The Merchant of Venice: Critical Analysis of Shylock's Character; Shylock A Nation in A Man

Despite his traditional attitude toward non-Christians, Shakespeare in "The Merchant of Venice" surpasses the norms of his time in his attempt to understand his enemy and to present him as a real human being. Through the conflict between Antonio -the Christian-and Shylock -the Jew- Shakespeare is able to portray an accurate image of society in his times; mainly the conflict between Christians and Jews. 

To fully realize the scope and importance of this literary achievement, one must know something about European society all that time. The Catholic priest and social critic Erasmus says: "If it is incumbent upon a good Christian to hate the Jews, then we are all good Christians."  That was the attitude of the great majority of Christians in Europe at that time, and it is in this sense that Antonio is a good Christian. 

SHYLOCK: He hates our sacred nation. (P27) 
           SHYLOCK: You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, 
                                    And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine, (P31)
        ANTONIO: But lend it rather to thine enemy. (P33) 

The rules and regulations made by the church, along with social circumstances in Europe, denied the Jews their right to work as farmers or in other professions except in money transactions and usury. The church also forced all Jews to wear badges like those worn by prostitutes and heretics, and profaned Christians from dealing in usury. Antonio clearly expresses this attitude by saying: "I neither lend nor borrow by taking nor by giving of excess". So Jews were set outside the legal and ethical frames of society as outcast capitalists. 

As a result, Jews flourished by dealing with Christian traders who started to depend more and more on usury in their business transactions. Thus, strange duality appeared: Jews's bad conditions as citizens on one hand, and their superior financial status that surpassed all other merchants in the 17th century on the other hand. After a while "Jew" became synonymous to "usurer" and the Jew's yellow badge became "a symbol for coins which identified the jews with Judas in the Christian mentality" as Polyakov says. Antonio in the play is a representative of these Christian bourgeois who appeared after the economical revolution in the 16th century. Loaning enterprises in Italian cities were established by these Christians determined to rid their cities of Jewish influence and drive them out of business. 

                SHYLOCK: He lends out money gratis, and brings down 
 The rate of usance here with us in Venice. (P27) 
             SHYLOCK: For were he out of Venice I can make what merchandise I will. (P95) 

Ultimately, European bourgeois ended by integrating the utilitarian Jewish mentality and finally the practical Christian became a Jew. Its also worth noting that, in the 16th and 17th century, massacres and mass evacuations of Jews swept across Europe except in Italy, perhaps that is why the play's setting is in Italy instead of England. 

SHYLOCK: I am not bid for love; they flatter me; 
                                But yet I will go in hate, to feed upon. (P61)

Shakespeare's true genius is seen in the character of Shylock, the man in whom Shakespeare drew a nation in all its pain, tradition and greed. The Jewish people started as wandering tribes, and Shakespeare noticed the strong affinity between nomadic life and trade. A shepherd working on breeding his flock is like a trader working on increasing his capital, for both sheep and money breed quickly. 

       SHYLOCK: I cannot tell, I make it breed as fast. (P31)

Having been persecuted by Christians for a long time, Jews came to realize that money is life itself. They had to buy their lives and security from kings and nobility, and in those conditions money acquired false sacredness to them.  

      SHYLOCK: Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that.
                            You take my house when you do take the prop
                          That doth sustain my house; you take my life
                                     When you do take the means whereby I live. (P157)

Jews learned from bloody experiences that coins can be easily hidden and moved quickly. They also learned that usury helps them avoid moving among hostile communities, so the person in need would have to go to the usurer's home instead. The Jewish character is the result of Jewish teachings that identifies wealth with blessing and poverty with damnation. Judaism emphasizes the sacredness of work and the virtue of frugality. 

     SHYLOCK: This was a way to thrive, and he was blest;
                              And thrift is blessing if men steal it not. (P31)
  SHYLOCK: Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day
                                             More than the wild cat; drones hive not with me, (P63) 

Jews use scripture to support their way of life, disregarding all other warnings in the Old Testament against usury. 

    ANTONIO: The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose; 

The laws which forced the ghetto life on Jews allowed them to revive their nation. Inside the ghettos, they lived their lives according to their faith in all its ritualistic aspects. 

               SHYLOCK: What says that fool of Hagar's offspring, ha? (P63)
   SHYLOCK: An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven; 
                     Shall I lay perjury upon my soul? (P145)

Separating themselves from Christians, forbidden to marry, to eat, or even to be buried with them.
                              SHYLOCK: Would any of the stock of Barabbas 
                                        Had been her husband, rather than a Christian. (P151) 
                  SHYLOCK: I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk  
                                        with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you,  
                  drink with you, nor pray with you. (P27)

Mass genocides strengthened jewish ties and deepened their feeling of alienation. 

 SHYLOCK: Still have I borne it with a patient shrug, 
                                   For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe. (P31)
                    SHYLOCK: Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, ... If you
                                          prick us, do we not bleed? ... If you poison us, do we
                                            not die? And if wrong us, shall we not revenge? (P91)

Judaism survived as a nation bond when the nation became a class. Inside the ghettos there was no financial competitions and no conflicts, because family and tribal bonds between Jews obliged them to help each other in financial crisis. 

SHYLOCK: Tubal, a wealthy Hebrew of my tribe,
will furnish me. (P29)

Hegel noted "Every Jew held himself responsible for the mistakes of his community and he behaved accordingly." 

                      SHYLOCK: The curse never fell upon our nation till now. (P91) 

What was important in Judaism was not the immortality of the individual but rather the immortality of Jewish people. Shakespeare brilliantly shows this when Shylock says: "Cursed be my tribe if I forgive him."  

The Awakening by Kate Chopin : A Critical Analysis

Reading and comprehending the novel, The Awakening, by Kate Chopin is an inordinately laborious experience, reminding the reader a woman’s education is lacking during this period. The novel demands the mind of the reader to correspond the novel with appropriate grammar while interpolating and interpreting the historical progression of society from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century. The theme of the novel concentrates on the marriage and life of a Southern American woman, Edna, who marries a man of a different religion in “violent opposition of her father . . . to her marriage with a Catholic”. The belief is since “. . . the conduct of a woman is subservient to the public opinion, her faith in matters of religion should, for that very reason, be subject to authority”.

