How the shared theme of uncertain vision is treated somewhat differently in Othello than it is in Oedipus the King.





Othello and Oedipus

One of the greatest tragedies ever written, Othello educates readers on several aspects of life. Some of the themes that Shakespeare brings to light are the issues of fate, love betrayal and uncertainty. Uncertainty is the inability to tell the outcome of the future. The play displays uncertainty through the leading character Othello. This theme is however, projected in a different light in the case of king Oedipus. Oedipus is aware of his destiny from the time of his birth. This dictates on the way he approaches life. This in turn, determines the way he faces his future making him come to terms with his fate (Sophocles, Fainlight and Littman, p. 346).

The focus of the paper is to offer an analysis of the tragedy Othello. The paper provides an opinion on one of the main themes is uncertainty in the case of both Othello and king Oedipus. The paper seeks to compare and contrast both characters and the way their characters reflect on the selected theme.

The theme of uncertainty of the character, Othello

The main character in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Othello evokes the theme of uncertain vision in a number of situations. Vision simply means the ability to see a certain situation without reliance of hearse. Othello is on several times provoked by Iago about the conduct of his wife. Iago makes it his goal to poison the respect Othello has for his wife by alleging the existence of an affair between Desdemona and Cassio. Othello faces the dilemma on whether to ignore or investigate these allegations. This places Othello in a position of extreme jealousy and hatred causing him to search for proof (Ramphos, p. 314).

“Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore, be sure of it, give me the ocular proof” (III.3, 365–366). Othello develops an obsession for the truth which forces him to investigate due to the fact that seeing is believing. Othello’s investigations do not bear fruit making him rely on his enemy’s testimonies. Othello thus fills his mind with the images that Iago portrays making him visualize the worst actions. Othello looses the battle over his mind by forming images of Desdemona and Cassio. It is significant to note that these visuals are not certain making Othello make the greatest mistake of his life (Sophocles, Fainlight and Littman, p. 340).

Shakespeare intends to display significance of trust through the characters of both Iago and Othello. The creation of rumors forms uncertain vision forcing Othello to act irrationally.

Another factor that showcases uncertain vision is the overall theme of the play. The play places emphasis on tragedy which is experienced in several sessions in the play. The tragedy in this case is sealed by the fate that the characters face in the future. In life, the future of all individuals is uncertain due to the change of events on a daily basis. The choice of Othello and Desdemona to defy the odds by choosing their relationship over the society makes their future uncertain. Both characters are not aware of what the future has for them in regard to their love. The play displays the power of fate and the lack of control over the future. The different collaborations in the play create a scenario that leads to the worst circumstance. This defines the murder that seals the fate of the uncertain vision of the future that the couple has (Shakespeare and Tommaso, p. 230).


Based in the land of Greece, Oedipus the king brings out the significance of social class and the role of fate. Oedipus manages to solve a riddle which earns him his kingship. He is guaranteed a successful life due to his position in the kingdom. The life of Oedipus takes a different turn which is determined by the curse placed upon him before his birth. It is evident that Oedipus expects his life to turn out a certain way. The book proves this notion wrong at the end proving that fate can sometimes be challenged (Shakespeare and Tommaso, p. 234).

The theme of uncertainty of the character, King Oedipus

Fate is an essential theme in the book of King Oedipus. One of the characteristics of fate is that individuals do not have control over the issue. This theory cannot be challenged due to the fact that fate it a factor that is brought upon man by the gods. Oedipus grows up to be a sincere man which should guarantee him a bright future. This however, cannot be the case for the king due to the fate that awaits him. He is thus left to accept the turn of events which prove to be inevitable. Despite this, he manages to find peace of mind with the aid of his family. This indicates that one does not have to be successful to be at peace with oneself. Oedipus is unable to reverse his fate; he however manages to make the best of the situation by finding solace in his daughter who helps his through this process (Ramphos, p. 314).

In conclusion, both stories place emphasis on the power fate and its role in society. Both Othello and Oedipus live lives that are somewhat predetermined. One of the differences in the two stories is the fact that Oedipus is aware of his fate from the time he is born. Othello on the other hand, lives a life of uncertainty of his future. He later learns his fate at the end of the play which ends in tragedy. Despite the difference, both books bring out the significance of uncertainty and fate of the human being.

Works cited

Ramphos, Stelios. Fate and Ambiguity in Shakespeare’s Oedipus the King. Boston: Prentice hall, 2006. Print.

Shakespeare, William, and Tommaso Salvini. Othello: A Tragedy in Five Acts. New York: A.S. Seer, n.d.. Print.

Sophocles, , Ruth Fainlight, and Robert J. Littman. The Theban Plays: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009. Print.