In Othello, the Moor of Venice by Shakespeare, A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen, Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, and The Glass Managerie by Tennessee Williams involve relationships and the development of the characters through conflicts in their relationships. For Othello it was Iagos deception and Othellos jealousy, and for Nora and Torvald in A Doll House it was their doomed marriage, In Oedipus Rex the prophecy doomed Oedipus to marry his mother, and in The Glass Managerie it was the Lauras special condition and the love she feels for Jim OConnor and the dependence on her brother Tom.
Throughout Shakespeares Othello, the Moor of Venice the character of Othello becomes a victim of his own jealousy and of Iagos betrayal. These become apparent throughout the play and lead to his demise.
The character of Othello becomes infatuated with a young, white, Venetian girl Desdemona and quickly elopes with her. Othello is then presented with the possibility that Desdemona is unfaithful through the scheming work of Iago. The betrayal by Iago presents Othello to question the loyalty of Desdemona alleged lover Cassio who happens to be his trusted lieutenant. This scheming by Iago to conceals his jealousy of Desdemona marrying Othello and allows him revenge against Othello for eloping with Desdemona. Iago knows he must gain the respect of Othello. In good time, must his Lieutenant be(I.i.32). Iago has the stage set to take advantage of Othellos suspicion of Cassio. He then convinces Othello that her infidelity is true as he saw Cassio with Desdemonas handkerchief. By Heaven, that should be my handkerchief(IV.i.147). This whole scene then plays in to Iagos plan And to see how he prizes the foolish woman your wife? (IV.i.163).
The love for his wife is conveyed, as he can not bear to live knowing that his wife has become a whore. Aye, let her rot, and perish, and be dammed tonight, for she shall not live(IV.i.168). This statement demonstrates the success of Iagos deception that he has convinced him enough that he will kill his wife because he truly loves her. The betrayal of Iago is now complete. The jealous and insane Othello sets out to set right the infidelity of his wife by killing her.
The trust of Iago convinced Othello to change into a mad and vengeful lover out for revenge. This, indeed, led to his downfall and also to every one involved in the scheming work of Iago. This evil work of Iago manipulated the characters in the play to act against any reason. And for this Othello and Desdemona paid with their lives. It is ironic, however, that sometimes your enemies can be the closest and dearest companions. And their betrayal can have dire repercussions
The characters of Nora and Torvald Helmer in A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen represent the elements of an unsuccessful marriage and throughout the play their selfish and secluded behavior becomes visible. It is these elements that allow the reader the notion that Nora and Torvalds relationship was doomed in the beginning.
The initial conflict begins with the opening scene where Torvald and Nora are discussing finances. It becomes apparent to the nature of Noras upbringing. Her wealth as a child and her extravagant spends lead to the initial conflict with Torvald. Torvald says, We certainly dont have money to waste. This is his response to her spending. This is the nature of her personality the playfulness that makes the audience wonders if her relationship with Torvald is playing around also. The personality differences between them, Torvald being concentrated and hard at work and Noras playfulness as a little squirrel are visible as the dialogue discusses Torvalds obsession with remaining debt free as they discuss finances and his recent promotion.
Noras loan from Krogstad becomes the final act that destroys her relationship with Torvald. Her true nature and playfulness are overwhelming. Torvald is ignorant to the workings of Noras debt and finally becomes informed as he reads the letter delivered from Krogstad. He then explodes as his anger for the act that his wife has committed but because of his unconditional love for his wife he forgives her. I have forgiven you for everything. Of course I know that what you did was for love of me. Her response is to abandon her family because that they both lack the understanding of one another.
The conflicts raised by the loan from Krogstad arouse the distance between Nora and Torvald. Their lack of sacrifice for one another and the loan issue have brought them to realize that their clouded views of each other and neither one is as Nora stated, I have been living here for eight years with a stranger. And just as the dialogue ends she is compelled to leave her husband.
Throughout Oedipus Rex by Sophocles the tragedy of the incestuous relationship becomes apparent. This idea becomes fundamental in recognizing the tragedy involved in this story. The Oracles prediction of the king and Queens child and their total denial of the fate that they are to face provide the basis for Oedipus parents become aware of the fate of their child and fear the Oracles prediction.
The relationship between Oedipus and Jocasta is one of mutual love and respect. Both Oedipus and Jocasta enjoy their relationship and confide in each as lovers. They grow together and know the intimate secrets of each other. Soon enough they discover their real relationship as mother and son. The relationship then becomes one forbidden and incestuous. The sense shame and humiliation provide the inspiration for Jocasta to hang herself. This act relieves her of all the guilt felt as the oracle’s prediction became fulfilled. Oedipus reaction to this news results in him gouging out his eyes and wanting to be sent into exile.
These final acts of shame allow Oedipus and Jocasta the means for expression of their grief and allow them a certain means of escape from this tragic relationship. It is the knowledge that has set them free and allows for the final fulfillment of their fate.
In The Glass Managerie by Tennessee Williams the brief relationship between Laura and Jim is life altering for Laura and changes her relationship with her brother Tom. This dependant relationship is the direct result of Laura s condition and her familys view of her as a The Glass Managerie.
The relationship she has with her brother is on the based not only on his loyalty to her special needs and but also his loyalty to his family that is financial reliance of him as the provider. This is evident as in an argument with his mother, Amanda because of a novel borrowed from the library says, House, house! Who pays rent on it, who makes a slave of himself? His loyalty to his sister and his mother is greater than that of his driving desire to escape.
Toms devotion to his family can be noticed as they call upon him to bring home a Gentleman callers because they desire Laura to get married like every other regular person. However it is his idea to treat her with care for he views his sister as a fragile object such as that as the fragile glass that she collects. It is her fear that she will grow up and become An old maid. It is very apparent that both her brother Tom and Mother Amanda care for her too much and have not allowed her to grow past their protective barrier. When Tom brings his friend from work who happens to is Lauras old crush Jim OConnor. It becomes an opportunity for her to meet her first true love, however as she discovers he truly believes that she is pretty and admits his attraction to her. His engagement to a long time girlfriend forbids him from them possibly dating. At this point the nave, young, and sheltered Laura becomes the broken glass figures that she collects. It is Toms intention to break the fragile nature of his sister and introduce new feelings. This act allows him to escape because his sister must now learn to cope and survive. As hard as it is he abandons his family because that is what is best for both him and his family.
Toms loyalty to his family resulted in his abandonment of them. It was his desire for his family to grow and for that reason he was compelled to abandon them. He ended his relationship with Laura to allow her independence even if it meant her working harder and also allowing her to focus on what she desires.
Throughout these plays the characters all dealt with issues that troubled their relationships. Dealing with them meant stirring up greater conflicts that have lain dormant since the beginning of all of the character relationships. Then dealing with the repercussions. The character of Othello suffered greatly for his jealousy and suspicion of Desdemonas infidelity both emotionally and physically after he murdered his wife. The conflict in Oedipus Rex had a similar outcome to that of Othello however for Oedipus it meant intentional blindness and exile. Oedipus raised the issue of overcoming the Oracles prediction and dealing with the unfortunate. The marriage of Torvald and Nora resulted in the couple dealing with their incapability as lovers and husband and wife through out the play this became a major factor to try to aid in their struggling relationship. The failure of their marriage was a direct result of their struggles to communicate, which lead Nora to leave. And finally for Tom leaving his sister and mother he is giving them freedom to grow because he does not want them to be dependant on him. The concept of abandonment for loving a spouse too much was prevalent in all of these plays and is the reason for many of the disagreements. It is this constant struggle and lack of control that drove the marriages and spousal relationships apart.