"Othello" by William Shakespere: Othello and the Wheel of Deceit

Essay by UifzCollege, UndergraduateA-, June 2006

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In "Othello", a most captivating work, Shakespeare brilliantly spun a web of lies and treachery which every character quickly became entangled in. Each character played an important role in propelling the wheel of deceit into motion. This can be seen specifically through the actions of Desdemona, Iago, and Othello.

Desdemona, the fair, virtuous, and gentle wife of Othello is often considered to be guiltless in the play, since she was murdered by Othello for allegedly having an affair with Cassio, an act that she was falsely accused of. However, it is worth pointing out that Desdemona was not guiltless; in fact, she was the first character to set the wheel of deceit into motion. She did this by sneaking behind her father's back in order to marry Othello. Her betrayal was not lightly taken by, Brabantio, her father, who said: "O, she deceives me...O treason of the blood! Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' minds by what you see them act."

(1116). After befriending Othello and inviting him to dinner on several occasions, Brabantio could not help but feel betrayed by Othello as well, though he warned his new son-in-law of Desdemona: "Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see: She has deceived her father, and may thee."

When the devilish Iago was manipulating Othello into believing that Desdemona was unfaithful, he ironically used Brabantio's same warning to convince Othello of the fallacy: "She did deceive her father, marrying you" (1152). It is evident that Desdemona and Othello's act of deceit is what ironically helped Iago deceive Othello, thus turning the wheel even more. Iago's duplicitous workings did not end with Othello; in fact, he concurrently deceived Emilia, Desdemona, and Cassio. Iago commanded his obedient wife, Emilia, to steal Desdemona's handkerchief, a gift...