What Role Does Deception Play in Duchess of Malfi and Othello

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“I am not what I am” (Othello, 1.1.64) What role does deception play in both tragedies studied? Discuss this question focusing Othello as your principal text, and using The Duchess of Malfi and a third text of your choice (as agreed with your teacher) to develop further your points and argument.
The significance of the role of deception in Othello and in The Duchess of Malfi is nonpareil to any other theme within the plays. There are different degrees of deception present in both of the plays, the most prominent example within Othello being how Iago manages to deceive Othello and convince him of his innocent wife’s infidelity whilst possessing no evidence. Similarly in The Duchess of Malfi, when the Duchess’ attempt to deceive her brothers and conceal her marriage leads to her death. However self-deception is also a recurrent theme in both of the plays, in Othello, it can be argued that Othello’s self- deception proves just as destructive as Iago’s, as by deceiving himself of his true nature and labelling himself as “one not easily jealous,” he continually supresses his feelings of inner turmoil until he breaks under the influence of Iago. F R Leavis agreed with this stating, “The mind that undoes [Othello] is not Iago’s but his own.” The role of deception would be nowhere near as essential to the play without the influence of Iago; described by AC Bradley as the “artist of evil” his ruthless manipulation of the other characters in the play ensures not only the destruction of Othello, but his own. Self- deception plays a crucial role within Othello and The Duchess of Malfi; it allows the audience to see further into the characters personality and gain a deeper understanding of them as a character. Othello himself is the most palpable example of self- deception within the plays as from when the audience is first introduced to him in Act One Scene Two, he believes
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