Truth in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

Truth in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

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In Othello, Iago uses his fine reputation as an “honest man” and Othello’s insecurities to manipulate him and carry out his master plan of destroying Cassio, Othello, and Desdemona. Iago’s insight towards the other characters’ weaknesses enables him to let them know exactly what they want to hear, which helps him gain their trust. He plays upon the insecurities of others to maneuver them into carrying out the actions he needs done in order to fulfill his own desires. In looking at Othello, we will consider the Othello’s blind acceptance of “the truth” as it is presented to him and find that when we blindly take another’s “truth” and accept it as our own, we merely become tools utilized by the person who gave us that supposed truth and give up the power of being ourselves—we fail to assert a self.
Iago is angry because Othello chose Cassio to hold a position which he thinks he deserves, so he seeks revenge by playing upon Othello’s main flaw—his lack of trust—and putting Cassio in a position that would turn Othello against him. In the beginning of the play, as Cassio and Desdemona wait for Othello’s ship to land, he pulls her to the side to talk about Othello’s arrival. He innocently takes her hand as he speaks to her and Iago takes notice. Iago then says, “With as little a web as this I will ensnare as great a fly as Cassio” (2.1.166-167). Iago introduces his plan of revenge to us, the audience. He uses the word “web” because a web is a great representation of how his plan starts and develops. A web starts out as a single line of string and is then manipulated and entangled to form a more complex structure that cannot be undone without being destroyed. Iago does this same thing when he takes this guiltless gesture and twists a...


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...e figured out that they were lies and it was actually “honest Iago” who was deceitful, not his wife. In this world we must be prepared to question everything and everyone because many everybody has some selfishness in them and will be willing to go to great extremes to reach the top, even if it means objectifying others and using them to their advantage. When we blindly believe others, we give them a power over us that only we should have, therefore it is best to keep their “truth” in consideration, but remember never to fail to at least attempt to confirm that truth and create our own. When we do fail to attempt this is when we give up our individuality and become as equally inanimate as a
tool that those who do choose to create a truth will use and toss away.

Works Cited:
Shakespeare, William. Othello. Ed. Alvin Kernan. New York, NY: Penguin Group, 1963.

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