Kate Chopin used her writing as a technique to indirectly explicate her life by the means of narrating her stories through the characters she created. Kate Chopin was one of the modern writers of her time, one who wrote novels concentrating on the common social matters related to women. Her time period consisted of other female authors that focused on the same central theme during the era: exposing the unfairness of the patriarchal society, and women’s search for selfhood, and their search for identity. In Chopin’s novel The Awakening, she incorporates the themes mentioned above to illustrate the veracity of life as she understood it. A literary work approached by the feminist critique seeks to raise awareness of the importance and higher qualities of women. Women in literature may uncover their strengths or find their independence, raising their own self recognition. Several critics deem Chopin as one of the leading feminists of her age because she was willing to publish stories that dealt with women becoming self-governing, who stood up for themselves and novels that explored the difficulties that they faced during the time. Chopin scrutinized sole problems and was not frightened to suggest that women desired something that they were not normally permitted to have: independence. Chopin’s decision to focus on and emphasize the imbalances between the sexes is heavily influenced by her upbringing, her feelings towards society, and the era she subsisted in.

How Chopin was raised and educated not only inspired her but it also assisted her with her writing capabilities. On February 8th, 1851 Chopin was born Katherine O’Flaherty, to Thomas O’Flaherty and Eliza O’Flaherty. It is said that Chopin’s father, a businessman from Ireland, proved to be one of her first influences in her life because he happily fortified her attentiveness in writing (3). Unfortunately on November 1st of 1855, her father passed away as a victim to a train accident. Because of his ill-starred death, Kate was fostered by three strong motherly figures: her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Aside from her father, another big influence in Kate’s life was her great-grandmother. Madame Victoire Verdon Charleville was Kate’s great-grandmother, a figure that possessed a great deal of knowledge who through the art of storytelling paved the way for Kate to learn to be a successful storyteller. Madame Charleville would tell Kate French anecdotes, giving Kate, “…a taste of the culture and freedom allowed by the French that many Americans during this time disapproved of” (3). The themes evident in Chopin’s great grandmother’s stories consisted of women struggling with morality, freedom, convention, and desire. Therefore, Chopin grew up hearing stories of the various struggles women faced in not only her society but that of the one Madame Charleville would constantly tell her stories of. Her stories provided Kate with an idea on what her own stories should incorporate and it also helped influence Chopin’s writing style. As seen in The Awakening, there are moments where the characters will speak in French which conveys that Chopin used what she had learned from her great grandmother to enhance her own stories. Kenneth Eble speaks of Chopin’s “Underground imagination”—“the imaginative life which seems to have gone on from early childhood somewhat beneath and apart from her well-regulated actual existence” (2). This critic is saying that what she was able to depict in her stories originates from what she had grown up knowing and the things she had experienced from her childhood to adulthood. In the novel, The Awakening, there was a quote that described Edna Pontellier, the main character in the book: “Even as a child she had lived her own small life all within herself. At a very early period she had apprehended instinctively the dual life---that outward existence, which conforms, the inward life which questions” (2). Although this quote was used to describe Edna, it also indirectly refers back to the author, Chopin. Chopin had grown to live in her own little world where she understood the orthodoxies within her society and the conflictions that she had questioned.

Through her literary works, Chopin was able to voice her disparaging feelings about the male-controlled social order she lived in. All throughout her novel, The Awakening, there are evident clues expressing the types of views on women in society. In the story, women were portrayed as inferior to men; they wouldn’t have as many opportunities as men were given. People did not suspect women to be smart, or to be independent. This story conveyed that during that time frame, the era Chopin lived in, men were seen as the dominant figure and the women just lived under their roof following their rules.

Chopin expresses her thought on the whole male controlling society in various passages in her novel: “It seems to me the utmost folly for a woman at the head of a household, and the mother of children, to spend in an atelier days which would be better employed contriving for the comfort of her family” (1, pg.77). This quote signifies how society considered women to be, better employed in the house rather than out in society. Women had vital duties to fulfill within their homes mainly taking care of the children as well as maintaining the household while the male figure worked and brought home the money. Women during the time were not able to disobey their husband because society thought of it as wrong; women were to only obey their husbands and submission was the only option.

At some points in the novel Edna never realized that she would heed to Mr. Pontellier’s every commands without even thinking: “She would, through habit, have yielded to his desire; nor with any sense of submission or obedience to his compelling wishes, but unthinkingly, as we walk, move, sit, stand, go through the daily treadmill of the life which has been portioned out to us” (1, pg.42). This quote symbolizes how women were seen during the time. Women were like a doll, controlled by one master: their husband. They had to be obedient to their husbands every compelling wish, without having any thoughts as if it was natural to do so.

Another example in the novel that goes into depth what Chopin thought about women in society is when she was describing the women in her novel. She narrates, “They were women who idolized their children, worshipped their husbands and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels” (1, pg.10). It only goes to show that women were expected to fulfill their obligations as not only a mother but also a wife by fostering the children and “worshipping” their husbands.

Eventually Chopin starts to refer to women becoming more involved in life and striving towards independence in the male dominating society they lived in. Women began to realize their place in the universe as human beings and not just valuable possessions in which men could take control over. This type of realizations is also referenced in the book through the main character, Edna. “In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her” (1,pg.17). She was beginning to realize where she stood in society and she was starting to recognize who she was as an individual. According to the St. Louis Post- Dispatch Review, Edna, whose spouse has loosely held valued as a bit of decorative furniture, a valuable piece of personal property suddenly becomes aware Edna is a human being (5). This remark explains that Leonce, Edna’s husband starts to fathom that Edna is her own person, not some doll that he can play with and laugh at, at any moment or second of the day.

Another factor that contributes to why Chopin decides to focus on the inequalities among the sexes is because of the era she had lived in. During the 1800s, the time period Chopin lived in, women faced many issues during the time. They had always been beleaguered because they were said to be the inferior sex when compared to men, who were seen as better both mentally, psychologically, and physically. Women had finally woken to realize their social oppression and as a result they became defiant in nature and spirit, rising above the obstacles they faced within society. Women started to rebel because they yearned for sovereignty within the male dominant society they existed in. Authors similar to Chopin wrote to inform people of the important issues for women; they focused on pointing out the unfairness imposed on women. They were able to portray women through their characters, as human beings, as opposed to self-sacrificing and dedicated women, as was expected of women during that era. As said by critic, Seyersted, “Revolting against tradition and authority; with daring which we can hardy fathom today; with an uncompromising honesty and no trace of sensationalism, she undertook to give the unsparing truth about woman’s submerged life” (2). He speaks of Chopin’s recalcitrant nature, an author who acknowledged passion and was not afraid to stand by what was unbiased and what was practical. According to The Kate Chopin International Society, “…most of what has been written about Kate Chopin since 1969 is feminist in nature or is focused on women’s positions in society” (2). Chopin made a great impact during her time because she was able to inform people, her readers of what women had to cope with and the inequitableness of the societal restraints.

