First, conflict is a major theme in the play Othello by Shakespeare. The theme of conflict is seen due to the fact that some characters are hypocrites. For instance, Iago is a character who others describe as honest but his actions bring conflict in the play. Finally, he is seen as treacherous, deceitful as well as manipulative after they realize his hypocrisy. On the other hand, Desdemona is believed to be unfaithful especially by Othello. Other trait attributed to her is that she is impure in the real sense she is innocent and faithful.
Racism also causes conflict between characters. Othello's race, which some characters define as ambiguous, is seen to influence his personality according to other characters in the book. Othello works hard in order to make a good reputation. Racism leads to Othello's decision to get married to a white lady, Desdemona. Further, Brabantio allegations have it that Othello must have witchcraft magic to woo his daughter, all thanks to the theme of racism. Othello is also seen as weak person especially by his workmates, with Roderigo going ahead to challenge Othello's appointment of Cassio above his rank yet Othello had the qualities for such a post.
Jealousy precedes conflict. In the play, Iago is seen persuading Othello of his wife's affair with Cassio. Cassio is alleged to be having a relationship with a commercial sex worker called Bianca. Iago goes further to persuade his wife, Emilia, to steal Desdemona's handkerchief after she has dropped. This handkerchief is said to be Othello's first gift to her. Emilia agrees to steal the handkerchief and Iago proceeds to plant it in the Cassio's lodgings. This action is to serve as evidence of Desdemona's unfaithfulness to Othello. After the planting he proceeds to inform Othello of his fake findings. This false allegations lead to Othello's decision to mistreat and finally killing Desdemona.
The characters pride is seen as a cause of conflict in the play. Othello is proud of achievements he has made in life and more so his honorable appearance. Desdemona's allegations of infidelity hurt his pride to a great extent. During the night Othello confronts his wife, she claims to be innocent but her claims fall onto deaf ears. Othello smothers her in bed to death. Accidentally, Emilia arrives immediately and after learning of his action she calls for help. Later governor comes and finally Othello is arrested. (Shakespeare, 1988)
Culture and beliefs also cause conflict in the play. It was not cultural for a woman to marry a man of different race. Whites are seen to believe that Othello used magic power it woo Desdemona who is of a high social class since she is daughter of a senator called Brabantio.. Luckily, Othello defends himself successfully in an assembly which included Duke of Venice, Gratiano, Lodovico and various senators. He explains that Desdemona fell in love with him after he told of his past life but not any witchcraft powers. Senate was satisfied but Brabantio was not.
Lack of self-knowledge is seen a factor to causing conflict. Othello is a character that lacks self- knowledge and is easily influenced. This makes it easy for Iago to succeed in breaking his happy marriage eventually putting him into a miserable life. Iago inflames Othello's hidden nature into action by successfully planning in convincing him of his wife's action of unfaithfulness with Cassio. Othello could not have admitted he had those traits. Also, Emilie by lack of self-knowledge agrees to steal Desdemona's handkerchief which acted as an evidence to proof her affairs with Cassio.
Secondly, conflict is also a major theme in the play "The Zoo Story" by Edward Albee. The play is about communication breakdown that ends up with confrontation between two men, Jerry and Peter. The two men are in New York's Central Park. These men belong to different classes of social life. The play is seen to have used theme of isolation, social disparity in the livelihood. One man is seen to use force so as to get the attention of the other who is busy reading a magazine.
Jerry is in his late thirties and appears dirty, unkempt and out of place trying to talk to Peter is in his early forties and belongs to a middle social class. Peter does not know much beyond his marriage life. Two men meet on a park bench on a sunny afternoon as each take a rest. Jerry has a conversation which is meaningful and has made him eager to share it with another person. This eagerness makes him interrogating and forcing peter to listen to his stories.
From the beginning, Jerry appears to an obnoxious and pushy. He begins his conversation with guesses about Peter's life so as to win his attention. He first guesses that peter likes dogs more than cats and his wish is to have a son. He continues to say there is going to be no more children in his family. Peter ruefully agrees to the guesses because they are true. This reflects how outcast social class people hate lifestyles of those in the middle class valuing it as life without freedom.
Peter is locked to himself since he is conservative in nature hence he fails to show willingness to the conversation. He is also not intelligent enough to handle such a devious character as Jerry. From Jerry's point of view, conversation is perfect and he has accomplished what he intended. Ironic humor and suspense comes into climax when Jerry brings Peter down to his salvage level. Peter gets angry and on tying to leave Jerry pulls out a knife and serves himself. Jerry finishes his story while bleeding on the bench. (Albee, 1958)
In conclusion, this story represents the confrontations between humans in the society. Middle class Americans are taken to be hostile to the outcasts of the society. This confrontation makes the outcasts use immoral ways in order to have their voices hard by those who have power. Middle class Americans are seen to be neglecting the needs of people who belong to the outcast social class. Comparing the two books conflicts in the society is brought by discrimination and social disparity issues.