Honest Betrayal in Othello Essay

Honest Betrayal in Othello Essay

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Honest Betrayal in Othello


Iago's honest betrayal has left Othello pondering over Desdemona's faithfulness. Believing the words of his most honest ancient, Othello gullibly succumbs to his insinuations of his wife, Desdemona, as being unfaithful. Through Othello's soliloquy, he is not the self-confident General formerly portrayed as. Instead, his indecision over his wife's infidelity has caused him to explore his flaws as a human being, showing signs of appearance versus reality.



Othello Citation:

This fellow's of exceeding honesty,

And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit,

Of human dealings. If I do prove her haggard,

Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings,

I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind

To prey at fortune. Haply for I am black

And have not those soft parts of conversation

That chamberers have; or for I am declined

Into the vale of years-yet that's not much-

She's gone: I am abused, and my relief

Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage,

That we can call these delicate creatures ours

And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad

And live upon the vapour of a dungeon

Than keep a corner in the thing I love

For others' uses. Yet 'tis the plague of great ones;

Prerogatived are they less than the base.

'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death:

Even this forked plague is fated to us

When we do quicken. Desdemona comes!

If she be false, O then heaven mocks itself!

I'll not believe't. (III.ii.255-276)


The conniving Iago has unquestionably caused Othello to be suspicious of Desdemona's fidelity. Othello, like every one of the other characters, is duped by this 'honest' ancient whom he kno...

... middle of paper ...

...As Othello becomes firmly believing in Iago's insinuations, his tone accentuates by his anger. Metaphorically he states when a man is cuckolded, forked horns will grow on his head, which could be seen by all except himself.


Iago's subtle machinations has intoxicated Othello's mind against Desdemona's betrayal. Jealousy has made Othello believe that Desdemona, the most beautiful lady in Venice, might be unfaithful to him. If that is true, Othello blames heaven for the course of the problem:


If she be false, O then heaven mocks itself!

I'll not believe't. (III.ii.275-278)


The once honourably proud General has been degenerated through his pride and self esteem by believing he has been cuckolded. Obviously, his fatal trust in the villainous Iago, and his obsessive jealousy leads Othello's honest betrayal and tragic downfall.

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