Conflicts in Relationships
by James Carvill

In Othello, the Moor of Venice by Shakespeare, A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen, Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, and The Glass Managerie by Tennessee Williams involve relationships and the development of the characters through conflicts in their relationships. For Othello it was Iago’s deception and Othello’s jealousy, and for Nora and Torvald in A Doll House it was their doomed marriage, In Oedipus Rex the prophecy doomed Oedipus to marry his mother, and in The Glass Managerie it was the Laura’s special condition and the love she feels for Jim O’Connor and the dependence on her brother Tom.

Throughout Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice the character of Othello becomes a victim of his own jealousy and of Iago’s betrayal. These become apparent throughout the play and lead to his demise.

The character of Othello becomes infatuated with a young, white, Venetian girl Desdemona and quickly elopes with her. Othello is then presented with the possibility that Desdemona is unfaithful through the scheming work of Iago. The betrayal by Iago presents Othello to question the loyalty of Desdemona alleged lover Cassio who happens to be his trusted lieutenant. This scheming by Iago to conceals his jealousy of Desdemona marrying Othello and allows him revenge against Othello for eloping with Desdemona. Iago knows he must gain the respect of Othello. "In good time, must his Lieutenant be"(I.i.32). Iago has the stage set to take advantage of Othello’s suspicion of Cassio. He then convinces Othello that her infidelity is true as he saw Cassio with Desdemona’s handkerchief. "By Heaven, that should be my handkerchief"(IV.i.147). This whole scene then plays in to Iago’s plan "And to see how he prizes the foolish woman your wife?" (IV.i.163).

The love for his wife is conveyed, as he can not bear to live knowing that his wife has become a whore. "Aye, let her rot, and perish, and be dammed tonight, for she shall not live"(IV.i.168). This statement demonstrates the success of Iago’s deception that he has convinced him enough that he will kill his wife because he truly loves her. The betrayal of Iago is now complete. The jealous and insane Othello sets out to set right the infidelity of his wife by killing her.

The trust of Iago convinced Othello to change into a mad and vengeful lover out for revenge. This, indeed, led to his downfall and also to every one involved in the scheming work of Iago. This evil work of Iago manipulated the characters in the play to act against any reason. And for this Othello and Desdemona paid with their lives. It is ironic, however, that sometimes your enemies can be the closest and dearest companions. And their betrayal can have dire repercussions

The characters of Nora and Torvald Helmer in A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen represent the elements of an unsuccessful marriage and throughout the play their selfish and secluded behavior becomes visible. It is these elements that allow the reader the notion that Nora and Torvald’s relationship was doomed in the beginning.

The initial conflict begins with the opening scene where Torvald and Nora are discussing finances. It becomes apparent to the nature of Nora’s upbringing. Her wealth as a child and her extravagant spends lead to the initial conflict with Torvald. Torvald says," We certainly don’t have money to waste." This is his response to her spending. This is the nature of her personality the " playfulness" that makes the audience wonders if her relationship with Torvald is "playing" around also. The personality differences between them, Torvald being concentrated and hard at work and Nora’s playfulness as a little "squirrel" are visible as the dialogue discusses Torvald’s obsession with remaining debt free as they discuss finances and his recent promotion.

Nora’s loan from Krogstad becomes the final act that destroys her relationship with Torvald. Her true nature and playfulness are overwhelming. Torvald is ignorant to the workings of Nora’s debt and finally becomes informed as he reads the letter delivered from Krogstad. He then explodes as his anger for the act that his wife has committed but because of his unconditional love for his wife he forgives her. " I have forgiven you for everything. Of course I know that