AP English Literature, Period 1
1 October 2017
Othello Essay #1
In William Shakespeare’s tragic play Othello, Iago manipulates Othello’s poor judge of character, insecurity, and jealousy by deceiving the Moor into lies and doubts. Although Iago appears to be an honest and good man, he is very ambiguous as he brings the downfall of Othello.
Iago is skillfully manipulative as he utilizes Othello’s poor judge of character to ruin the Moor. By claiming his loyalty to always serve upon the Moor, Iago easily gains Othello’s trust building a dependable relationship. However, little does Othello know that Iago has purposely done this to take advantage of him. In the beginning of the play, Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, mentions that he had been deceived by his own daughter for eloping with Othello. Due to this, Brabantio warns Othello that his wife Desdemona will deceive him. This warning seems to play its role later in the play as Iago claims that “In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks They dare not show their husbands” (III,iii). Here, Iago evaluates Othello’s poor judgement upon his wife. Iago misleads Othello into thinking that Desdemona has been unfaithful as she had been fooling around with Othello’s fired lieutenant. Since Iago has already built reliance with Othello, Othello is fully convinced about Desdemona’s disloyalty. Thus Iago successfully persuades Othello that he had put his trust into the wrong hands of Desdemona; Othello has been ignorant with the way women act in Venice. Clearly, Iago is seen as a truthful man based on Othello’s perspective; however, Othello is too much of a fool as he has been tricked into Iago’s claims upon Desdemona. Hence revealing Othello’s poor judge of character.
Iago also takes advantage of Othello as he deceives him into pointing out his own insecurities. Despite Othello being a skilled general with well reputation, Iago points out his major flaws: Othello is not attractive nor is he young enough for his wife Desdemona. Most importantly, Iago emphasizes how Othello is not Venetian for he was born in Africa. When Iago misleads Othello into thinking that Desdemona had cheated on him, this causes Othello to doubt not just Desdemona, but himself as well. “Her name, that was as fresh As Dian’s visage, is now begrimed and black As mine own face” (III,iii). Othello points out his racial flaw of being an outsider; he has associated his African race with being dirty along with Desdemona’s actions. Iago, again, has successfully manipulated Othello’s feelings as he now feels even more self-conscious for being African. Othello truly perceives Iago as an “honest” person, so he undeniably puts his trust upon Iago believing in what he has to say about the situation. Therefore, Iago easily takes advantage of deceiving Othello into lies and doubts that Othello is silly enough to confess his own insecurities.
Iago manipulates Othello by misguiding him into his doubts, which leads Othello to show his weakness of jealousy. As Iago and Othello discuss about the affair between Othello’s wife and Othello’s ex-lieutenant, Iago deceives Othello claiming: “Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy. It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on” (III, iii). Deviously, Iago warns Othello to not let his jealousy consume him. Yet Iago has already made various accusations about Othello’s wife, Desdemona, that Othello starts to become skeptical. Othello is so reliant on Iago that he believes that he must take Iago’s claims to heart. Thus, Othello can not help but let his jealousy devour him. For that reason, Iago is able to manipulate Othello yet again; Othello is very vulnerable that he allows Iago to mislead him into his jealous side.
Manipulation and deception play significant roles in Othello as they are ultimately the reasons why the title character eventually falls apart. Iago is a master at manipulation and deception; he cleverly exploits Othello to the point where Othello loses himself. This reveals that Othello is a very weak character because he lets Iago easily take control over him. How a person may appear will not always be what others assume; the same goes for Othello’s inaccurate perception towards Iago.
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