She expresses this within the book through the experiences of Edna Pontellier. Edna is depicted as a strong, courageous, daring woman who found that she no longer desired to live by society’s constraints of the time. Edna ends up acting upon her passion and emotions by committing sins so long as it exercises her independence and personal freedom.

The time period she lived in had a great influence on her writing because she was able to show people the underlying issues women faced without directly stating it. She was able to open the eyes of her readers to the facts and the situations occurring during the time. The era provided her with ideas and reasons to write such novels like The Awakening, and with this expressed her emotions and thoughts on life during the period.

Authors like Chopin helped people realize what was going on during the 1800s. They were able to incorporate the thoughts of women, and what duties society expected them to fulfill during the era. Although these authors were criticized because of what they wrote, they were honest with their opinions and outlooks. According to the Los Angeles Sunday Times, Chopin “…wanted to preach the doctrine of the right of the individual to have what he wants, no matter whether or not it may be good for him” (4). The Los Angeles Sunday Times acknowledges that Chopin’s focus was to convey the rights of women no matter how consequential it might be. Kate Chopin’s upbringing, views on society, and the era she lived in are all incorporated in her novel The Awakening, which expresses the inequalities between male and female.

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin: A Critical Analysis of the Emotional theme

In “The Story of an Hour” (1894), Kate Chopin focuses on a late nineteenth century American woman’s dramatic hour of awakening into selfhood, which enables her to live the last moments of her life with an acute consciousness of life’s immeasurable beauty. Mrs. Mallard, who suffers from a weak heart, seems to live a psychologically torpid and anemic life until she hears the news of her husband’s death. This news comes from her husband’s friend, who says that Brently Mallard has died in a railroad accident. Mrs. Mallard’s sister, Josephine, mindful of Mrs. Mallard’s heart condition, breaks the news to her “in broken sentences” and “veiled hints.” But when Mrs. Mallard hears the shocking news, she undergoes a profound transformation that empowers her with a “clear and exalted perception.” As Chopin demonstrates, this heightened consciousness comes to the protagonist because of her awakened emotions. Revealing her own dynamic and avant-garde understanding, Chopin rejects the tradition of attributing supremacy to the faculty of reason in the act of perception, and she attributes it instead to the faculty of emotions.

When she hears the news of her husband’s death, Mrs. Mallard’s obliviousness to the beauty of life breaks down under the powerful impact of emotion. Until this moment, Mrs. Mallard hardly thinks it worthwhile to continue her existence; as the narrator of the story says, “It was only yesterday [Mrs. Mallard] had thought with a shudder that life might be long.” Her life until this point seems devoid of emotion, as the lines in her face “bespeak repression.” Upon hearing the news, her sorrow gushes out in a torrent: “She wept at once with sudden, wild abandonment.” The narrator points out, however, that Mrs. Mallard is not struck, as “many women” have been, by “a paralyzed inability” to accept the painful sense of loss. On the contrary, she is roused from her passivity by an uncontrollable flood of emotion. This “storm” that “haunt[s] her body and seem[s] to reach into her soul” ultimately purges her of the sufferance of a meaningless life, as it becomes the impetus for the revelation that leads to her new freedom.

Until her moment of illumination, Mrs. Mallard’s emotions have been stifled and suppressed to fit into the mold of hollow social conventions. As Chopin implies, Mrs. Mallard’s “heart trouble” is not so much a physical ailment, as the other characters in the story think, as a sign of a woman who has unconsciously surrendered her heart (i.e., her identity as an individual) to the culture of paternalism. This repression has long brewed in the depths of Mrs. Mallard’s heart (emotionally speaking), and it causes her to be generally apathetic toward life. The physiological aspect of Mrs. Mallard’s heart ailment appears to be, then, a result of the psychological burden of allowing another individual’s (i.e., her husband’s) “powerful will” to smother and silence her own will. In the patriarchal world of the nineteenth- century United States that Chopin depicts, a woman was not expected to engage in self-assertion. As Norma Basch observes of the American legal and economic milieu of the period, the patriarchy of that time “mandated the complete dependence of wives on husbands,” making marriage “a form of slavery.” The virtuous wife, in Mrs. Mallard’s world, was the submissive woman who accepts the convention that her husband has “a right to impose a private will” upon her—as Mrs. Mallard realizes has been true of her marriage. So insistent is this artificial life of empty conventions for Mrs. Mallard that it tries to assert itself even after its barriers are broken, as she sits in her room and begins to comprehend the freedom that awaits her as a widow: “She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will.” But the excitement in her heart, which is supposed to be frail, is uncontrollable, and her fear soon transforms into joy. That is, the power of her emotions conquers the force of conventionality.

As she sets aside the world of social conventions, her emotions underscore the individuality that is awakening in her. “This thing” that is approaching her is her consciousness of her own individuality, and she waits for it “fear- fully.” Accompanying it is “a monstrous joy” that highlights the colossal significance of self-discovery at the expense of the hollow conventions that would dismiss her joy as horribly inappropriate and unbecoming. Now, however, joy and hope lead her to an awareness that she has become, as she realizes, “Free! Body and soul free!” Just as she locks herself in her room and locks out her social world, she also locks out social conventions. And thus, purging her repressed emotions, she awakens to all the individual elements of her natural environment: she notices, as she looks out her bed- room window, the trees, the rain, the air, the peddler’s voice, the notes of a song, the sparrows, the sky, and the clouds. Because her emotions are no longer bottled, Louise Mallard attends to “the sounds, the scents, the color” in the natural world, and they teach her of the sounds, the scents, and the color within her own soul. That is, they teach her of the particular combination of attributes within her soul that make her a unique individual. Clearly, her new emotional freedom leads to the awakening of her mind.

Chopin’s investigation of emotion in this story clearly fits R. J. Dolan’s argument that emotion influences not simply attention, but also “pre-attentive processing.” As Chopin shows through Louise, the act of watching nature and engaging in sense perception is the act of processing emotional stimuli: “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air.” These objects inspire joy and hope in her, which, in turn, stir Louise’s attention: “She felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.” The “it” that she feels emerging from nature is the vision, or perception, of her freedom, which occurs through her aroused emotions. The presence of emotion signifies Louise’s sensitivity, responsiveness, and mindfulness.

