*INTRO*The character Oedipus in the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles, and the character Othello in the play Othello the Moor of Venice by Shakespeare are both tragic characters. Oedipus ends up killing his father, and marrying and having children with his mother, whereas Othello ends up mistrusting and killing his wife. These two individuals have similarities and differences in several aspects such as the roundness of their characters, the retribution that they incur upon themselves and upon their respective wives whether directly or indirectly, and their horrors.
*BODY 1* Both Oedipus and Othello are developed into round characters. Round characters are those that are well developed three dimensionally with multiple meaning to their characters. Oedipus is a character whose fate cannot be avoided, and which ever path he seems to take leads him to more trouble than what he had to deal with before. Even though his character is well-rounded, he is not believable. It would be highly unlikely that Oedipus would marry a woman who looked as if she could be his mother without asking a few questions about her past marriages and about her children. It could have caused some insight in their characters, and questions could have arisen about the first child which was sent away and thought of as dead. Othello on the other hand is a well-rounded character, and he is believable. Othello is a man who is filled with jealousy and mistrust he learns that his wife may be sleeping with another man. Anyone who has been in love has had this feeling once and a while, and that feeling is being fed by the person of whom they most trust, it can be devastating for that person. As Iago continually feeds Othello’s suspicion, his hurt and mistrust grows for his wife, until he finally kills her. The character of Oedipus is a round character, but cannot be believed due to the absurd circumstances of his marriage with Jocasta. Othello’s round character can be believed, because jealousy invades all of us at one time or another and for Othello, he chose to act upon it much like those who act in our society today.
*BODY 2*Both Oedipus as well as Othello afflict themselves and their wives. When Oedipus learns the truth about himself, about the overly dissipated acts of coupling with his mother and killing his father, his wife Jocasta slays herself in embarrassment. Her death is thus an indirect result of Oedipus’ wrongdoings. He then blinds himself in order to inflict self-punishment. Othello on the other hand mistakenly accuses his wife Desdemona of adultery with Cassio and hence throttles her to death. When he later realizes that his accusation was improperly based, he is overcome with guilt, and hence stabs himself to death. Thus, Oedipus performs moral destruction of himself where as Othello destroys himself by death.
*BODY 3*The horrors of Oedipus and Othello, although similar in certain ways, are different in others. Oedipus ends up uncovering a genuine horror; while Othello ends up realizing that the horror that exists is only in his mind. Oedipus’ horrors were made true by his own self; whereas Othello’s unreal horror was conceived and promulgated by his trusted general Iago. The horrors of both are also more or less a result of their choice in wedlock. Oedipus marries Jocasta fallaciously assuming that she would not be his mother thereby creating setting himself up for suffering once the truth reveals. Othello marries Desdemona, who is of a race different from his, and this is partially the reason why Iago chooses to make him suffer.
*CONCLUSION*In conclusion, when comparing and contrasting the protagonists Oedipus and Othello, the roundness of their characters, the indirect or direct retribution that they incur upon themselves and their respective wives, and their horrors illustrate the similarities and the differences among them. What’s most important is that both characters duly depict the importance of righteousness in this world thus bringing to light their individual nobilities.