Shakespeare’s Othello and in Ibsen’s A Doll House

In the play a doll’s house, Nora was married to Helmer, a barrister. They had a simple life and were at first comfortable with their simple life. Nora was a wife who stayed home to look after the house and the children while her husband worked .She therefore had no source of money. One day her husband fell ill and she was advised by the doctors that her husband had to seek medication in order to recover. However, she did not have any money on her and could not tell her husband for fear of aggravating his illness. With nothing else to do, she got a loan from Krogstand and secured it with a bond that belonged to her father. Since her father was also ailing, she forged his signature but foolishly wrote the wrong date. She secretly kept this issue a secret from everybody else. In order for her to repay the loan, she worked hard in secret without her husbands notice. As fate would have it her husband, Helmer was promoted to a bank manager in the same place that Krogstand worked and they had differences between them. As Krogstand knew of the forgery, he black mailed her to persuade her husband not to fire him; in the end, he told her husband which proved to be tragic. In Othello, Lago was a personal and trusted friend of the General, Othello. However, Lago was not a friend but a hypocrite who harbored hate against Othello. This deep resentment was brought about by the promotion of another man, Cassio to personal lieutenant while he was not. He became with jealous and devised schemes of bringing misery to Othello.

Marriage can result in happiness or misery, which can be brought by different people in the society.

These two plays were similar in a number of ways. Both plays centered on ambitions of two men, Lago and Krogstand. Due to Krogstand ambitious to retain his job, he went against all odds and blackmailed his wife boss to intercede for him or risk her secret of forgery being known .However when this did not seem to work he went ahead and told the husband about her forgery. This resulted in misery and a life of unhappiness in her marriage. The letter from Krogstand made her husband detest her and subject her to a life of misery. She suffered so much that she threatened to commit suicide her husband however, did not bother about her but cared about his own reputation. Through Krogstad’s action, Nora could finally be able to know how her husband character towards her was finally. Even though she had forged the letters to help her ailing husband, her husband did not care a single bit but continuously tortured her. Though Krogstand was the cause of her misery and shortcomings, he was also her redeemer. By him revealing the letter to her husband, her husband’s true nature was revealed and she realized that she was a prisoner in her own home. However, when her husband learnt that Krogstand would not reveal the secret any more he sought for forgiveness from his wife however it was too late (Gray, 1980).

Krogstand therefore was like a redeemer whose purpose served to redeem Nora from her unhappy marriage. Nora left her matrimonial home and decided to start her new life somewhere else, away from the slavery and misery she had been subjected to by her husband.

In Othello Lago was a very ambitious man who had no regrets about his actions as long as he got what he wanted in his life Lago could kill, lie and even break marriages to achieve his evil goals. Due to jealousy and hate, he tricked his dear friend into believing that the wife, Desdemona was having an affair with another man, Cassio, who got the promotion. He even went to the extent of having the wife’s handkerchief put on Cassio’s bed in order for the husband to believe. Lago was a very convincing man and managed to get his way around by manipulating people. In the end he not only convinced Othello to kill his wife for her affairs, but also showed him how to do it and where. He told Othello to struggle her in the bed that they allegedly had the affair. Othello and his wife had a very happy marriage, though there was no substantial evidence to back Lagos allegations, Othello still believed him over his wife whom he had dearly loved and she had loved him back. Othello therefore went ahead and killed his wife by struggling her while Lago proceeded to kill Cassio. However, Emilio, Lago’s wife came out and exposed her husband evil plot. Othello was consumed with remorse and regret of his action that he killed himself before he could be convicted. Lago on the other hand ended up his marriage by killing Emilio whom he felt was a hindrance to his success. In the end, Lago’s ambitions had ended a happy marriage out of malice and ended his out of sheer pride.

The plays were also different in some ways. In a dolls house the marriage between Nora and her husband lacked love and had nothing in common. To her husband, she was just a helping hand and a person whose role was to look after the household. Because her husband was the sole breadwinner he never saw value in her and had contempt towards her. On the other hand, Othello had love and respect toward his wife they loved each other that they eloped in order to see that their love matured into marriage. At no time did her mistreat her until he was misgauged by Lago who had malicious intentions. Nora was a woman who largely deepened on her husband’s income as she was unemployed this enabled her husband have a domineering character towards her (Gray, 1980). Her father also had no regards towards her and just like her husband; he too saw that she needed guidance like a child. The society was therefore looking down upon her as opposed to Desdemona who came from a rich family and was economically empowered and respected.            Racism was also rife in Othello. Lago felt that by the fact that Othello was a black man he was not fit to rule or marry Desdemona who was a Senator’s daughter. It was also seen that Nora’s marriage was a marriage of deception. Her husband had no clear knowledge who she really was in the beginning and only loved her as his private possession and not as a wife. Nora on the other hand was married to a vision that she never really understood but convinced her self that she did. Othello on the other hand had a marriage that he had gone against odds to ensure that it happened by elopement and he was quit sure of what his marriage entailed. Othello’s dedication to his marriage was so evident that he killed his wife due to the pain of betrayal he felt for his wife’s affair since he truly loved her. Nora’s husband did not care whether she lived or not and when she tried to commit suicide the scolded her insisting that it could ruin his reputation.

Lagos ambitious that led towards destroying Othello and his wife’s marriage were purely malicious and had lacked any basis at all for ending the marriage. Krogstand on the other hand interfered with Nora’s marriage with an attempt to secure his job and income since Nora’s husband was attempting to fire him out of malicious reasons. However, he soon stopped and vowed never to reveal any secrets again once he realized the negative effects the information had on Nora and her marriage (Gray, 1980). On the other had, Lago did not stop at anything but persisted with his schemes to an extent that it resulted to the death of Othello and his beloved wife. He had therefore served as an instrument of deceit and death of a marriage that was purely of love and happiness. Krogstand on his part was an instrument of liberation for Nora from her enslaving marriage.

Generally the two plays showed how two men, Lago and Krogstand both consumed by ambition and the will to succeed in their endeavors brought changes in the marriages of two families. To one family, though it brought misery and unhappiness in the beginning, the result was liberation and truth of what her marriage was truly made of. Krogstand helped her to open her eyes from her vision of marriage to the reality that was surrounding her at the moment. He therefore liberated her and gave her a chance of another new happy life through his mean actions. Lago’s actions also brought change to the life of Othello and his wife. Driven by ambition he meddled with Othello’s marriage thereby bringing to a tragic end out of sheer malice. His marriage was not spared either as he killed his wife before finally succumbing to his own deeds and being arrested. He was therefore an instrument of evil in both marriages. Though they were not significant characters in they plays they both had vital roles that changed the development of the story in a very significant way.





































Gray, R. Ibsen, a dissenting view, New York, NY: CUP Archive (1980)










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