Indeed, it is not the rational faculty that enables Louise’s discovery of her individuality. As Chopin carefully points out, the coming of consciousness occurs suddenly, spontaneously, intuitively. As Louise looks out her window, her face shows “not a glance of reflection, but rather . . . a suspension of intelligent thought.” The discovery of her individuality is “too subtle and elusive” for the rational faculty to analyze and grasp. It can only be “felt” first with instinct and then with emotions. Alone and unencumbered in her room, Louise spontaneously opens herself to the sublimity and grandeur of the physical world around her, of which she herself is a part.

As Chopin demonstrates through the physical changes in Louise, emotion connects the soul to the body. As her body responds to her emotions, she feels a rhythmic connection to the physical world. As John Deigh defines emotion, it is “a state through which the world engages our thinking and elicits our pleasure or displeasure,” for it is the “turbulence of the mind” that “captures our attention, orients our thoughts, and touches our sensibilities.” Fittingly, Louise’s emotions enable her to feel harmony between her body and soul. According to William James, a psychologist who was a contemporary of Chopin’s, “bodily feelings” are “characteristics” of “various emotional moods.” Fittingly, Chopin underscores Louise’s physical state: “Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously.” At this point Louise’s apparent emotional anemia has given way to healthy blood circulation: “Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.” Indeed, if James argues that “the immediate cause of emotion is a physical effect on the nerves,” Chopin demonstrates that emotion is accompanied by physical changes: Louise’s “coursing blood” reflects her profound joy about her new sense of life’s sacred beauty.

Chopin also shows the influence of Romanticism in her emphasis on the creative role of emotions. As M. H. Abrams argues, for the Romantics, the poet “modifies or transforms the materials of sense”: “objects of sense are fused and remolded in the crucible of emotion and the passionate imagination”. Similarly, Louise’s passion influences her imagination: “Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her”. Evidently, her feelings of curiosity and wonder influence her “fancy,” which here is synonymous with the creative faculty of imagination. But, in using the word “fancy” instead of imagination, Chopin suggests that it is emotions that are prompting the creative work. As Abrams interprets the Romantic viewpoint, “feelings project a light—especially a colored light—on objects of sense.” Stepping beyond the Romantics, not only does Chopin make Louise’s flooding emotions vitalize the landscape, but she also makes the latter’s emotions create a meaningful, purposeful landscape: it symbolizes the stirring, creative, dynamic forces of life.

Further, Chopin uses nature—the objects of sense—as a symbol of the powerful faculty of emotions, which creates design and harmony. Just as spring symbolizes the “new . . . life,” so the natural world symbolizes the vigor and power of Louise’s “wild abandonment,” her passionate outburst. As nature returns to life after winter, so Louise’s emotions return to life after a prolonged winter of patriarchal confinement. Furthermore, just as nature awakens instinctively, so do Louise’s repressed emotions. That is, as nature bursts with energy and vitality, so does Louise’s love of life. Louise’s emotions bring together all the individual elements of the natural world in such a way that they form a new pattern, a unique living picture. Because her husband, the source of her suppressed and repressed emotions, suddenly seems to have disappeared, her bottled emotions gush out to taste freedom just as the world of nature (“the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air”) breaks out spontaneously. And yet her society rejects this natural world of emotions and associates it with illness. Thus Josephine implores, “Louise, open the door . . . you will make yourself ill.” While Chopin associates emotions with sound health, the nineteenth-century patriarchy associates them with ill health. Louise’s responsiveness to the sounds, scents, and color is her excited and intense responsiveness to beauty. To feel life’s beauty, then, is to see the beauty of one’s own life. For to look at the world of nature is to feel life’s innate, spontaneous beauty: “she was drinking in a very elixir of life through the open window.” Indeed, the base metal of her own life is now transformed to invaluable gold because of her “abandonment” to her own nature. As Chopin illustrates through Louise’s sense of freedom, the latter engages in an interpretive act that shows how the individual creates meaning for herself through the faculty of emotions. So profound is this awakening that in that one hour of self-fulfillment, Louise experiences a taste of eternity.

In that one hour, then, Louise sees and creates a new identity with her newly awakened faculty of emotions. Chopin illustrates the role of the emotions in creating the moment of illumination by highlighting the connection between her eyes and her emotions: “The vacant stare and the look of terror . . . went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright.” The awareness that transforms Mrs. Mallard into Louise, the individual, and that makes her “see beyond” the stifling past into a promising future is the product of acute emotions: “There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory.” Louise breaks the shackles of the patriarchal culture as she comprehends that she can “live for herself” instead of living the life that her husband sanctions for her. And this comprehension has to be felt with emotions. Thus Chopin shows how Louise’s faculty of emotions influences her faculty of reason: she now comprehends her “possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being.” As Dolan observes, there is a strong relationship between emotion and cognition: “the growth of emotional awareness informs mechanisms that underwrite the emergence of self-identity and social competence.” Standing confidently at the top of the stairs, the height of which represents Louise’s exalted state, she has reached the zenith of self- awareness.

Thus it is no surprise that Louise suffers an acutely painful—and ultimately fatal—shock when her husband returns home. It turns out that he has missed his train and thus has been spared the accident that otherwise would have killed him. He arrives home and enters through the front door just as Louise, at the end of her “brief moment of illumination,” is making her symbolic descent down the stairs. When she spots her husband, Louise seems to realize in an instant not only that her husband, as a proponent of patriarchal culture, would never allow for a woman’s self-discovery, but also that she could never reverse her progress and once again take up the confinement of her former life. At the sight of her husband she is at once profoundly aware of her newfound freedom and the fact that it will not last. The shock that kills her must, then, be the realization that she has lost this freedom, and with it her human individuality. Her emotions spread through her entire being so profoundly that they lead to another severe physical change, and she dies immediately.

As Chopin demonstrates, then, so powerful is emotion that it enables clarity of perception in Louise. It allows her to perceive life’s immeasurable beauty, without which, as she realizes with the suddenness of acutely shocking pain at the sudden entry of her husband, there is only death: the “joy” that kills Louise is the joy that (unbeknownst to the doctors who ironically assume that it is joy at her husband’s return that kills her) she refuses to surrender, as the patriarchy would require her to do at Brently’s return. But, for one climactic hour of her life, Louise does truly taste joy. For one hour of emotion, Louise does glimpse meaning and fulfillment. To be fully alive, then, is to engage in heightened consciousness, to observe and connect with the world around one’s self. Indeed, Chopin makes clear that to simply observe the world through one’s rational faculty is nowhere near as powerful as observing it with the vibrant, vigorous, acute, and heightened awareness that emotion makes possible.

