially be seen in Ophelia’s known state of madness and Desdemona and Emilia’s private conversations. Furthermore, it is contended that although women are frail, this is not of their nature. As Shakespeare wrote within the Elizabethan era, the attitudes of the male characters in Hamlet and Othello should come as no surprise; this was the epitome of the patriarchal society and this background is that the key to understanding why Shakespeare used such plan of action ways.

In conclusion, William Shakespeare’s tragedies Hamlet and Othello have revenge, antagonists, and the treatment of women in common. Even though these main components might be similar, there are even some slight contextual differences. Each character seeks revenge but goes about it in different ways; there are two antagonists in each play, which is Iago and Claudius, and they each make plans to take down the antagonists but these plans ultimately backfire; and the women are seen to be powerless, yet they have an independent voice throughout the play. 

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Comparison Of Hamplet And Othello. (2019, Jul 18). Retrieved March 5, 2024 , from

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