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Many of the characters in Othello appear to find it unbearable to reject their inner-most desires and fears, which motivates their betrayal. Desdemona who had once been referred to as "A maiden never bold

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Introduction

Many of the characters in Othello appear to find it unbearable to reject their inner-most desires and fears, which motivates their betrayal. Desdemona who had once been referred to as "A maiden never bold," defied her father's misinterpretation as she betrays her father's wishes and resists conformity : "You are lord of all my duty,/ I am hitherto your daughter. But here's my husband;..." Desdemona surprises the audience as she breaks the weak and submissive stereotype associated with women at the time, she addresses the court with authority: "Most gracious Duke" and in her speech speaks with conviction: "My heart's subdued/Even to the very quality of my Lord." Brabantio calls Othello a "thief!" and further on in the play Iago metaphorically refers to Desdemona as a "land carrack," emphasising that women were merely possessions. Desdemona shunned the "curled darlings" that her father had attempted to suit her with. Marrying Othello, requesting that she accompany him to war in Cyprus was a risk she was prepared to take because of her profound love. ...read more.

Middle

Iago is incredibly receptive of other people's weaknesses and is able to cunningly manipulate them until he is satisfied with the outcome. Prior to this he had referred to Othello as a "black ram" and a "Barbary horse". Animal imagery implies that because Othello is culturally isolated he will be easily fooled like a donkey as he is not acquainted with Venetian customs. Iago explains that there are differences in social attitudes. "In venice they do not let God see the pranks they have shown their husbands." Othello is unable to query this as he is from a different background and already feels compromised. In Venice Othello appears to be a strong-minded character, this radically diminishes as Iago prey's on his racial insecurities as an outsider. Othello's passion and love for Desdemona is barefaced and unashamed: "My life upon her faith". Othello's responses regarding his beloved Desdemona are sometimes as much prophetic as they are romantically poetic. ...read more.

Conclusion

The dramatic irony Shakespeare exploits in Iago, appearing to each character as "an honest fellow" on numerous occasions highlights the gullibility of each character in Othello, they all are guilty of trusting without knowledge. Iago manages to successfully ambush Othello into a position where he is able to believe something as flimsy as a dream with regards to his wife's infidelity, whom he supposedly trusts with his life: "But this denoted...though it be but a dream" after he expressed to Iago that he wanted "ocular proof". Ultimately this reveals that Othello has more trust in Iago, a man who had once not matched Cassio's stature. Thus putting his trust in Iago when he should listen to his wife is a fundamental weakness that overshadows many of the characters in Othello. The characters act out of love, passion, despair and jealousy which are themes that dominate Othello it is through exploration of these elements that breeds betrayal. Therfore it is unjust to say that "Othello is simply about betrayal" as it involves too many other components. colourful ...read more.

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