The art of deception
The art of deception many times changes the current conditions or plays a
significant role in the end result of literary works. In Othello and The Tragical History of
Dr. Faustus shows how deception changes the identity of individuals and the outcome of
certain events. There is a juxtaposition between the characters of Iago and Faustus, whom
use their human autonomy to manipulate the sequence of events in each work. By
deceiving themselves or the characters around them there becomes an absolute play on
words and actions, wherein the identity and outcome is strengthened or lost.
Iago wishes to be Othello and this becomes apparent in his discussion regarding
Cassio promotion, his social status, and his own identity. Iago seems to deceive himself,
by wishing he were Othello and by doing so he almost believes he is Othello. Shakespeare
states: “Were I the Moor I would not be Iago,” begins Iago abolishing his own identify to
fulfill his desires to be another person (line 58). Stephen Greenblatt discusses the possible
meanings of Iago role-playing briefly in Act 1 and states:
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago, because The “I” always loves itself
and the creature I know as Iago hates the Moor he serves or, alternatively,
because of the Moor I would be other than I am now, free of tormenting
appetite and revulsion that characterize the servant’s relation to his master
and that constitutes my identify as Iago. (235-36)
Iago appears to manipulate his own thoughts regarding Othello and by doing so it
directs him as to what identity he holds. By imaging himself as Othello he is able to see the
opposing outcomes of himself in regards to Othello, therefore he construct his own
identity by furthering his manipulation.
Iago deception is furthered in his conversation with Roderigo and states: “But I
will wear my heart upon my sleeve/For daws to peck at, I am not what I am,” showing
he’s not what he appears to be ( line 65-66). Iago’s l...
... middle of paper ...
...eatrical illusions shaped by human subjects” and “those
subjects are themselves fictions, fashioned to reiterate acts of self-naming (218-219).
Faustus finds his faults in his deception and states: “All beast are happy, for when they
die/Their souls are soon dissolved in elements, But mine must live still to be plagued in
hell”, thus determining his illusion did not bring true gratification (lines 165-7).
Within Othello and The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus shows were the
characters while playing on words and actions have dedicated themselves to play a major
role in the outcome. Iago was very consumed in the idea of revenge and wishing to be of
higher status, but his involvement made him a subject to the surrendering that is included
in his invention. Faustus too is very consumed in the idea of forgetting his own existence
and wishing to be of higher power, but it is the very thing that steals away his existence
and desire to be in control. Each character while manipulating the events in the works,
have deceived not only the other character, but themselves and their quest to find the self.
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