D.H. Lawrence's Sons & Lovers: The Decline of the Male Figure

One of the features of the English novel is the transition period (1880- 1920) is the progressive decline of the hero. It is not the purpose of this research to investigate why this should have taken place, but several critics have put forward their own interpretations of this phenomenon. It may be the decreasing stature of the authoritarian father figure in the fiction of the transition period linked to the decline of the hero. The fact that England was ruled by a queen, who was openly referred to as the "Mother" of the country, is probably important.

What I have tried to do in the pages that follow is to show that the image of the great male figure underwent considerable change in D.H. Lawrence's autobiographical  novel Sons and Lovers.

Lawrence's  outlook on life is not much different from that of his contemporaries. He, too, is interested in the study of man and the record of the human experience. He believed in the individuality of man and his right to establish world according to his own world according to his line of thought.

In Sons and Lovers (1913) D.H. Lawrence attacked not only the Victorian society, but also the Victorian family. Perhaps his personal experience as a son of a  collier motivated him to write about the miners and their painful life. Because of his parents unhappy marriage, D.H. Lawrence denied all social bonds. He believed in the freedom of the individual: "Each (man or woman) must be true to himself, herself, his own manhood, her own womanhood, and let the relationship work out of itself."

Mrs. Morel in Sons and Lovers was a proud, highly-cultured woman, married beneath her to Walter Morel a vigorous miner. This marriage did not bring her the happiness she had dreamt of. On the contrary, she became one of miserable wives we often encounter in fiction.

Why did Mrs. Morel marry beneath? This question usually confuses the reader. Mrs. Morel, to be sure,was enchanted by Mr.Morel's physical appearance. The novel presents him as a man full of animation, vigor and virility. Such qualities might enchant any woman who had got the same breeding:

                                       He had that rare thing, a rich, ringing
                                       laugh. Gertrude Coppard had watched
                                       him fascinated. He was so full of color 
                                       and animation... he was so ready and
                                       pleasant with everybody. Her own father
                                       had a rich fund of humor, but it was satiric.
                                       This man's was different: soft, non-
                                       intellectual, warm, a kind of gamboling.

Walter Morel himself was greatly fascinated by Miss Coppard."She was to the miner that thing of mystery and fascination, a lady". Therefore, they soon married and led a happy life for a few months. But the realities of daily life soon exposed them to each other, each day brought a new revelation about the true nature of the other.

The major shock that Mrs. Morel encountered was her discovery that her husband was a liar. He lied to her about his owning of the house.

Morel's attachment to his family is seen in two significant incidents: first, when Paul had an attack of bronchitis, Morel came to see him. But Paul reacted passively to his father's presence; secondly, when Mrs. Morel fell ill, Morel showed care and attention: he made her tea and begged her to drink it; he also cleaned the floor. All his good intentions were overlooked by his wife and sons, who tried their best to destroy him. Dorothy Van Ghent sees that the Sons and Lovers "has a structure rigorously controlled by an idea of an organic disturbance in the relationship of men and women-a disturbance of sexual polarities that is first seen in the dissatisfaction of mother's attempt to substitute her sons for her husband".

One may easily see that the clash between Mrs. Morel and her husband was not only a class conflict; it was rather a cultural one. Socially speaking, Mrs. Morel is superior to her husband. She "came of a good of burgher family, famous independents who had fought with Colonel Hutchinson, and who remained stout Congregationalist. Her grandfather had gone bankrupt in the lace-market at a time when so many lace-manufacturers were ruined in Nottingham. Her father, George Coppard, was an engineer". But as things did not go well with him, he financially deteriorated. Therefore, he became a foreman of engineers in his town. Culturally, Mrs. Morel was also superior. She did not only go to school, but also had the chance to get in touch with the educated men who used to come to the family house. Those significant differences were sufficient reasons for destroying the Morel's marriage. Lawrence was aware of the absurdity of the Morels' marriage, but as he experienced a similar life, therefore, he was encouraged to write this autobiographical novel. Walter Allen shows that Lawrence's main problem was "to express emotions, Feelings, as they exist far beneath the surface of gesture”.

As a psychological realist, he succeeded in creating such emotions in Sons and Lovers, but they were not normal. In fact, possessive love, as well as extreme hatred, can not be normal because they have a devastating effect on the development of the individual. In Sons and Lovers the relationships among the members of the family were characterized by exaggeration. Perhaps Lawrence intends to create an impulsive effect in the readers against all social bonds-like marriage ties. To him, the relationship of man and woman is the central fact in actual human life. But this relationship could not continue unless it existed between two equal beings.

The failure of the Morels' marriage was the reason of the suffering of every member of this wretched family. But the suffering of the father was the greatest because he was an outcast.This feelings of loneliness accompanied him over the years. Mrs. Morel turned to her children for compensation, whereas her husband remained an eyewitness to the collapse of his family. He witnessed the death of his eldest son  William, the failure of his third son Arthur, the death of his wife and the unknown destiny of Paul. His decline as an authoritative figure did not occur suddenly, but it happened gradually. Anyway, Morel's suffering was great in his olden age.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare: The Aspects of Human Condition

Corruption, cruelty and uncertainty--three aspects of the human condition as perceived by Hamlet--are revealed in Hamlet's employment of a rich variety of imagery, such as science, the military, law, racing disease, etc...

Hamlet's way of employing imagery is to be identified as a unique artistic process. when he begins to speak, the images fairly stream to him with the slightest effort as immediate and spontaneous visions. They show us that whenever he thinks and speaks, he's at the same time a seer, for whom the living things of the world about him embody and symbolize thought.

This visionary and prophetical power results in his applying the general to the particular through the employment of imagery. the following lines from his soliloquy are relevant:

" How weary, stale, and unprofitable
seem to me all the uses of this world ..."

This world, in which he finds himself and towards which his attitude is defined, is expressed in terms of a most striking, central image of sickness, the "unweeded garden", that will permeate the whole play. The "unweeded garden" evokes an atmosphere of corruption, decay and unfaithfulness in an indirect, general way. Hamlet, in fact, is capable of transforming this awareness into symbols and then interpreting those symbols.

The "unweeded garden", already established as symbol of the corrupted world, Hamlet's garden goes on to explain it: "things rank and gross in nature" until they "possess it merely." Then there is a shift from the general to the particular: his family situation. This shift is revealed through a dramatic process in which we witness a succession of flashes produced by a comprehensive alert mind. There is a shift to the moral shock which has resulted from the sudden disclosure of Hamlet's true nature. all his life he had believed in her. He had seen her not merely devoted to his father, but also hanging on him, "as if increase of appetite had grown by what it fed on." This cluster of imagery reveals the spontaneity and acuteness of Hamlet's mind it has the power of observation, the capability of scanning reality, and of penetrating the veil of semblance to the very core of things.

