Theme Of Hypocrisy In Othello

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The Elusion of Authority: The Consequences of Hypocrisy in Othello

Othello explores the discord between voiced principles and subsequent behaviors, while revealing that Othello’s failure to adhere to his principles defines the failure of his pursuits. His fears are self-fulfilling in that he passionately acts against those he believes have belittled him, and is viewed as dishonorable as a result. In prioritizing his desire for Desdemona, authority, and respect above his morals, Othello ensures the loss of all he seeks. Perpetually an outsider in Venice, Othello’s status impacts much of his life and greatly influences his courtship of Desdemona. Though officials respect him—which is proven by the first senator’s mention of him as a “valiant
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In opposition to his vow to wait for evidence of an affair, he believes Iago’s claim as soon as he hears Cassio speaking about his relationship with Bianca. And though Emilia provides evidence contrary to the accusation, Othello maintains his certitude that Desdemona and Cassio have been together. He frames revenge as an act of mercy in order to avoid cognitive dissonance. In preparing to kill his wife, he reasons to himself, “Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men” (V.ii.6). He finds solace in the idea that his actions benefit others, and are, therefore, necessary. An additional justification takes the form of God-like justice, as revealed through his statement, “This sorrow’s heavenly:/ It strikes where it doth love” (V.ii.21-22). In comparing his punishment of his wife to God’s punishment of His children, Othello assures himself that his actions are virtuous and warranted. After realizing that Desdemona has survived asphyxiation, he expresses sympathy for her pain, saying, “I that am cruel am yet merciful;/ I would not have thee linger in pain” (V.ii.88-89). Othello interminably affirms that he is principled throughout the murder, though the act goes directly against all that he has claimed to…show more content…
After years of proving his integrity by confronting obstacles rationally and with composure, Othello lusts for revenge against Desdemona and Cassio. While he has put an end to quarrels among his men and refused to engage in combat with Brabantio, he longs to kill his former lieutenant “forty thousand” times and has allowed “tyrannous hate” to overcome his reason (III.iv.442,448). His reputation as a man “whom passion could not shake” and “whose solid virtue/ The shot of accident nor dart of chance/ Could neither graze nor pierce” is destroyed by the passion for the very woman he hoped would elevate him (IV.i.261-263). The public views him as a villain and a devil after his horrific deeds are revealed, and Othello realizes the demise of his virtue. His resignation is revealed as he enquires, “But why should honor outlive honesty?” (V.ii.251). Othello comprehends his crimes, and realizes he does not deserve to be remembered as honorable.
Although throughout his life, Othello attempts to overcome prejudices and prove himself a rational human being like others in society, his passion for Desdemona causes him to act monstrously, confirming the biases many already hold against him. His jealous rage is caused by the extreme fear of losing his wife, as well as the fear of being proven to be as inferior as others believe he is. Though he attempts to remain noble and
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