Friday, 4 October 2013

The tragedy of self awareness

Othello foresees the consequences of Iago’s poisonous uncoupling of his jealously, he recognises that if his love for Desdemona is proven to be cheap and empty, “Chaos is come again”. When Othello’s jealousy develops into a murderous hurricane this awareness is subsumed by the chaos; only to re-emerge at the instant before he murders his innocent wife; he catches sight of himself but realises he has travelled too far into the chaos that he and Desdemona cannot escape its consequences, “It is too late”. Once Desdemona is dead and Iago’s deception is made clear, Othello’s awareness of the horror of what he has done consumes him. Iago remains silent about his reasons for his deception, despite being the very vocal manipulator of the play’s action (Iago is almost the writer of the play, not Shakespeare) because they were expressed in Othello’s jealousy.

Othello’s tragedy is his awareness of the chaos within him and his inability to contain it. Without self awareness, Shakespeare’s greatest tragic characters (Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Macbeth) would not carry the tragedy with them.

Like Othello’s awareness of the coming chaos within him, my tragedy is the awareness of the approaching chaos of later stage Parkinson’s disease. Desdemona is the future and Iago is the prognosis of Parkinson’s; he whispers in my ear that Desdemona is corrupted, that she loves not me and has escaped me to lie with Parkinson’s. Iago unleashes my jealously that Parkinson’s has stolen my future. It is my awareness of this corrupted future that is my chaos…

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