Compare and Contrast the Characters Othello and Oedipus the King


At the time of contrasting and comparing the traits of Othello and Oedipus, it is vital to recognize that it has to be through the means of varied theatrical activities, as it has to be noted that, many productions and interpretations have been issued concerning there plays as they look similar. Even if they were written by two different writers, both Oedipus and Othello are great people; they end up meeting their own downfall. They also have tragic traits as they eventually kill someone they love. This essay compares and contrasts Othello and Oedipus (Shakespeare 16).


The two actors, Othello and Oedipus are presented as with prominent character trait.

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Othello in his rein was highly respected general, whose service record could be regarded as impeccable in the Venetian troop. On the other hand, Oedipus was just a newly a pointed king in his community of Thebe. The two leaders in the two poems were all valued and honored by their subjects in their different territories. The two characters had to overcome several obstacles in a manner that led many of their followers to respect and honor them, and their royal positions (Shakespeare 24 & 167) Looking at Othello, it can be noticed that, Othello can be considered to be the black member of his society, nevertheless, at the time of the race of Caucasian; he was looked upon by the society as very much superior as compared to other races. Though he was much respected and honored as a general, his people still at other times, he was down looked upon just as a human being (Smith 34). The illustration of such a regard and expression can be seen in the opposition of Desdemona’s father.


In the process of fulfilling the definition of a term tragedy, the main actors in plays have to lead their downfall.

The same thing happens to the two actors; Rex Oedipus and Othello. Each one of them has some difficulties in telling what has been the truth in their leadership. Looking at Othello, he can be considered as a person who can be easily cheated. His main mistake was trusting evil individuals and losing trust to his own wife. He was just easily tricked by the masterminds of Lago, who had the minds of destroying him. They said “They are loves I bear to you” (Dana 234) and he ended believing them. While when he was just about to kill his wife, he was did not belive her when she said that “My lord, you know I love you” ( Dana 234).

After the realization of Othello that he as a king has some troubles in looking at the reality, he was misguided into believing that his own and real spouse has been engaging in extramarital affairs with one of his own trusted lieutenant named Cassio. Othello ended up killing Desdemona, and after getting to know the scheme of Lago, he ended up taking his own life, hence resulting to his downfall. On the side of Oedipus, his past actions came back haunting him whenever he was. This led to his downfall. This proves that Othello is blind in his senses.

This is because, not only ones that Lago had deceived him, and he never opened his eyes to see what was happening. This shows that “He is not observant” (Bradley 23). In contrast to what was happening to Othello’s present deeds that led to his dismiss. “The protagonist of the tragedy is the son of King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes” (Brunner 176). Earlier before making a step of defeating the Sphinx, on his way, he met and killed a small group of individuals, forgetting that his predecessor, his father, king Laius was also in the group. At the time he was called upon by the gods to find and ensure that the murder is found and expelled, he gets to know through his own investigation that he was the victim who slayed his own father and that one of his wives is his mother, as he married his mother by the name, Jocasta. “In his investigation although, he was faced with many difficulties in seeing the reality that the prophets provided” (Smith 75).

This investigation might have led him take his own life later. The two of them, had the same character of being prideful, before time came for their downfall. They used to be men who had accomplished many extraordinary things. On top of that, they all had excellent leadership qualities empowered unto them by the Almighty if it can be concluded. Firstly, looking at Othello, he can be considered as one who had upstanding citizenship qualities and was very much famous due to his military successes (Shakespeare 39).

Somehow, he can be considered as holding the mystical traits. This can hold more water by looking at the fact that, he just came from a foreign land that taught him adventure experience that thunderstruck the Venetian community.( Shakespeare, 47-48).


Considering Oedipus, we can conclude that, he was also to an extent a renaissance person. Just like Othello, he was much known because Bradley of his successes in military; on the other hand, his true pride came from his position as a king of Thebe was happen to be wise and confident in his undertakings. Oedipus stated that “I Oedipus whom all men call the great.” (Sophocles line 7).

Every pride of an individual can be looked upon as a catalyst, of an early stage of a downfall, which might happen in different ways. We can see that, being a pride individual, he killed his wife on the reason that, she was not loyal to him at all. In the same connection, Oedipus did not want to let the killers of Laius just go undiscovered.

All these let to their downfall.

Works Cited


Shakespearean Tragedy. London: MacMillan and Co., 1919. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2009. (18 Nov 2010) http://www.shakespeare-online.

com/plays/othello/othellobradley2.html Shakespeare, William. Othello, the Moor of Venice.

Ed. David Bevington. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. X.

J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 6th ed. New York: Longman, 2010. 912. Print. Smith, Shawn. Love, Pity, and Deception In Othello.

Papers on Language & Literature 44.1 (2008): 3-51, 49. Master FILE Premier. EBSCOhost. Tarrant County College Library Database, Texas.

Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald.

Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. X.J. Kennedy, and Dana Gioia . 6th ed.

New York: Longman, 2010. 860. Print. Dana, Gioia. Literature An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry Drama and Writing 6th Ed.

New York: X.Y Kennedy. Brunner, M.

King Oedipus Retried. London: Rosenberger & Krausz, 2000.


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