Shakespeare's Portrayal of Themes of Deception and Jealousy in Othello

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Shakespeare's Portrayal of Themes of Deception and Jealousy in Othello The main characters in relation to jealousy in the play are Othello and Desdemona. Desdemona is the object of Othello's jealousy, which is planted in his mind by Iago's deception. This enhances Othello's position in the minds of the audience as the tragic hero, and deeply links these two themes. The very status of being the tragic hero in the minds of the audience enhances our sense of his deception by Iago. His complete trust in Iago makes Iago seem all the more evil and deceitful in our eyes. Othello's trust in him is demonstrated early in the play: "Honest Iago, My Desdemona must I leave thee." Act 1 scene 3 Ironically, this show of his complete trust in Iago could in fact serve as a prompt for his plan to bring down Othello (his plan is at this stage undeveloped, although even when it is in progress, it relies as much upon Iago's resourcefulness and fleetness of mind as it does upon prior planning). Iago is trusted and believed by all who know him, and all of these are eventually destroyed: Cassio, Desdemona, Bianca and Roderigo all suffer from his evilness and their deaths are all by-products of his plan. Yet Iago seems unfazed and unperturbed by this, and to the end refuses to intimate his plan to anyone but Roderigo, with whom he contorts and presents his plan in a favourable way. Even this apparent trust is in fact only serving to increase his powers to remove Othello through his deception. Right from the outset of the play, Othello is shown to be an intelligent, slightly aloof but always just man, who is brought down by the scheming and... ... middle of paper ... ... who knows him with his quickness of mind and meticulous planning combined. By the end, however, he is not in control of the situation and can only try to change events, as is revealed in his line, "This is the night, that either makes me or fordoes me." Act 5, scene 1 I have also noted how Iago's deception leads to Othello's jealousy and its counterproductive (at least for Iago, and everyone involved) outcome, heavy with the moral that Iago's plotting and scheming does not work and is his eventual undoing. The complete futility and heartlessness of Iago's most evil of plots is summed up by one of the final lines of a character whose death is an unneeded by-product of Iago's cold-hearted plot, Desdemona: "A guiltless death I die" ========================= Desdemona, Act 5 scene 2, line 123

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