Shakespeare’s Act 4 from Othello exhibits the dramatic swings of human behavior. Iago persistently bombards Othello with the images and invented proof of Desdemona and Cassio’s affair. Othello as result begins to treat Desdemona with hatred and bitterness. He slaps her in front of Lodovico, calls her a whore, and commands her off to bed. Just one act earlier Othello was boasting his love for Desdemona. The extreme switch in his behavior in Act 4 of Othello by Shakespeare demonstrates the striking waves of an individual’s behavior.
Shakespeare’s Othello Act 4 proves that humans are not infact creatures of consistency and equilibrium, because it gives evidence of Othello’s drastic change of perspective. Othello is fully convinced by Iago that Desdemona is romantically entwined with Cassio. Enraged by this, Othello begins to reprimand Desdemona. He calls her a whore, disrespects her, and slaps her in front of Lodovico. Worst of all he refuses to discuss the sources of the rumors, or work out the kinks of their relationship. Othello denies her pleads of honesty, then blatantly states “ I cry you mercy, then. I took you for that cunning whore of Venice That married with Othello” (Shakespeare 4.4, 103-104). Othello discards his loyalty and love for Desdemona with those very words, by belittling his beloved wife to a level worth little more than dirt. Othello calls Desdemona a whore, something which only a little while ago would’ve never crossed his mind.
One might argue that Othello’s mind was forcefully swayed by Iago. He is indeed a mastermind of manipulation, and his cruel ways are pure toxins to Othello’s genuine demeanor. Iago pours his words of poison into Othello’s ears. He depicts the intimate relations of Cassio and Desdemona, prying his heart one way, and stabbing it in another by posing the statement “Or to be naked with her friend in bed An hour or more, not meaning any harm?” (Shakespeare 4.1, 5-6). He tells him of Desdemona’s entanglement with his own lieutenant, uncoiling all the loyalty Othello thought she owed him. He lures Othello in with the symbol of the handkerchief, and stages those he loves to say things out of context, which sends Othello’s paranoid mind into complete insanity.
After reading countless stanzas of Iago’s planned venom, one can easily begin to adopt the idea that Othello had no choice but to succumb to the sick ideals laid before him. But rather than focusing on Iago’s words, one must focus on the Othello that was first introduced, for Othello is an accurate depiction of a dramatically varying person. He did indeed fight for Desdemona’s love, and married her under agreement that he would love her till death do thy part. Othello a man battered by war, prejudice, and hardship, is easily swayed by words of diversion. Othello is a prime example of how easily riveted and diverged the human soul is.
Shakespeare’s Act 4 from Othello is an accurate representation of the moldability of the human mind, for Othello, the most hardwired of all, yields to force and turns on his love.