In Depth With Shakespeare: The Honest Truth

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In most of the plays that were read this term, there is a theme that seems to be prevalent. The theme is honesty will set you free, whereas lies and mistruths will be your downfall. Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and Twelfth Night all hold and express that theme. However, if Shakespeare really thought that lies and mistruths were a downfall for his characters, why are there so many dishonest characters in Shakespeare’s plays? Could Shakespeare’s dishonest characters represent Shakespeare? Was Shakespeare conveying guilt for his dishonesty? Did Shakespeare think that he could influence people by writing consequences for lies? Shakespeare did answer all these questions in his plays. We see the answers in Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and Twelfth Night. In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet deceives her parents by not telling them that she is married and continues to lie to her parents by faking her death. Unfortunately, Juliet did not have to die. If Juliet was honest to her parents, then she and Romeo would have had a blissful and wonderful marriage. However, when Juliet schemes to marry Romeo, and withholds this truth from her parents, then schemes her own death to get out of an arranged marriage everything just comes to an end. Juliet does not see any other way to get out of the mess she made by lying and deceiving her parents, other than faking her death. In the end, if Juliet was honest with her family then she and Romeo would not have died. Instead, the town would be celebrating the prosperous marriage of two families. According to Isaac Asimov, “The mutual grief ends the feud; as it might, so easily, have ended days earlier in mutual joy” (Asimov, 498). The moral of this story, be honest and be true because only despair can end with lies. In the play Othello, we are introduced to Iago, a very deceptive, scheming, psychopathic person. His lies and his
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