Incest triggers Hamlet's mind to compare his mother to a beast, "A beast ... would have mourned longer ...," thus giving an entrance to cruelty, the second aspect of the human condition. Hamlet now longs for "self-slaughter", a violent act forbidden by the "everlasting". Later on, savagery and ferocity are expounded throughout the play by a poisonous motif. The description which the ghost of Hamlet's father gives of his poisoning by Claudius,

"And in the porches of my ears did pour
The leperous distilement",

is characterized by vividness with which the process of poisoning and the malicious spreading of the disease is portrayed, "... and curd like eager dropping into milk."The corruption of land and people throughout Denmark is evaluated by Hamlet as an irresistible process of poisoning. Finally, this motif reappears in the poisoning of all the major characters in the last act. Corruption, as represented through the poisonous motif, reveals Hamlet's power of transforming reality into imagery by his full awareness of the human nature and of the world around him.

The first appearance of the ghost, creating a sense of confusion for both Marcellus and Bernardo, introduces the notion of uncertainty to the play--the third and vital aspect of the human condition,"Horatio says 'tis our fantasy", until reality defeats uncertainty,"is not something more than fantasy".

Uncertainty reappears later with Hamlet's hesitation between contemplation and action--the tragic flaw that leads to his destruction. His hesitation is revealed stylistically through a succession of incomplete sentences,

" and yet, within a month-
Let me not think on't Frailty, thy name is woman ..."

This fragmentation reflects the fragmentation of his mental process. Here the style is reflecting the dilemma of his mind; it has been invaded by "frailty", a disturbing element from the human condition. Such fragments evoke not only his mental state but also his psychological conditioning, characterized as they are with bitterness and agony: "... like Niobe, all tears-why she, even she ..."
Hamlet's mental debate is concluded with the following couplets:

"The time is out of joint. O cursed spite
That ever I was born to set it right!"

Hamlet doesn't have the active will to take revenge, so his mission seems to spring more from without than from within. In other words he seems to be more persuaded by the ghost than by his own conscience. Realizing that "conscience does make cowards of us all", Hamlet experiences deactivation of will. "... and lose the name of action", seems to be the proper description of the will's failure to assert itself.

Corruption, cruelty and uncertainty--three aspects of the human condition--are revealed genuinely through keen observations of reality embellished by various clusters of imagery, most prominent among which is poison imagery-animal and plant imagery being less effective in evoking the proper atmosphere of the human condition. Through their concreteness and preciseness, their simplicity and familiarity, Hamlet's nature is introduced with all its aspects: corruption and integrity, cruelty and mercy, uncertainty and assertion. We see a man, who in other circumstances might have exercised all the moral and social virtues, placed in a situation in which even the amiable qualities of his mind serve but to aggravate his distress and to perplex his conduct.

Othello: A Critical Analysis of Shakespeare's Tragic Characters

Othello's character:
The character of Othello is comparatively simple, but it is desirable to show how essentially the success of Iago's plot is connected with this character. Othello's description of himself as: 

 One not easily jealous, but, being wrought, 
Perplexed in the extreme, ..........  is perfectly just.

He is the most romantic figure among Shakespeare's heroes, and he is so partly from the strange life of war and adventure which he has lived from childhood. He does not belong to our world, and he seems to enter it we know not whence-almost as if from wonderland. There is something mysterious in his descent from men of royal siege; in his wandering in vast deserts and among marvelous people; in his tales of magic handkerchiefs, his being sold to slavery. Othello is not merely a romantic figure; his own nature is romantic. He has not, indeed, the meditative or speculative imagination of Hamlet; but in the strictest sense of the word he is more poetic than Hamlet. 

Dangers of Othello's character:
The sources of danger in this character are revealed but too clearly by the story. In the first place, Othello's mind, for all its poetry, is very simple. He is not observant. His nature tends outward. He is quite free from introspection, and is not given to reflection. Emotion excites his imagination, but it confuses and dulls his intellect. On this side he is the very opposite of Hamlet, with whom, however, he shares a great openness and trustfulness of nature. In addition, he has little experience of the corrupt products of civilized life, and is ignorant of the European Woman(venetians).

In the second place, for all his dignity and massive calm, he is by nature full of the most vehement passion. Shakespeare emphasizes his self-control, not only by the wonderful pictures of the First Act, but by references to the past. Lodovico, amazed at his violence, exclaims:
Is this the noble Moor whom our full Senate 
Call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature
Whom passion could not shake? Whose solid virtue
The shot of accident nor dart of chance
Could neither gaze nor pierce?

Iago, who has here no motive for lying, asks:
    Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon 
      When it hath blown his ranks into the air,
And, like the devil, from his very arm
           Puffed his own brother-and can he be angry?

Lastly, Othello's nature is all of one piece. His trust, where he trusts, is absolute. Hesitation is almost impossible to him. He is extremely self-reliant, and decides and acts instantaneously. Love, if he loves, must be to him the heaven where either he must live or bear no life. If such a passion as jealousy seizes him, it will swell into a well-nigh incontrollable flood. He will press for immediate conviction or immediate relief. Convinced, he will act with the authority of a judge and the swiftness of a man in mortal pain. This character is so noble, Othello's feelings and actions follow so inevitably from it and from the forces brought to bear on it, and his sufferings are so heart-rendering, that he stirs, I believe, in most readers a passion of mingled love and pity which they feel for no other hero in Shakespeare. 

Why Othello didn't suspect Iago?
Othello, we have seen, was trustful, and thorough in his trust. He put entire confidence in the honesty of Iago, who had not only been his companion in arms, but, as he believed, had just proved his faithfulness in the matter of the marriage. This confidence was misplaced, and we happen to know it; but it was no sign of stupidity in Othello. For his opinion of Iago was the opinion of everyone who knew him: and that opinion was that Iago was before all things 'honest', his very faults being those of excess in honesty. Therefore, it would be quite unnatural in him to be unmoved by the warnings of an honest friend, warnings offered with extreme reluctance and manifestly from a sense of a friend's duty,  any husband would have been troubled by them. 

Iago does not bring these warnings to a husband who had lived with a wife for months and years and knew her like his sister or his bosom-friend. But he was newly married; in the circumstances he cannot have known much of Desdemona before his marriage; and further he was conscious of being under the spell of a feeling which can give glory to the truth but can also give it to a dream. 

