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Deception in Shakespeare’s Othello

Deception in Othello

In the play Othello, the very evil and conniving character Iago deceives the main characters. He prays mostly on the main character Othello. Othello is a black general who is married to a white woman named Desdemona. In the beginning of the play Othello promotes a man named Cassio to be his right hand man in his army. Iago, thinking that he was going to get the promotion, is furious by this and swears revenge on Othello. In his revenge he uses many people. One of these people is Rodrigo. He is in love with Othello’s wife Desdemona. Iago prays on Rodrigo and causes him to have a battle with Cassio. Iago prays very heavily on Othello towards the middle of the play. He begins to tell him that his wife Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio. Iago plans this perfectly. Iago tells Othello to keep close watch on his wife Desdemona. At the same time he told Cassio to be very good to Desdemona. Iago tells Cassio that the only way to be back on Othello’s good side was to get close to his love, and that is Desdemona. So while Othello’s suspicious are up, Cassio is being especially nice to Desdemona. Iago chose a very good time to attack Othello’s emotions. At a time when Cassio has wronged Othello, he tells Cassio to get close to Othello’s wife, the love of his life. For a lot of Othello’s rule, Iago has been like Othello’s advise giver. He has been like a best friend to Othello. Iago was not only Othello’s advise giver but to many persons of power. This puts him in a great position already to do his evil bidding. Othello plays right along with Iago’s plan. Othello believes everything that Iago says. In a way, he falls into Iago’s plan a little to well. For Iago, everything happens at exactly the right time. Othello listens to what Iago says because Iago has gained much trust from Othello. He has no reason not to believe what Iago was saying. He played a part in his own downfall because he falls for every lie that Iago throws at him. He needed to have a stronger mind for things like that. Othello needed to think harder about what was being said to him by Iago. At the time that Iago was telling him these lies, it all seemed to make sense.

Free Tempest Essays: The Cycle of Ignorance Tempest essays

The Cycle of Ignorance in The Tempest Ignorance has been said to be bliss. To equate appearance with reality is a facet of ignorance, and leads to a part of the bliss. Many of Shakespeare’s characters find the bliss of ignorance and revel in it, and some end up coming to terms with their gullibility. Some few are unwilling to abandon their ignorance even when they can see real truth. All are experiencing different stages of the human cycle. Coming into the world, we are equipped with nothing more than recognition of appearance. We must learn to the distinguish what is real from what is seen. Those who have the opportunity to learn this difference will often deny the truth to live in bliss a moment longer, those who are no longer ignorant can occasionally re-enter the cycle in a moment of absolute trust and wonder, and finally there are those who have spilled off one end of the cycle or the other, and are trapped in a particular stage for their life. In all cases, real truth is irrelevant to the human goal of happiness. The speaker of sonnet 93 is fighting his own intelligence to stay ignorant. In order to avoid living a cycle of clear reason, he uses the fogging image of the ideal. He tells himself he cannot see any trace of falseness in his lover because she is so beautiful: ‘Whatever thy thoughts or thy heart’s workings be,/ Thy looks should nothing but sweetness tell’. Essentially he has doubled back on his own mind: convinced himself he has not seen the change he has seen. He is willing to sacrifice the truth he sees to prolong his happiness. Miranda in The Tempest is shown slowly bridging the gap between her untouched childlike ignorance and the clarity she will not be able to deny once a part of the court. Nearer the beginning of the book, Miranda seems to almost proudly proclaim her innocence: ( first and last quote from exam sheet for Tempest, minus Prospero’s line ). Finally in the ending of the book, we see Miranda is coming around slowly: ‘Miranda: Sweet lord, you play me false. Ferdinand: No, my dearest love, I would not for the world. Miranda: Yes, for a score of kingdoms you should wrangle, And I would call it fair play.’ Miranda can abandon her total ignorance because doing so does not destroy her happiness. In slowly discovering the deception that characterizes the world around her, Miranda seems to proudly proclaim her love as her new source of happiness and safety from the tragic portion of truth. Because Miranda’s happiness is safe in her love, she can move a little closer to the truth. Ferdinand is attempting to rediscover his ignorance through wonder and trust. He has been in court up until the boarding of the ship that crashed to start the play and could not have been ignorant in such surrounds. As his happiness is jeopardized by the apparent death of his father, Ferdinand attempts to rediscover bliss in ignorance. When he first sees Miranda, his ideal portrayal of her is an attempt to find his ability to wonder:’Most sure, the goddess/ on which these airs attend! Vouchsafe my prayer/ May know if you remain upon this island, how I may bear me here. My prime request,/ Which I do last pronounce, is ( O you wonder! )/ If you be maid or no?’. Ferdinand even attempts to rediscover the wonder of the idyllic state, and his words compare the island to the Garden of Eden: ( third quote on exam sheet ). Then notice his reversion to a less ignorant state once his happiness is secure. When Miranda accuses him ( gently ) of cheating, Ferdinand gives her a proclamation of ignorance: that any person would not lie with the world at stake. He has switched places to some degree with Miranda, who is discovering her ignorance while he is re-inventing his own. Then, the moment Ferdinand finds that his father is alive, he finds he can return to awareness of ignorance and immediately admits that Miranda is not a goddess, in contrast to his earlier wonderment: ‘Sir, she is mortal;…’, and begins to talk about courtship and marriage immediately after this. Ferdinand’s position in the cycle is determined by happiness and happiness alone. Finally, Prospero has come off the cycle and landed permanently in cynicism. He has been exposed for a lifetime to that which, of all things, can contain the most wonder: magic, and has found it lacking: Act IV, scene 1, lines 146-158. Having seen all that is wonderful, and being as intelligent as he is, Prospero cannot re-enter the cycle, even if he consciously attempts to do so. Happiness is still involved here: Prospero cannot live with himself as a wondering fool, and so finds what comfort he can in cynicism. Happiness is the determining factor in each of these character’s positions in the ignorance/awareness cycle. We seek wonder when we are too close to the truth, seek truth when wonder is empty or exhausted. The only way to tie oneself to the truth is to wind one’s happiness around the truth until they are inseparable, while exhausting the capacity for wonder.

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