Theme Of Deception in "Othello"

Essay by j7d5High School, 10th gradeA+, November 2008

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Throughout "Othello", the theme of deception plays an important role. The arch-deceiver in this play is Iago. Iago's repeated deception moves the play forward to the climax and ultimately to the tragic ending. Although deception is always meant to deceive, the degree of deception varies upon the context of the situation. Another character that exhibits deception is Desdemona. The deception shown by Desdemona has a different intention as compared to Iago's.

Iago wants to get revenge on Othello. The intentions of Iago are hurtful and evil. An example of this is when Iago says to Othello, "She did deceive her father, marrying you" (III.3.238). Iago wants to hurt Othello by placing doubt in his mind that Desdemona could be unfaithful. Iago does this with full intentions to anger Othello. Another incident in where Iago deceives Othello is in Act IV. Iago tricks Othello into thinking that he is talking with Cassio about his affair with Desdemona. Othello watches from afar thinking that Cassio is telling Iago all about his relationship with Desdemona and Othello gets outraged. In the conversation they say,Iago - "Ply Desdemona well and you are sure on't. Now if this suit lay in Bianca's power, How quickly should you speed!"Cassio -"Alas, poor caitiff!"Othello - "(aside) Look, how he laughs already!" (IV.1.23-127)Othello watches from afar thinking that Cassio is telling Iago all about his relationship with Desdemona. This conversation outrages Othello. Iago is actually talking with Cassio about Bianca. When Cassio laughs, Othello thinks that Cassio is laughing at Desdemona. Using verbal deception, Iago was able to make Othello angry by telling him he would talk with Cassio about Desdemona.

Iago deceives not only Othello, but Cassio and Roderigo as well. Iago takesadvantage of his friendships with Cassio as...