Anthony Arcaro

Period 4/5



            Have you ever been deceived? Have you ever though someone was your friend when later on you found out he or she was using you? Deception happens a lot in Shakespeare’s Othello. Shakespeare’s tragic play, Othello, begins in Venice, Italy. Othello secretly marries a woman named Desdemona. A guy named Roderigo learns of Desdemona’s secret marriage and becomes horrified. Roderigo wants Desdemona as his own so he hires Iago to get Desdemona away from Othello. Iago is angry with Othello because he chose a mathematician, Cassio, as his first lieutenant and made he, Iago, the flag bearer. As Roderigo pays Iago large amounts of money, he slowly turns Othello against his wife, Desdemona. One of the biggest events in Othello is when Desdemona looses the handkerchief Othello gave to her as a gift. Desdemona says she lost it when Iago had manipulated his wife, Emilia to steal the handkerchief and give it to Cassio to make it look like Desdemona is cheating on Othello. Iago also manipulates Cassio who has a drinking problem by making him drunk getting him into a fight with Roderigo. Roderigo and Cassio both get hurt thanks to Iago and Cassio is demoted from first lieutenant. Othello eventually becomes so mad at his wife that when she goes to bed, he stifles her with a pillow, killing her. Soon after Emilia confesses to Othello everything Iago has done. Iago stabs Emilia killing her and Othello commits suicide with a hidden dagger out of grief. Trust and deception led to the ultimate downfall of almost all the characters in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Othello.

            In Othello, one of the biggest acts of deception would be all the times Iago deceives Othello. During the beginning of the play, Iago and Roderigo go to Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, and tell him that she has secretly married a moor, Othello. Brabantio and Roderigo run off to get Othello when Iago runs back to worn Othello.  Right after telling Brabantio of the secret marriage, Iago runs and warns Othello that people are after him. Othello thanks Iago for waking and warning him. Soon after Brabantio and Roderigo enter and Iago blames Roderigo for telling Brabantio of the secret marriage. Another time that Iago deceives Othello is when Iago has Emilia take the handkerchief that Othello got from his mother and gave to Desdemona as a gift and gives it to Cassio. Iago has Cassio receive the strawberry patterned handkerchief so that it looks like Desdemona’s cheating on Othello with Cassio.  Iago then tells Othello that he saw Cassio with Desdemona’s handkerchief. This makes Othello even angrier with Desdemona when she really wasn’t the one who did anything. It was Othello’s still trusted friend, Iago who did everything.

            Another act of trust and deception would be when Desdemona trusts Othello and Othello deceives her. Desdemona trusts Othello from the very start of the play. Desdemona marries Othello without telling her father which turns her father against her. At the end of the play, Othello tells Desdemona that it is time for her to die and even though she pleads for him to let her live another day, she believes he has a good reason for killing her even though she doesn’t know what it is. In the play, Iago says that Desdemona is cheating on Othello with Cassio. When Othello confronts Desdemona with that he thinks she has been cheating on him, she says that she would never betray him and that she is true to him. Othello deceives his wife by allowing Iago to mess with his emotions, turning him against his wife and not even considering anything she says. Othello never really believes his wife throughout the play and really only believes Iago. Desdemona believes that Othello is so trustworthy and great that we would only hurt her for a good reason.

            Another time of trust and deception is when Iago trusts his wife, Emilia and yet in the end, Emilia deceives Iago. Emilia is Desdemona’s maid who was able to steal the handkerchief when Desdemona left the room. Iago eventually explains his plan to split Othello and Desdemona to Emilia and trusts her to never say a word. Iago actually trusts his wife Emilia unlike Othello who doesn’t believe a word she says. At the very end of the play, however, Emilia deceives her husband Iago. When Emilia comes into Desdemona’s bedroom after Othello kills her, she explains that she took the handkerchief and gave it to Iago and that Iago was the one who was manipulating everybody. Iago was so angry that Emilia told everyone after he trusted her that he stabbed and killed her.

            Shakespeare’s Othello didn’t end very well for the characters that were affected by trust and deception. Deception is not just relevant in Shakespeare’s time.  Many people today trust others and think they are the best of friends and really one is just manipulating the other. People need to listen to what others say, not rely on emotion more than fact and to think before they act. Not everybody will be tricked into killing somebody else but some may and should not rely on others more than they rely on themselves.


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