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False Judgement

In: English and Literature

Submitted By eileenharford
Words 1945
Pages 8
Independent Study Project
Othello, the Invisible Wound, To Kill a Mockingbird
July 30th 2014
Eileen Harford
Everyone has had a time in their life when they have misjudged a situation. Whether it was assuming someone took your pencil when it is actually in behind you ear, or assuming which character is the killer in our favorite movie, we all have misjudgements all the time in our lives. When was the last time you have mistaken a situation? The theme of false judgement demonstrated in the play “Othello” by Shakespeare, the short story “The Invisible Wound” by Karoly Kisfaludi, and the film “To Kill a Mockingbird”. In these three storylines, the author exhibits the theme of false judgment through a character of innocence that is poorly misjudged and ends tragically for them. Othello accuses his wife, Desdemona of adultery, while the unnamed protagonist in “The Invisible Wound” also inaccurately assumes his wife is cheating. In “To Kill a Mockingbird”, the jury accuses Tom Robinson of a crime that he did not commit all because of the colour of his skin. Given the above, it is clear that these three story lines hold the same theme of an error in judgement occurring.
Throughout the play, “Othello” by William Shakespeare, a few of the characters are condemned on untruthful information. Desdemona and Cassio are victims of poor judgement. Accusations towards Desdemona seem to be the most prominent to any reader – which all begin when Othello falls to Iago’s manipulation that causes Othello to poorly judge his own wife. Othello accuses his wife, Desdemona, of adultery. Iago provides “proof” of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness such as Cassio leaving Desdemona very quickly and then right after Desdemona’s pleading on his behalf. The handkerchief that Iago plants with Cassio that once belonged to Desdemona, only cements Othello's trust in Iago. Othello immediately believes Iago plan and automatically assumes he is right that Desdemona has committed adultery. All of this "proof" of course is of Iago's creation, none of it is actually true, but is enough to brainwash Othello into thinking that his wife is unfaithful before actually confronting her about his assumptions. Meanwhile, only the audience knows that this dramatic irony is a false judgement on Othello’s part since he is so blinded by his own jealousy that he cannot see the truth in the situation. Poor judgement turns out to be Othello’s tragic flaw which leads to the death of his wife and eventually his own. Due to Othello’s belief of the information given by his peers and how this affects his final decision to kill the innocent Desdemona. As Desdemona’s final words she declares “O falsely, falsely murdered!" she says weakly (Shakespeare 5.2.117), but he still does not believe her innocence. He then realizes his fault when Emilia confronts him by saying “O thou dull Moor! That handkerchief thou speak’st of, I found by fortune and did give my husband. For often, with a solemn earnestness— More than indeed belonged to such a trifle—He begged of me to steal it” (Shakespeare Act 5, Scene 2, 240). At this point, Othello realizes his error in judgement and that he assumed too quickly of his faithful wife. Another character poorly judged in the play “Othello” is Cassio who was misjudged as a traitor to Othello due to Iago’s lies. In the beginning of the play, Cassio is one of Othello’s soldiers, and is recently appointed the general’s second-in-command. This infuriates Iago, as he wanted to be lieutenant, which sparks Iago’s idea to target him to get him in trouble with Othello. Iago comes up with a false plot that would be believable since he seems to have quite the flirty personality towards women. Iago tells Othello that Cassio has been sleeping with his own wife, Desdemona. Othello believes the lies about Cassio and he ends up losing his position as Lieutenant. Later in the play, Othello finally has an epiphany that he was surrounded by lies and Cassio and Desdemona were truly innocent. Cassio says to Othello “Dear general, I never gave you cause” with Othello replying “I do believe it, and I ask your pardon.Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil. Why he hath thus ensnared my soul and body?” (Shakespeare Act 5, Scene 2, 315). This proves that Othello truly did falsely judge the innocent Cassio. Overall, the play “Othello” demonstrates scenes of assumption that leads to poor misjudgement that ends up hurting others, including hurting themselves as well.
Along with Othello’s poor judgement on his wife and Cassio, the unnamed protagonist in the short story, “The Invisible Wound” by Karoly Kisfaludi, can easily be targeted for false judgement by the audience towards his wife while the surgeon displays misjudgement on the unnamed protagonist. The unnamed protagonist demonstrates false judgement on his wife when he assumed the letters he has found in her locked up safe were intended for her. Jealousy sets into his mind at this point and blinds him from seeing the truth in the situation. He goes straight to assuming that his wife is unfaithful to him for receiving love letters from an old friend of his. The unnamed protagonist states in the letter “the poison had taken effect in my soul and had eaten itself through every vein of my body. I placed my right hand silently on her neck and pressed it with all my might” (Kisfaludi 7), which proves how his misjudgements brainwashed him into thinking that his innocent wife was unfaithful to