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Persuasion in Shakespeare's Othello

Persuasion is a very important literary method, and its importance in developing accurate, logical, persuasive, and impactful arguments cannot be overstated if used properly. William Shakespeare's critically acclaimed novel Othello serves as a qualified precedent for this role. The two towering characters, Othello and Brabantio, are embroiled in a serious conflict over the latter's daughter, Desdemona, and the Duke is challenged to make his solemn decision in favor of the embattled and irresistibly witty, skillful, and highly sophisticated Othello, depending on how each engages their persuasive abilities. Indeed, in the guest to bringing out the essence of the aspect of persuasion in real-life situations, if I not only critical to unfold how Brabantio utilizes only pathos to evoke sadness and pity, but also paramount to outline how well Othello employees both pathos and logos, with a mix of ethos, to enumerate the need for reason and principle in judgment as well as emotional and ethical uprightness in informed decision making.

Brabantio's Use of Pathos

At the onset of presenting the state of the confrontation between Othello and Brabantio, the latter chooses a compelling tone characterized by melancholic despondency. For instance, by utilizing an approach of pathos, Brabantio says, “My daughter! O, my daughter! … She is abused, stol’n from me, and corrupted By spells and medicines” (Shakespeare 2004, p. 73). The hyperbole evidenced in the exclamation “My daughter!” describes the robust stigma Brabantio is undergoing, and how much of concern the issue at hand demands of hi person as a father. Furthermore, the mention of sensitive words like abuse and corruption in the presence of the Duke is a clear provocation aimed at arousing the emotional, mental capacity of the Duke, so as to make a judgment for the complainant. Moreover, Brabantio insists, “I pray you hear her speak…If she confesses; Destruction on my head if my bad blame” (Shakespeare 2004, p. 203). Brabantio is thus compelled to come low, humble before the Duke, and seek favor, an approach of pathos he so values, which would unfortunately not emerge as convincing enough to counter the combination of logos, ethos, and pathos Othello embraces.

Othello's Use of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

Nevertheless, as opposed to Brabantio, Othello employs not only reason and principled arguments but also evokes emotion with phenomenal virtuous and respectful presentation before the Duke to gain favor when he stipulates, “Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors … My very noble and approved good masters” (Shakespeare 2004, P. 93). By expressing reverence and acclaim as well as respect before the jury, Othello expressly creates an objective platform whereon he makes his position worth listening to by the seniors. Furthermore, he argues that “Rude am I in my speech,” acquiring even more appreciation …My whole course of love; what conjuration, what might magic; I won his daughter”(Shakespeare 2004, P. 116). The stance he takes is full of both ethos and logos, hence the epitome of persuasion Othello attains, a position that compels the Duke not only to listen to him keenly but also to develop respect for his rational thoughts. By logically expressing the revered social stature of the Duke and his contemporaries, the misleading argument by Brabantio, his humble estate, and why the claim that he bewitched Desdemona rather than won her love objectively as misguided, Othello towers above his opponent, and easily gains honor before the Duke.

The Role of Persuasion in Decision Making

On the one hand, persuasion could be instrumentally used to win substantial favor in the eyes of those whom one's mercy lies squarely, on the other, it could work to a deteriorated estate, just as is the case for Othello and Brabantio respectfully. Indeed, it is not only essential to evaluate one's audience before making defensive arguments but also imperative to embody reason and respect, ethics and moral uprightness, as well as an emotional evocation and rational logic. This essay is hence very vital because the insight herein can be used in the contemporary world in solemn decision making and hence the consequential shaping of the cultural and ethical norms of the society.

This essay is about the aspect escalated tension presented before the Duke; between Brabantio and Othello, the towering characters in William Shakespeare’s Othello, an argument which solely thrives on the instrumental aspect of Persuasion. While Brabantio utilizes merely pathos to let know the Duke that Othello used witchcraft to win his daughter Desdemona, the latter embraces not only ethos, but also pathos and logos to evoke the emotion, respect, and reason of the Duke to agree that indeed, Desdemona fell for him in a fair and just romantic atmosphere, to later win the contention. Major corrections have been made in this essay, including; proper sentence construction, punctuation, logical presentation of arguments, in-text citation, constructive expression of objectives and motifs, as well as entire paraphrasing to eliminate plagiarism and erroneous typos.


Shakespeare, William. 2004. Othello _ Othello Mass Market Paperback-Book by William Shakespeare, Edited by Dr. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. ISBN 9780743477550 | January 2004 Folger Shakespeare Library.

January 18, 2023

Literature Sociology

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