Othello: ESTJ

Othello, William Shakespeare

Othello ESTJ | Shakespeare MBTI

Dominant Te: Othello expresses his feelings and desires best through action. Though the audience does not get to witness it, Othello is clearly organized and task oriented enough to work his way up through the ranks of the Venetian military. He jumps into action as soon as he recognizes a quick and direct solution to a problem. Instead of stopping to consider possibilities of falsehood in Iago’s words, he immediately instigates a punishment on Desdemona. His criticisms of others and himself are frank and objective. He doesn’t appoint men in his army based on how well he knows them, but rather how capable they are, which is why he appoints Cassio as lieutenant, rather than Iago. He likes to be in control of his situation, and when his marital security is threatened, he takes swift action against the parties he believes to be at fault. Othello is good with words (though he believes otherwise) and is able to effectively captivate and motivate others into action. He is intelligent, and though inwardly insecure, he displays and outward confidence that allows him to lead with power.

Othello ESTJ | Shakespeare MBTI

Auxiliary Si: To a degree, Othello is a model citizen. Despite his being an outsider, a black man who has escaped slavery, he manages to work his way up through the ranks of the Venetian military so that he becomes a commander. His prowess at leadership is much needed by the Italian state, and he is considered to be of great value to the senate. He is well trusted by the government, as is evidenced in this political position within Cyprus. He’s naturally suspicious and distrusting when given so much as a hint (proven or not), which is likely a result of racist baggage that he carries from his past. This likely contributes to his quickness to believe Iago’s lies about Desdemona (interracial marriages weren’t cool at that time). In general, he’s prone to jumping to conclusions about people and events without any evidence to support it. For instance, he assumes that Cassio has died in battle, despite the fact that he was not there to witness any of it.

othello shakespeare mbti intj iago

Tertiary Ne: Othello is highly suspicious of others. He is happy in his marriage at the start of the play, but over time, he becomes convinced that Desdemona has been unfaithful. Due to Othello’s intense suspicious tendencies, Iago is able to manipulate him into believing things that are absolutely not true, and Othello believes him without even the slightest bit of “proof.” Othello is open to the realm of future potential when it comes to ranking people within his army. He sees the potential in Cassio, a young military student and promotes him (instead of Iago) to the place of lieutenant.

Othello ESTJ | Shakespeare MBTI

Inferior Fi: At his worst, Othello becomes irrational and condemning of others. At his best, however, he is gentle, sensitive and respectful. He isn’t one to talk about his feelings, and it takes a fair amount of coaxing from Desdemona to get him to relate his life story to her. Rather, he prefers to act on his feelings. When chaos erupts, Othello considers himself the victim before stopping to wonder whether the others involved aren’t truly victims too. On the inside, Othello is insecure, not only about his race, but about his marriage as well. His relationship with Desdemona is the most important thing in the world to him: “But I do love thee, and when I love thee not, chaos is come again.” At the same time, he can be quite self-absorbed, and the person he “loved none to wisely, but too well,” was not Desdemona, but himself.


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