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William Shakespeare's Macbeth and Othello

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Eric Lee Class 3 Mrs. Evrigenis January 6, 2002 Macbeth and Othello William Shakespeare's Macbeth and Othello share themes that deal with the differentiation between appearances and truth. Main characters in both plays find themselves helplessly confused as their minds battle with their eyes to distinguish between what they see, and what is real. Iago and Lady Macbeth are two deceptive characters who appear to be noble and respectable, but in reality share similar traits of greed and evil. Main characters in both plays ignorantly misjudge Iago and Lady Macbeth for everything that they are not. Iago is dubbed as "honest Iago" (II, iii, 355) throughout the entire play. This is ironic because the audience of the play is more insightful. They know that Iago only disguises himself as honest, concealing his greed within. Throughout the play, Cassio, who is actually Iago's main enemy, sees Iago as honest and kind. Iago promises Cassio that he will persuade Desdemona on his behalf, and an ignorant, yet appreciative Cassio responds, "I never knew A Florentine more kin and honest" (III, i, 45). ...read more.


(I, iii, 355). He uses Rodrigo economically, telling him to "Go, make money" (I, iii, 407). Cassio, similar to Rodrigo is completely blind to Iago's ulterior motives. Cassio trusts Iago, and, throughout the entire play, believes that Iago is helping him. Iago initially gets Cassio inebriated so that he will engage in a "brawl" with Rodrigo. When Othello arrives, Iago blames the quarrel as Cassio's fault, saying, "Though Cassio did some little wrong to him, As men in rage strike those that wish them best" (II, iii, 256-58). Cassio is in effect denounced, losing his position as lieutenant. Throughout all of his schemes, he never loses his title as "honest Iago" (II, iii, 355). Similar to Othello, the illusions in Macbeth are a product of Macbeth's greed. Throughout the play, Macbeth must distinguish between appearances and the truth. Before murdering King Duncan, Macbeth sees a mysterious floating dagger. When he sees the dagger, he declares, (Lee, 3) "Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, fatal vision, sensible (able to be felt) to feeling as to sight, or art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation, proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?" ...read more.


Tragedy in Macbeth resulted in the deaths of money. The deaths throughout the play were motivated by the greed and confusion of Macbeth. In choosing the path of the dagger, Macbeth chose the path of insanity. Conclusively, Macbeth kills King Duncan and his good friend Banquo. Two violent murders bring Macbeth to an irrational and delusion state of insanity where his mind no longer functions on the basis of reasoning. He says to himself, realizing his insanity, "I have almost forgot the taste of fears." (V, v, 9). Lady Macbeth Eventually commits suicide. When Macbeth received the news, he realizes how meaningless his life has become. He reflects on his reign of carnage saying, "To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death..." (V, v,19-23). As seen in Othello and Macbeth, one's eyes can be easily deceived. It is easy for a person to misjudge and misconceive the things that appear to be real. To distinguish between appearances and reality, one must control their judgment and use not only their eyes but their mind to see the world as it is. Word Count: 746 Quotations: 215 ...read more.

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