Act 5 Scene 2 Analysis Paper: The Tragedy of Othello

Free «Act 5 Scene 2 Analysis Paper: The Tragedy of Othello» Essay Sample

Shakespeare was a renowned artist who authored numerous masterpiece publications during his lifetime. Among his publications is The Tragedy of Othello, a tragic play created around 1603. The piece was based on a short story titled, Un Capitano Moro originally written by Cinthio. The creation is a thrilling read that it is both insightful and captivating for all audiences. Since its publication, numerous literary works reviewers around the globe have conflicted on whether the play portrays cultural or psychological perspectives. This research is a comparative essay that discusses various cultural versus psychological perspectives portrayed in the play The Tragedy of Othello and how they affect the outcome of the narrative. 

Cultural Perspectives vs. Psychological Perspectives

First Comparison

In the scene, when Othello enters Desdemona’s quarters, a cultural perspective is portrayed. It can be evidenced in his description of Desdemona. He admires his wife as she sleeps and kisses her. Othello describes Desdemona’s beauty, his long wait, and anguish in beautiful traditional terms. He is ready to love Desdemona, even after he stabs her to death. The scene also depicts Othello as loyal and patient to Desdemona, and longs for her to be a better wife. It is only after some time does he give up and resolves to murder her, as a resolve to infidelity. These are qualities excepted in numerous cultures concerning how a husband should treat his wife.

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The same scene demonstrates traces of psychological perspectives. In the previous scenes, Othello is portrayed as frantic and epileptic. However, in this scene, he is depicted as dignified but yet adamant in his resolve to murder his wife. This characteristic portrays that Othello has a psychological problem in that he cannot differentiate between love and jealousy for his wife. The scene shows that he has deep and sincere feelings for Desdemona. Nevertheless, he is also unshaken in his resolve to murder the one person he most cherishes in his life. Othello is ready to live without his source of happiness by murdering his beautiful wife so that she cannot cheat on him again. 

Second Comparison

Othello is almost inclined to let Desdemona live despite his traditional masculine values that spur him to kill her. It is clear that Othello loves Desdemona. Nevertheless, he also respects culture and traditions against his living with a promiscuous woman. Othello believes that his wife is cheating on him, which makes him feel hurt and betrayed. In some cultures, prostitutes are alienated in the society and even beaten to death by other members of the community. His desire to kill his wife to save her from a further promiscuity portrays that he is unwavering in his cultural beliefs. He believes prostitutes are unfit members of the society who deserve punishment and death.

Scene 2 also has psychological perspectives through Othello’s refusal to listen to Desdemona’s pleas for salvation. Othello refuses even to listen to Desdemona’s denials about her involvement in infidelity. This feature portrays Othello as a character who no longer possesses an independent perspective. He easily succumbs to Lago’s series of lies and condemns his wife to death. Psychologically, Othello has a problem. He is quick to believe the accusations of another person without giving his wife a chance to explain herself. This characteristic propels him to make quick and unfair decisions, and ultimately kills his wife, even though she was telling the truth regarding her involvement in infidelity.

Third Comparison

Cultural perspectives in the play can also be portrayed through Desdemona, in her loyalty to her husband, even at the point of death. Culturally, wives are supposed to be submissive and respectful to their husbands. This cultural belief was strongly enhanced in the society, at the time when the publication, The Tragedy of Othello, was authored. When Emilia opens the curtains, she sees Desdemona dying. When she asks her what happened, Desdemona explains that she had decided to take her own life. She denies that her husband had anything to do with her demise. This scene demonstrates that Desdemona is ready to fulfill her obligations as a loyal wife even at the time of her death. She is not ready to betray her husband and even refers to him as a ‘kind husband’ to Emilia. 

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In the scene, it is shown that Othello cannot differentiate the voices of Emilia and that of his dead wife Desdemona. This section of the play portrays Othello as someone who cannot analyze reality. It is a manifestation of a serious psychological problem on Othello’s part, the main character in the play. This characteristic depicts him as a delusional person who is possessed by a drive for vengeance. His hatred for the wrong doings, which he perceives to have been done to him by his wife, drives him to anarchism. Ultimately, it leads him to self-destruction. 

Fourth Comparison

Crime is a condemned phenomenon in numerous societies around the world. It is against the cultural beliefs of numerous people around the globe. Punishing of a crime as a factor of cultural perspective has been evidenced in this play. Othello believes that infidelity is a social crime and focuses on killing his wife to correct the crime. In act five scene two of this narrative, the theme of crime has taken root among the characters. They have portrayed death as the only possible solution to the correction of crime. It leads to the killing of Desdemona, and a few other characters in the play. After realizing his error, Othello commits suicide, a deserving punishment for his cruel actions of murder.

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Consequently, psychological perspectives also advance in this plot. They are enhanced by the simultaneous murder of numerous characters. It shows that some characters in the plot have human behavioral problems as they result in violence as a way of resolving conflicts. The characters should not have taken the law into their hands. The relevant authorities concerned in law administration could have been informed about the crimes perpetrated by the characters. Their actions led to the deaths of Desdemona, Othello, Emilia, and Roderigo. This phenomenon escalates the themes of brutality in the plot of the play.


From the comparison sections discussed above, the play exudes both psychological and cultural perspectives. It is clear that most of these perspectives have been portrayed through Othello, the main character of the play. Nevertheless, other minor characters in this section have also portrayed these perspectives under concern. The play shows that cultural customs and norms are held in high value in this society. Infidelity is a sensitive social problem in the community, which needs to be addressed with intelligence among family members. Cruel ways of dealing with infidelity should be abolished as they can escalate to murder and stigmatization in the society.

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Psychological perspectives are characterized by various assumptions and beliefs upheld and used to understand various aspects of human behavior (McLeod). They are immensely portrayed in the play through the principal character, Othello. The analysis depicts Othello as a psychopath who is driven by rage and hatred. He is unstable and irrational in decision-making, and ends up killing his lovely wife on allegations of infidelity. He hastens conviction of Desdemona, even before he listens to her side of the story. It makes him kill her and ultimately kill himself after realizing the error of his judgment.


Although it is obvious that both perspectives are evident in the plot, the psychological perspectives seem to have a weighty contribution towards the advancement of the play. They are clearly manifested by the indecorous manner of handling situations and solving crimes perpetrated by the characters. It results in heightening brutality portrayed by the murder of Desdemona, the piteous consequences of Othello’s delusion, and the murder of Roderigo by Cassio (“The LitCharts Study Guide to Othello”).

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The play The Tragedy of Othello is a masterpiece creation authored by Shakespeare and published in the sixteen century based on both cultural and psychological perspectives. Both perspectives advance the plot of the play and make it engrossing and tragic. The moral lesson that can be learned from the play using the two perspectives is that patience pays. If Othello had been more patient in investigating his wife’s infidelity, he would not have killed her. Othello would also be alive since he committed suicide after realizing the error of his judgment.