This consciousness in any imaginative man is enough, in such circumstances, to destroy his confidence in his powers of perception. In Othello's case, after a long and most artful preparation, there now comes, to reinforce its effect, the suggestions that he is not an Italian, nor even European; that he is totally ignorant of the thoughts and the customary morality of venetian women; that he had himself seen in Desdemona's deception of her father how perfect an actress she could be. These suggestions are followed by a tentative but hideous and humiliating insinuation of what his honest and much-experienced friend fears may be the true explanation of Desdemona's rejection of acceptable suitors, and of her strange, and naturally temporary, preference for a black man. However, in spite all of those situations and suggestions, still he is not jealous, he furiously demands proof, ocular proof. When he gets the proof of the handkerchief; the "madness of revenge" is in his blood, and hesitation is a thing he never knew.

The Othello of the Fourth Act is Othello in his fall. His fall is never complete in this act, but he is much changed. So, in the Fourth Act 'Chaos has come', for it was necessary for Iago to hurry on; his insight into othello's nature taught him that his plan was to deliver blow on blow, and never to allow his victim to recover from the confusion of the first shock. When Othello forgot the handkerchief incident; he told him another lie that Cassio himself confessed to Iago his guilt (relation with Desdemona).

The delay till night is torture to him. Othello who enters the bed-chamber with the words:

"It is the cause, it is the cause my soul,"

is not the man of the Fourth Act. The deed he is bound to is not a murder, but a sacrifice. He is to save Desdemona from herself, not in hate but in honor and in love. His anger has passed; a boundless sorrow has taken its place.
"This sorrow's heavenly:
It strikes where it doth love."

Desdemona's character:
Innocence, gentleness, sweetness, lovingness were the salient and, in a sense, the principal traits in Desdemona's character. Coleridge, and still more the American writers, regard her love, in effect, as Brabantio regarded it, and not as Shakespeare conceived it. They are simply blurring this glorious conception when they try to lessen the distance between her and Othello, and to smooth away the obstacle which his 'visage' offered to her romantic passion for a hero. Desdemona, the 'eternal womanly' in its most lovely and adorable form, simple and innocent as a child, ardent with the courage and idealism of a saint, radiant with that heavenly purity of heart which men worship the more because nature so rarely permits it to themselves, had no theories about universal brotherhood, and no phrases about 'one blood in all the nations of the earth' or 'barbarian, Scythian, bond and free'; but when her soul came in sight of the noblest soul on earth, she made nothing of the shrinking of her senses, but followed her soul until her senses took part with it, and 'loved him with the love which was her doom.' It was not prudent. It even turned out tragically. She met in life with the reward of those who rise too far above our common level; and we continue to allot her the same reward when we consent to forgive her for loving a brown man, but find it monstrous that she should love a black one.

There is perhaps a certain excuse for our failure to rise to Shakespeare's meaning, and to realize how extraordinary and splendid a thing it was in a gentle Venetian girl to love Othello, and to assail fortune with such a 'downright violence and storm' as is expected only in a hero. It is that when first we hear of her marriage we have not yet seen the Desdemona of the later Acts; and therefore we do not perceive how astonishing this love and boldness must have been in a maiden so quiet and submissive. And when we watch her in her suffering and death we are so penetrated by the sense of her heavenly sweetness and self-surrender that we almost forget that she had shown herself quite as exceptional in the active assertion of her own soul and will. She tends to become to us predominantly pathetic, the sweetest and most pathetic of Shakespeare's women, as innocent as Miranda and as loving as Viola, yet suffering more deeply than Cordelia or Imogen. And she seems to lack that independence and strength of spirit which Cordelia and Imogen possess, and which in a manner raises them above suffering. She appears passive and defenseless, and can oppose to wrong nothing but the infinite endurance and forgiveness of a love that knows not how to resist or resent. She thus becomes at once the most beautiful example of this love, and the most pathetic heroine in Shakespeare's world.

Desdemona does not shrink before the senate; and her language to her father, though deeply respectful, is firm enough to stir in us some sympathy with the old man who could not survive his daughter's loss. 

When she is murdered, she defended her lover Othello so when Emilia asked her: 
"O, who hath done this deed?" She answered her:
"Nobody, I myself. Farewell.
Commend me to my kind lord. O, farewell!"

Iago's evil character:
Evil has nowhere else been portrayed with such mastery as in the character of Iago. However, there is a false interpretation of his character which falls into two groups.

First group: 
1) Iago is simply a man who has been slighted and revenges himself.
2) A Husband who believes he has been wronged and will make his enemy suffer a jealousy worse than his own.
3) Ambitious man determined to ruin his successful rival.
4) A combination of these, endowed with unusual ability and cruelty.
This group contains the more popular views; however, the second group though much smaller it contains much weightier matter than the first.

Second group:
1) Iago is a being who hates good simply because it is good, and loves evil purely for itself.
2) Coleridge: His action is not prompted by any plain motive like revenge, jealousy or ambition. It springs from a "motiveless malignity", or a disinterested delight in the pain of others; and Othello, Cassia and Desdemona, are scarcely more than the material requisite for the full attainment of this delight.

Bradley opposed those criticisms and required two warnings before interpreting Iago's character:
Iago's nationality: it has been held that he is a study of that peculiarly Italian form of villainy which is considered both too diabolical for an Englishman.

Not to believe a syllable Iago utters: on any subject, including himself, until one has tested his statement by comparing it with known facts and with other statements of his own or of other people, and by considering whether he had his own or of other people, and by considering whether he had in the particular circumstances any reason for telling a lie or a truth.

Iago was a venetian soldier eight-and-twenty years of age, who had seen a good deal of service and had a high reputation for courage. We are ignorant of his origin, but he was not of gentle birth or breeding.

He was married to a wife who evidently lacked refinement, and who appears in the drama in the relation of a servant to Desdemona. His manner was that of a blunt, bluff soldier, who spoke his mind freely and plainly. Seeing that his satire was humorous, that on serious matters he did not speak lightly, and that the one thing perfectly  obvious about him was his honesty. "Honest' is the word that springs to the lips of everyone who knows him. It is applied to him some fifteen times in the play.

In fact, he was one of those sterling men who, in disgust at gush, say cynical things which they do not believe, and then, the moment you are in trouble, put in practice the very sentiment they had laughed at.

