After reading Shakespeare's play OTHELLO you have to ask yourself is Othello as much a victim as he is a murderer? An assumption may be that because Othello kills his wife after the devious behavior of Iago, then maybe Othello is a victim of Iago's evil. Some may argue that the sin of Iago to plot the down fall of the moor, is worse because it becomes a calculating mind compared to Othello's sin because he has become a pawn in Iago's hands. However, it is noticed that Othello allows himself to be manipulated.

Iago's suggestion of the infidelity of Desdemona, Othello's wife, provides just the excuse Othello needs to justify the destruction of the wife he believes can not truly love him. Desdemona's murder is a result of Othello's pride and quick judgment, as a result, he must be held accountable. Othello, unlike Iago, is capable of forming strong, loving relationships. His genuine friendship with Iago confirms this fact. Othello allows himself to be influenced by Iago, and allows Iago to bring out his most evil characteristics. Although Iago may be the more evil of the two, Othello does little to prevent his instincts from becoming dominant.

To see why Othello commits his crime and why he has to be held accountable for it, we must examine his motive. It can be claimed that what actually causes Othello to commit murder is not his being mentally weakened and manipulated by Iago, but rather his own pride and lack of confidence which he allows to gain control. Othello is a strong leader, but he is insecure with his personal qualities. He is in a new city with different customs. He has a new bride, a young and beautiful girl, who he loves but does not know well. The Moor surely is aware of the widespread prejudice in Venice and certainly has to question why Desdemona would go against her culture by marrying a black man.

Othello has his doubts about Desdemona before Iago begins his scheming. Even though his wife shows nothing but love for him, Othello cannot believe in her love wholeheartedly. "Tis not to make me jealous to say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company... Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw the smallest fear or doubt of her revolt, for she had eyes and chose me" (Act, Scene, 198) Othello is going to conclude that Desdemona's compassion and virtue alone enable her to love him. When Iago does shatter the Moor's idealistic image of Desdemona, he is simply reinforcing what Othello believes deep down to be totally possible: that Desdemona could love another man.

Iago is on hand to confirm Othello's suspicions. Iago tells Othello that he sees Casio wipe his beard with Desdemona's handkerchief, knowing that he is trying to set Othello up. "If it be that, or any that was hers, it speaks against her with the other proofs" (Act, Scene, 455). Iago tries to convince Othello that there is a lot of proof his wife is unfaithful. Why is it that Othello does not question his wife's treachery and Iago's accusations? It is because he always had a thought in the back of his mind that his wife was untrustworthy.

So when Iago presented the evidence it was proof enough and there was no questions asked. When Othello's mind is set on Desdemona cheating he too develops a calculating mind. He decides he want to make her pay for her actions. Othello claims that he is not seeking revenge.

However, by refusing Desdemona the chance to defend herself, it is not clear how his form of justice differs from pure vengeance. After all, she made him look like a fool. Othello is going to save others from falling into her trap; he is acting as judge and executioner without permitting Desdemona an attempt to prove her innocence. These are actions of a weak man.

He does not understand why she loves him and, therefore, cannot believe her love is genuine. So he smothers her without hesitance. In the last scene of the play Iago has no problem admitting what he has done. Although Iago's actions throughout the play are thoroughly deceitful, there is an honesty that comes with his admission. Iago knows he is a demon and he acted according to his nature. But Othello kills Desdemona under the righteous anger over injustice and will not admit his true motive.

When Othello finds out Desdemona is truly the pure and innocent wife he created in his mind, he is obligated to commit suicide. The Moor must again render justice, this time upon himself. Othello's remorse and subsequent suicide is the only reason why we should not place him on the same villainous level as Iago. But, at the same time, his feelings of guilt after-the-fact cannot be allowed to free him.

Othello has an obligation to allow Desdemona to prove her innocence. He chooses to disregard that in order to satisfy his feelings. It would be easier for us to defend Othello and put all the blame on Iago. Iago is an aberration, but Othello is 'Everyman', fighting an internal battle between good and evil. It would feel better to see Othello as a mental weakling, driven insane by his pain and confusion.

We could then say with certainty that he did not choose evil over good. But we cannot relieve him of blame. Othello's sin against Desdemona is as heinous as Iago's sin against Othello. Othello proves it with his own words when Desdemona asks for one more night then one more prayer and Othello says, "Nay, if you strive... Being done, there is no pause...

It is too late" (Act V, Scene II, 85). So when said and done Iago's plan to be Othello's right hand does not happen and Othello realizes his mistake and dies falling on Desdemona's body.