Web of Deceit in Shakespeare's Othello

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Web of Deceit in Othello Shakespeare’s Othello portrays a process through which pure evil has an effect on love and morality. The character of Iago twists Othello into killing his wife, and eventually himself, through manipulating Othello’s trust and loyalty. Iago uses the handkerchief as a symbol through which Othello is convinced of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness. This handkerchief plays many roles throughout Othello. Because of the importance placed upon this object, the driving force of the play becomes centered on the particular qualities of this handkerchief. In its most important aspect, the handkerchief becomes associated with a kind of web set by Iago, in order to ensnare both Othello and Desdemona. At the beginning of Act II, Iago begins to formulate his plans to bring down Othello. As Cassio takes Desdemona’s hand and welcomes her, Iago says: He takes her by the palm. Ay, well said, whisper! With as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon her, do! I will gyve thee in thine own courtship.-You say true; ‘tis so, indeed! - If such tricks as these strip you out of you lieutenantry, it had been better you had not kissed your three fingers so oft...(II,i L.166-72) In this passage, Iago plans to use Cassio in his plan to destroy Othello. Rather than merely stating his desire to do this, Iago uses imagery based around a spider’s web. By doing so, ideas of creation, self utilization, and entrapment are brought into the plot concerning Othello. Iago likens himself to a spider, who spins a web from his own mind which will trap people, and cause them to serve his own needs. This passage shows the extent to which Iago foresees his own designs. Iago does not take an active role ... ... middle of paper ... ...y, and painful reality. He can no longer trust what he believes, and must follow what he believes "Nature" has told him to do. Because Othello has strong feelings these are the only thing he is certain of feeling, and therefore follows them. This is not a man who remembers what the past has taught him. Othello now looks at the handkerchief as threads woven for the sole purpose of maligning his trust, and his life. He has lost sight of Iago’s manipulating words, in favor of action through anger and retribution. Iago has created a web of lies around Othello to accomplish two things. Othello becomes uprooted from any comfort and security gained from the past by Iago’s lies. After this has been accomplished, this web of lies gives Othello the support he desperately needs. This new dedication, however, orchestrates Othello’s downfall, and Iago’s momentary triumph.
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