This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Themes Of Deception In William Shakespeare's Othello

2682 words - 11 pages

Themes of Deception in William Shakespeare's Othello

Deception is one of the main themes running through Othello, along
with love, pride and society. Indeed, it is deception that provides
the fuel for the plot and deception that is leads to the classic
downfall of the 'hero' as is common in Shakespeare tragedies. We see
Macbeth and Hamlet both succumb to downfall.

perhaps the most obvious deception is Iago's deception. The principal
method that Iago uses to convince Othello of Desdemona´s infidelity is
by using one of Othello´s most treasured possessions and telling
Othello that his wife, Desdemona, has given it away to her lover,
Cassio. This treasured possession of Othello´s is a handkerchief,
which "Did an Egyptian to my mother give". The handkerchief is hugely
important to Othello because it is a link back to his mother who also
told Othello to give it to his wife. "She dying gave it me, And bid me
when my fate would have me wive, To give it her". So to Othello this
handkerchief symbolises their perfect union with an almost divine
quality, stating that it has "magic in the web of it". Iago tells
Othello that he saw Cassio wiping his mouth with it, much like a rag.
" I know not that; but such a handkerchief- I am sure it was your
wife´s- did I today. See Cassio wipe his beard with". This crass act,
enhanced by Iago's crass recounting of it, is deliberate to enrage
Othello. Deception can be subtle enough to filter into one's mind
where it grows until the mind is turned over and deceit rules.
Shakespeare is telling us that deception is a seed that must be
planted carefully but has the potential to grow monstrous.

Iago does not just use the handkerchief to convince Othello of
Desdemona´s unfaithfulness. Iago proves to be very good at
manipulating people and how they feel. At the beginning of the play
Iago successfully gets Roderigo to wake Brabantio and tell him of the
relationship between Othello and Desdemona. Brabantio learns of
Roderigo´s name but not of Iago´s. Iago also manages to manipulate
Othello, when talking of killing Cassio. Iago adds into the
conversation "But let her live". This sounds like Iago is trying to
save Desdemona, but more likely is that Iago is deliberately planting
the idea of killing Desdemona into Othello´s mind. Othello replies
with "Damn her, lewd minx. O damn her, damn her". From that reaction
we can tell that Iago has reminded Othello of what she has done, and
rather than agree with what he has said it sounds like he is more
determined to kill her. Iago has succeeded in condemning Desdemona to
death at Othello´s hands.

Iago´s effectiveness at noticing innocent situations and making them
look suspect is another way in which he gets Othello to believe of
Desdemona´s unfaithfulness. When Othello first enters the room at the

Find Another Essay On Themes of Deception in William Shakespeare's Othello

Deception in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

813 words - 3 pages Deception in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night In William Shakespeare's comedic play, Twelfth Night, a recurring theme is deception. The characters in the play used deception for a variety of purposes. Viola's use of deception involves her disguising herself as a man in order to obtain a job with the Duke of Illyria, Orsino. On the other hand, Maria, Olivia's servant, writes a letter to Malvolio in Olivia's handwriting to make Malvolio

Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

1543 words - 6 pages Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello Works Cited Missing In Shakespeare's drama 'Othello', the reader is presented a tragedy of characters deeply affected by the clash of good and evil. The evil contained within Othello is by no means magical or mythical yet is represented by the character Iago. Iago has no

Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello

1219 words - 5 pages Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello William Shakespeare, born: 1564 died: 1616, is considered one of the greatest writers who has ever lived. He had a unique way of putting things into words. All of his plays, sonnets, and poems have gotten great recognition. But when Shakespeare wrote Othello he created one of the most controversial villains of all times; Iago. He is best described as disturbing, ruthless, and amoral. No other character

Racism in William Shakespeare's Othello

1151 words - 5 pages Racism in William Shakespeare's Othello The play, Othello, is certainly, in part, the tragedy of racism. Examples of racism are common throughout the dialog. This racism is directed toward Othello, a brave soldier from Africa and currently supreme commander of the Venetian army. Nearly every character uses a racial slur to insult Othello at one point in the play. Even Emilia sinks to the level of insulting Othello based on the color of

Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello

2559 words - 10 pages Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello Iago has many motives for destroying the other characters in the play. One of these is jealousy. Iago is jealous of Othello, Desdemona, Cassio and even his own wife, Emilia. He is jealous of Othello for many reasons. Iago wants the power and the respect that Othello has. We see this in Act 2 scene 1 where Iago says ‘the moor- howbeit I endure him not- is of a constant, loving, noble

Jealousy in William Shakespeare's Othello

2106 words - 8 pages Shakespeare has an exceptional ability to compose plays full of deceit, trickery, murderous revenge, and jealousy. In Othello, one of his most recognized tragedies was consistently evolving around the central theme of jealousy. Jealousy in Othello is what the play was founded on. One of Shakespeare's most credible characteristics in his writing is his ability to compose a play in which has a story that originates, and strides on lies. As

Shylock in William Shakespeare's Othello

2744 words - 11 pages Shylock in William Shakespeare's Othello The Jews ancestral home-land, where they had lived for hundreds of years was Palestine. However, they were exiled from this land in about the year 400 AD. They scattered out and formed a Diaspora, a community of exiled people. Once the Roman Empire had deteriorated, a lot of them began to make their way back to Palestine, which was then invaded by the Turks, and ruled by them for

Iago of William Shakespeare's Othello

886 words - 4 pages Iago of William Shakespeare's Othello There are many examples of animal imagery throughout Shakespeare's Othello that are used by the characters in the play both innocently and with the intent to cause harm. Shakespeare uses imagery in Othello to emphasize several of the themes that are found in the play, including reality vs. appearance and good vs. evil. The imagery of people as beasts is strongly introduced in the

Iago of William Shakespeare's Othello

1337 words - 5 pages Iago of William Shakespeare's Othello Iago has a great understanding of people and how they will react to different situations and this skill allows him to control the action so neatly that it as if is he himself is the playwright. He has no regard for the thoughts of others and skilfully manipulates those around him to trick them to play a part in a strategy he has so meticulously planned, for example, the brawl scene

The Importance of Act III in William Shakespeare's Othello

2082 words - 8 pages The Importance of Act III in William Shakespeare's Othello William Shakespeare's tragedy 'Othello' is a dramatic story about a highly respected coloured military general, Othello, whose life and marriage is slowly broken down by an evil and sadistic manipulator, Iago. As a result of Iago's successful plotting, Othello is degraded from a caring and loving husband to Iago's level, becoming jealous, violent, paranoic and

The Use of Soliloquies in William Shakespeare's Othello

1109 words - 4 pages The Use of Soliloquies in William Shakespeare's Othello Soliloquy is a stage device which can be found throughout the works of many modern day playwrights, and is famously used by Shakespeare in his theatrical tragedy, “Othello.” We see at many key moments, both the lead roles of Othello and Iago, speak when no other characters are present or listening, revealing their inner most thoughts to the audience, illuminating

Similar Essays

The Major Themes In William Shakespeare's Othello

1370 words - 5 pages The Major Themes in William Shakespeare's Othello Irony and double meaning are the basis and patterns of Othello, in which nothing is what it seems to be; white is black and generally the characters and themes have contradictory aspects. Irony is one of the characteristics of tragedy as the outcome, although inevitable, is unfair. In Act 1 scene 1, Shakespeare sets up the main themes of: jealousy, revenge, xenophobia

The Themes Of Deception And Self Deceit In William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

1773 words - 7 pages The Themes of Deception and Self-Deceit in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Works Cited Missing The comical play, Twelfth night, which was written by Shakespeare, is a classic example of seventeenth century humour, wit, deception and self-deceit. In the play we see how twin Viola and Sebastian are separated, and they both

Questions Of Humanity In William Shakespeare's Othello

1499 words - 6 pages Questions of Humanity in William Shakespeare's Othello They are questions as old as civilization itself. Does man have control over his own destiny? Is man ultimately held accountable for his actions by a higher power? Within the plays of William Shakespeare can be found such fundamental questions and conflicts of humanity, as well as situations, attitudes, and problems that continue to hold strong universal meaning to

The Use Of Deception In William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

691 words - 3 pages The Use of Deception in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night            Deception is a key theme in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. The characters must use deception to obtain good things, escape bad situations, or to play cruel hilarious ticks on other people. One example of deception is when Viola clothes herself in men's clothing in order to obtain a job under the Duke of Illyria, Orsino. During another scene Sir Andrew, Fabian, Maria