Othello, By William Shakespeare

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A noticeable theme throughout Othello is that looks are not always what they appear to be. We see this right from the start and all the way to the end. The characters take what they hear and interpret and mold it so that what they see automatically fits into the mental mold they have already created, therefore confirming their suspicions. Iago makes use of a deadly weapon, his words, to mislead characters into misinterpreting what they see. The characters in Othello are unable to recognize the hidden meaning of words often missing the deeper meaning and accepting them at face value. This is evident in several passages, such as Cassio’s fight with Montano and when Iago and Cassio speak about Bianca. Othello believes everything to be true or false, black or white, and real or fake. According to Iago, “The Moor is of free and open nature that thinks men honest that but seem to be so; and will as tenderly be led by th’ nose.” (Othello 2.1.391-393) Just the very nature of Othello’s character makes him vulnerable to Iago’s poison. The combination of interpreting words at their surface meaning and believing what they hear leads to copious amounts of jealous.
In the first act of the play Iago says, “I am not what I am.” (Othello 1.1.64) Right from the first scene we learn not to trust appearances, but because the characters lack the ability to interpret the deeper meaning of words, this statement is glossed over by Roderigo and the foreshadowing provided by it is lost. In the Bible

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