him. He later on realizes from his wife’s friend who speaks of the letters that she has been keeping for her, that she was truly guiltless all along. Likewise, the surgeon also displays false judgement through his disbelief of the unnamed protagonist’s wound since he cannot actually see it. The surgeon misjudges the unnamed protagonist for he does not truly understand what is actually happening in the unnamed protagonist’s life. He believes that “the skin is perfectly healthy. The arteries are normal: not the slightest inflammation or swelling. It is as normal as any hand can be.” Then after the protagonist insists there is a wound, “The doctor looked at the man. He began to think that he had to deal with a lunatic” (Kisfaludi 2), since he believes there is nothing wrong with the hand. The surgeon later realizes that the pain was actually from within all along after reading the letter from the unnamed protagonist at the end. Overall, the short story “The Invisible Wound” demonstrates scenes of assumption that leads to poor misjudgement that ends up hurting others, including hurting themselves as well.
Similarly to the unnamed protagonist’s and Othello’s false judgement that leads to a murdering of a loved one, the society throughout the film, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, misjudges Tom Robinson too. During the time period that “To Kill a Mockingbird” was published and the city the storyline was placed in, Maycomb, was a very racist period. This racism leads the jury to the impression of why Tom Robinson is guilty in the crime they believe he committed due to the colour of his skin. "Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed" (Lee 1988), which proves how the society would immediately convict Tom Robinson guilty just to to the colour of his skin. This ended with the death of an innocent man, which the society would never know of because of the strong racism in society. Likewise, the whole Radley family is misjudged as well. They suffer from social prejudice because Boo hadn't been seen for years, and people didn't know where Mrs. Radley was. The rumours and superstitions that have built up by the society of Maycomb about the Radley family causes people not only like Jem and Scout to misjudge the innocent citizens, but also the whole society to think wrongly of their behaviors. Scout states "every night-sound I heard from my cot on the back porch was magnified threefold; every scratch of feet on gravel was Boo Radley seeking revenge, every passing Ne_ gro laughing in the night was Boo Radley loose and after us; insects splashing against the screen were Boo Radley’s insane fingers picking the wire to pieces; the chinaberry trees were malignant, hovering, alive. I lingered between sleep and wakefulness..." (Lee 1988). The children fear him, as the rest of Maycomb does, and as a result, there are many rumours about him. Most of these rumours are started and spread by Miss Stephanie like when she claimed that she woke up in the night, and saw Boo looking in at her through her window. As a result, Scout and Jem finally realize that they have misjudged Boo Radley after he saves their lives from Bob Ewell. Boo Radley has cared for them all along and risked his own life in killing Bob Ewell to save their own. Overall, the film “To Kill a Mockingbird” demonstrates scenes of assumption that leads to poor misjudgement that ends up hurting others, including hurting themselves as well.
In conclusion, a few characters from each the short story “Othello” by William Shakespeare, “The Invisible Wound” by Karoly Kisfaludi, and the film “To Kill a Mockingbird” all set examples of how assumption leading to misjudgement can be wrong and can truly hurt others and themselves as well. One can learn from this is to step back and look at the situation before coming to a conclusion. These storylines all set very good examples of the consequences of automatically assuming what one hears or of what is to be assumed by the public – which is not always right.

Works Cited
Primary Sources:
Clark, Barrett H., and Maxim Lieber. Great short stories of the world; a collection of complete short stories chosen from the literatures of all periods and countries,. Cleveland: World Pub. Co., 1925. Print.
Kisfaludi, Karoly. “The Invisible Wound”. 1788.
Shakespeare, William, and Burton Raffel. Othello. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. Print.
To Kill a Mockingbird. Pakula-Mulligan Productions, 1962. VHS.
Secondary Sources:
"Boo Radley and Tom Robinson in To Kill A Mockingbird :: Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird." Boo Radley and Tom Robinson in To Kill A Mockingbird :: Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 July 2014. <>.
"Othello." SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 7 July 2014. <>.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "To Kill a Mockingbird Justice and Judgment Quotes Page 1." Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 7 July 2014. <>.
"The Faith of a Heretic." The Faith of a Heretic. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 July 2014. <>.
"The Theme of Judgement in to Kill a Mockingbird Essay." The Theme of Judgement in to Kill a Mockingbird. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 July 2014. <>.
"The Othello Error." Queens and Bees. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 July 2014. <>.
"To Kill a Mockingbird - Themes Kill Mockingbird essays." To Kill a Mockingbird - Themes Kill Mockingbird essays. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2014. <>.…...

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