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The theme of appearance versus reality in "Othello".

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William Shakespeare focuses a lot of his play, Othello, on the theme of appearance versus reality. Othello, along with other characters in the play, depend on only their eyes and with that they jump to major conclusions. There are many instances in the book where there is hidden confusion, meaning the character believes on only what his or her eyes tell him, hence, Looks can be very deceiving. One of the first instances where the theme appearance versus reality appears, is when Othello sees Cassio walking away very quickly after conversing with Desdemona, Othello's wife. The basis around which he is suspicious comes from Iago, a very jealous man. Iago has presented to Othello, in a sneaky way, that Desdemona and Cassio are having an affair. Iago whispers to Othello, "...I cannot think it, that he would steal away so guilty like." (lll,iii,42) Othello then replies, "...I do believe 'twas he." ...read more.


She was here even now. She haunts me in Every place. I was the other day talking on the Sea-bank with certain Venetians, and thither comes, The bauble. (By this hand, she falls) thus about my Neck! (llll,i,150) In reality, Iago places Cassio in a position to talk about how great Bianca is so great. Othello sees this from afar and says in shock, "Crying, 'O dear Cassio,' as it were, his gesture imports it." (lll,i,155) Othello now believes everything and has evidence of his eyes, which for him is all the evidence he needs. Now, since Othello trusts Iago, he believes everything Iago says to him and trusts his opinions, even though they are in reality, lies. Iago supports everything Othello has been lead to believe. This marks the begging of the period of Othello's craziness. One of the last instances where the theme appearance versus reality appears is when Lodovico, the Duke's messenger, comes into the book. ...read more.


(llll,i,297) Iago then states, behind Othello's back, how much Othello has changed. He does because he is so carried away with his plan to destroy Cassio, he starts blaming Othello. It seems to Lodovico, that Othello has changed a lot since coming to Cyprus because hitting your wife is an imaginable crime. But what Lodovico doesn't know is Othello thinks, because of what Iago has brainwashed into his head. Lodovico is one character who relies on only his eyes, and seeing this once incident rules out to be that Othello is a danger to the people around him. This event marks the last appearance versus reality situation. After this, the truth starts to come out. Appearance versus reality is a major theme in this book. Not only are looks deceiving, but looks alone, only cause trouble, trouble that is sometimes unfixable. People today, just like those in the Shakespearean period, jump to conclusions just by seeing. It is important to get all the facts before something tragic happens just like in Othello. Seeing isn't always believing. ...read more.

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