Even his wife doesn't suspect him, her nature was not very delicate or scrupulous about trifles. She never dreamed he was a villain, and there is no reason to doubt the sincerity of her belief that he was heartily sorry for Cassio's disgrace. Even when the idea strikes her that some scoundrel has poisoned Othello's mind, the tone of all her speeches and her mention of the rogue who (she believes) had stirred up Iago's jealousy of her, prove beyond doubt the thought Iago's being the scoundrel has not crossed her mind. Even if Iago had betrayed much more of his true self to his wife than to others, it would make no difference to the contrast between his true self and the self he presented to the world in general.

What further conclusion can be drawn from this contrast?
Iago was able to find a certain relief from the discomfort of hypocrisy in those caustic or cynical speeches which, being misinterpreted, only heightened confidence in his honesty. They acted as a safety-value, very much as hamlet's pretended insanity did. He was by no means a man of strong feelings and passions, but decidedly cold by temperament. Even so, his self-control was wonderful, but there never was in him any violent storm to be controlled. Although he was thoroughly selfish and unfeeling, was not by nature malignant nor even morose, but, on the contrary he had a superficial good-nature, the kind of good-nature that wins popularity and is often taken as the sign, of a good heart.

The tragedy of othello is his tragedy too. it shows us not a violent man, who spends his life in murder, but a bad cold man who is at last tempted to let loose the forces within him and is at once destroyed.

Iago's inner man:
He has very remarkable powers both of intellect and will.
- Iago's insight, within certain limits, into human nature.
- His ingenuity and address in working upon it.
- His quickness and versatility in dealing with sudden difficulties and unforeseen opportunities.
- He seems to be master of all the motions that might affect his will.
(Ex: In the most dangerous moments of his plot, when the least slip or accident would be fatal, he never shows a trace of nervousness).
(Ex:When Othello takes him by the throat he merely shifts his part with his usual instantaneous adroitness).
- He is equally unassailable by the temptations of indolence or of sensuality.
- It is difficult to imagine him inactive and though he has an obscene mind, and doubtless took his pleasures when and how he chose, he certainly took them by choice and not from weakness, and if pleasure interfered with his purposes the holiest of ascetics would not put it more resolutely by "What should I do?"

Roderigo: "I confess it is my shame to be so fond; but it is not in my virtue to amend it".

Iago answers: "Virtue! a fig! 'tis in ourselves that we are thus
                        I all depends on our will.
                  Love is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will"

- He is the lordship of the will, which is his practice as well as his doctrine, is great, almost sublime.
In intellect and in will Iago is great.

To what end does he use these great powers?
- He has a definite creed: absolute egoism is the only rational and proper attitude, and that conscience or honor or any kind of regard for others is an absurdity. He doesn't deny that it exists.
- He appears, when we meet him, to be almost destitute of humanity, of sympathetic or social feeling.
- He shows no trace of affection, and in presence of the most terrible suffering he shows either pleasure or an indifference.
- We shouldn't ignore the extraordinary deadness of feeling, but it is also important not to confuse it with a general positive ill-will. When Iago has no dislike or hostility to a person he does not show pleasure in the suffering of that person: he shows at most the absence of pain.

What is it that provokes his dislike or hostility?
Certainly he is devoted to himself. However, what is clear is that Iago is keenly sensitive to anything that touches his pride or self-esteem. He has a high opinion of himself and a great contempt for others. Whatever disturbs or wounds his sense of superiority irritates him at once. This is the reason of his jealousy of Emilia. He doesn't care for his wife; but the fear of another man's getting the better of him, and exposing him to pity or derision as an unfortunate husband. He has a spite against goodness in men, not from any love of evil for evil's sake, but partly because it annoys his intellect as a stupidity; partly, because it weakens his satisfaction with himself, and disturbs his faith that egoism is the right and proper thing, partly because, the world being such a fool, goodness is popular and prospers. But he, a man ten times as able as Cassio or even Othello, does not greatly prosper. This wound his pride. Those feelings are constantly present in him.

The rise of Iago's tragedy:
Why did he act as we see him acting in the play?
He says more than once that he "hates" Othello. He gives two reasons for his hatred. The first reason is that Othello has made Cassio lieutenant. The second is that he suspects and heard it reported, that Othello has an intrigue with Emilia. There is Cassio, he never says he hates cassia, but he finds in him three causes of offense. First, Cassio has been preferred to him. Second, he suspects him too of an intrigue with Emilia. Third, Cassio has a daily beauty in his life which makes Iago ugly.

Is the account which Iago gives of the causes of his action the true account?
The answer of the popular view "yes". (Coleridge and Hazlitt)
Iago is impelled by passions, a passion of ambition and a passion of hatred.
Coleridge says: "it is a motive-hunting."
Hazlitt says: He is an amateur of tragedy in real life."

Bradley's view: The very honor of him he has less passion than an ordinary man, and yet he does these frightful things.Iago did not clearly understand what was moving his desire; though he tried to give himself reasons for his actions. Once he appears to see something of the truth when he uses the phrase "to plume up my will in double knavery", he means to heighten the sense of power or superiority.

This seems to be the unconscious motive of many acts of cruelty which evidently do not spring chiefly from ill-will. His thwarted sense of superiority wants satisfaction. "What fuller satisfaction could it find than the consciousness that he is the master of the generals who has undervalued him and of the rival who has been preferred to him; that these worthy people, who are so successful and popular and stupid are mere puppets in his hands, but living puppets, who at the motion of his finger must contort themselves in agony while all the time they believe that he is their one true friend and comforter?

Iago's longing to satisfy the sense of power is the strongest of the forces that drive him on. Moreover, Iago's pleasure in action is very difficult and perilous, and therefore intensely exciting. The fact that a single slip will cost him his life increases his pleasure. Pleasure and action makes the hours seen short:
"By the mass, 'tis morning."

Delight in the exercise of artistic skill: He is not simply a man of action; he is an artist. His action is a plot, the intricate plot of a drama, and in the conception and exception of it he experiences the tension and the joy of artistic creation. Such then, seem to be the chief ingredients of the force which liberated by his resentment at Cassio's promotion, drives Iago from inactivity into action and sustains him through it. This force completely possesses him; it is his fate. Which is himself has completely mastered him, in the later scene, where the improbability of the entire success of a design built on so many falsehoods forces itself on the reader, Iago appears as a man absolutely infatuated and delivered over to certain destruction.

In conclusion, Iago's failure in perception is closely connected with his badness. He was destroyed by the power that he attacked, the power of love. He was destroyed by this power because he could not understand it and was not in him. Iago never meant his plot to be so dangerous to himself. He knew that jealousy is painful, but the jealousy of a love like Othello's he could not imagine, and he found himself involved in murders which were no part of his original design.