Explore How Shakespeare Examines the Themes If Jealousy and Deception in Othello the Play and Othello the Character.

1793 Words Mar 11th, 2009 8 Pages
Explore how Shakespeare examines the themes if jealousy and deception in Othello the play and Othello the character. Sana Thomas

Jealousy and Deception are both continuous themes running through out Shakespeare’s Othello. Indeed, it is jealousy that provides the fuel for the plot and deception that leads to the classic downfall of the 'hero' as is common in Shakespeare tragedies. However, it is a theme of hate that the play opens. It is a hate of inveterate anger. It is a hate that is bound up with envy hanging on a strained thread waiting to snap. In The Tragedy of Othello, William Shakespeare tells the tale of the “noble Moor” whose honour and innocence bring about his downfall. Shakespeare writes of the power of jealousy,
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The play opens in the middle of an argument. The deception begins when he blatantly lies to Brabantio, telling him that Othello has bewitched his daughter into marrying him: “an old black ram Is tupping your white ewe (1.1.89)”. The language Iago uses to address Brabantio here is vulgar and discourteous. The fact that he takes no heed that Brabantio is of a higher status than him is intended to provoke and aggravate him, so that he will impart his rage when confronting Othello. This confirms the audience’s suspicion of Iago being cold, conniving and calculated.
As part of the audience, I believe that the handkerchief introduced in Act 3 symbolizes deceit for which it is used. It is this handkerchief Othello had given Desdemona as a wedding present and a token of the couple's eternal fidelity that acts as a catalyst to the unpleasant and poignant changes in the play: the "napkin is too little (3.3.287)". Othello demands "ocular proof (3.3.360)" from Iago that his wife Desdemona was committing adultery with Cassio: “Villain, be sure to prove my love a whore (3.3.360)", Does Othello’s insistence on proof suggest that this jealous husband is a nobler man?
Iago must only deceive Othello by telling him that the handkerchief he so lovingly gave his wife is not in his wife's possession but in Cassio’s: “a hankerchief/did I see Cassio wipe his beard with (3.3.440).”The fact that she lost it inadvertently and was unable to produce it when Othello demanded her to “fetch
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