Othello by William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare conveys a recurring motif throughout the tragedy ‘Othello’ of the power that Jealousy and Revenge have on influencing the characters decisions, and the danger of Appearance versus Reality. This motif is evident as Iago, the psychotic antagonist, performs a soliloquy during Act 1 Scene 1, where he explores these key concerns and main ideas of deception, betrayal and arrogance, which are typical of the play as a whole. Shakespeare uses thematic concerns and language techniques to show how Iago’s ambiguous personality and manipulative nature emphasise the main messages portrayed.
Firstly, the power of Jealousy is used in the play to convey the motivation behind Iago’s vengeful plot and to foreshadow a betrayal later on: “We cannot all be masters, nor all masters cannot be truly followed”. Iago’s jealousy of Othello is shown by the envy of him being a master, In context, Othello was a Moor, the racial prejudice in the Elizabethan era was that a Moor was considered inferior to Venetian men; this would’ve made Iago insecure as he failed to be promoted by someone of a lower social class than him, thus leading to his cynical plan; “cannot be truly followed” this shows Iago’s pessimistic nature as he foreshadows his betrayal as one of deception, rather than directly abandoning Othello, telling the audience that Iago will follow him, but not faithfully, and with plan to deceive. These ideas of jealousy and betrayal are typical of Othello’s deception, as he suspects his wife unfaithful, convinced by trickery that the handkerchief he gave to her, that symbolises their love and marriage is with Cassio. Desdemona is convinced he is jealous: “Heaven keep that monster from Othello’s mind!” She is personifying jealousy as a ‘monster’, conveying the ability it has to overcome a character’s mind. The handkerchief is vital to the downfall of characters in the play,
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