Coursework Topic: Select key scenes from Shakespeare’s play which show the inner conflict of the main characters.(of othello and macbeth)

Macbeth and Othello are both well respected decorated soldiers known for their bravery and honor. Both are plotted against/manipulated – Macbeth by the three witches, Othello by Iago. Both have a tragic flaw, which ultimately leads to their disgrace: Macbeth and his ambition, Othello and his jealousy. Both end up murdering at least one innocent person. Both having the same ending, which is the result of the being death of the main character.


The main character in the play, Othello has internal conflicts about accusations of his wife sleeping with his lieutenant, Casio. Othello argues within himself about whether his wife (Desdemona) is guilty or innocent. The words of Iago make Desdemona seem guilty but what Emilia says makes her seem innocent “I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest, lay down my soul at stake: if you think other, Remove your thought; it doth abuse your bosom. If any wretch has put this in your head, let heaven  requite it with the serpent’s curse! For, if she be not honest, chaste, and true, there’s no man happy; the purest of their wives is foul as slander.”  In the end, Othello decides that Desdemona is guilty of sleeping with Cassio, so he smothers her to death.

Cassio feels as if she thinks he is not good enough for her by her beauty and that she is white but yet he is black: “Haply for I am black”.

The other internal conflict happens within Desdemona. This conflict is tied with the conflict of Othello. Desdemona starts to argue in her mind about what made Othello call her a “whore: She thinks that Othello is upset about “state issues” She gets this idea from Iago who tells her that. Then after the argument with Othello, She begins to wonder what made Othello jealous. She also thinks about why Othello is treating her with no respect. Desdemona finally finds out that Othello thinks that she slept with Cassio. It is too late for Desdemona to do anything as she is killed.



Macbeth was a loyal servant to Duncan and saw Duncan as a great king. Duncan was also an esteemed guest at the house of Macbeth at the time. Killing Duncan went against all of these logical reasons Macbeth had thought of, Also it was the biggest crime at that time to kill a king since he had been chosen by god and even if he was a bad king they should still respect him and never do anything to harm him in any way.

Macbeth the “tragic hero of the play” tries to gain power after he hears about the prophecies of the three witches. The witches’ predictions give Macbeth ambition and overconfidence but yet he is constantly having conflict within himself.


It damages him in many ways one of the first conflict within himself is Act 1 Scene 7 starting with the words, “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere best it were done quickly” gives a number of reasons why he should not kill Duncan. He had many more reasons for not killing King Duncan than for carrying out the killing. For example, he owed the King respect as cousin, host, and subject. Killing the King disrespected Duncan’s position as benefactor, cousin, guest, and king. Additionally, the King was beloved and respected by the people of Scotland, and they were likely to be outraged by his murder. Finally, if people got the idea that you could become king by killing the king, wouldn’t they do the same to Macbeth if he became king in this way? (And of course this is exactly what happened.) In addition he says to his wife that he should enjoy his new titles while they are still new. There was only one reason that Macbeth could offer himself in favor of the murder. That sole reason was his ambition, and Macbeth didn’t think much of it, calling it “vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself”.

In these internal conflicts we learn more about the characters. With Othello, we learn that he can become very jealous and persuaded easily which is strange for a leader to be tricked so easily. We also find that Desdemona is emotional and loves Othello even after he treated her badly.


In act 2 scenes 2, he is tortured by the thought of what he has done. He starts to try and think it was falseness “false face must hide what false heart doth know.” he is terribly careful that when the knocking begins, he says: “wake Duncan with thy knocking;i would thou could’st.”He constantly is thinking that what he did was wrong (in those days it was considered the worst thing to do was to kill a king even if he was a bad king since he had been appointed by god himself.) but yet he was telling himself it was good because now he’s holding the throne and he has full power over Scotland. He’s still worried that his best friend (Banquo) may say something to the people of Scotland. And again conflict runs through Macbeth because he either has to kill yet another innocent civilian, who is his best friend or has to hope for the best that he will not speak about the witches prophecies and that his sons will not become kings.



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