Character and Conflict in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello

Character and Conflict in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello

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Throughout William Shakespeare’s two plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello, characters deceive, manipulate, and cause another to transform. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oberon deceives and manipulates his own wife, and Robin does the same to a stranger. In Othello, Iago deceives and manipulates a fool and his own friend. Hypocritically, Iago consoles Othello when one of his friends seems to have betrayed him: “Men should be what they seem, / Or those that be not, would they might seem none” (Oth. 3.3.131b-1320). Iago never shows his true self to Othello; he says “I am not what I am” (Oth. 1.1.65b). Iago has a supreme power of manipulation through his words and how he interprets signs. James A. Knapp thinks that “Iago’s art is not unlike Shakespeare’s. The playwright continually sets images before the audiences’ eyes with the goal of luring them into believing a fiction” (380). Shakespeare suggests that people use deception and manipulation to transform another person in order to have him or her lured under their control. According to Shakespeare, this deception and manipulation is the key to transforming another person in order to obtain a desire.
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare suggests that a person can deceive his or her spouse in order to obtain what he or she desires. Since Titania stubbornly withholds the boy from Oberon, he plans to deceive her. Titania goes to sleep without any suspicion:
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine.
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamelled skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in;
And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes,
And mak...

... middle of paper ...

...the deception or manipulation.

Works Cited
Knapp, James A. “Static and Transformative Images in Shakespeare’s Dramatic Art.” Criticism 54.3 (2012): 377-389. Academic Search Complete Web. 6 Dec. 2013.
Lucking, David. “Putting out the Light: Semantic Indeterminacy and the Deconstitution of Self in Othello.” English Studies 75.2 (1994): 110-122. Academic Search Complete Web. 6 Dec. 2013.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2008. 2119-2191. Print.
Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2008. 849-896. Print.
Szakolczai, Arpad. “Image-Magic in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Power and modernity from Weber to Shakespeare.” History of the Human Sciences 20.4 (2007): 1-26. Academic Search Complete Web. 6 Dec. 2013.

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