How does Shakespeare establish the themes of deception and conflict in Act One of Othello?

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How does Shakespeare establish the themes of deception and conflict in Act One of Othello?

        Shakespeare uses imaginative and intelligent ways to establish the themes of deception and conflict. His skills of embedding these certain themes in his plays create a vivid and enticing atmosphere for the reader and the audience to enjoy.

        ‘Tush,’ is the first word in Othello spoken by Rodrigo. This immediately introduces the idea of deception as it is a word which represents silence and secrets. The play immediately starts of with Iago showing his frustration and angry in not being named ‘officer,’ but given to ‘one Michael Cassio a Florentine,’ this starts to intense the theme of deception and conflict with Iago stating his angry of not being given his rightful role as ‘officer.’ The fact that Shakespeare has set his play in a militaristic society where conflict is norm makes the reader descent into a world where deception is common. Shakespeare has purposely chosen a society where blacks are loathed and placed the Moor in a high ranking position, thus creating an atmosphere for conflict to develop. Shakespeare shows Iago as a deceitful and cunning villain. Iago’s hatred for Othello is stated throughout Act 1, ‘He has done my office.’ None of these claims seems to adequately explain Iago’s deep hatred of Othello and Iago’s lack of motivation—or his inability or unwillingness to express his true motivation—makes his actions all the more terrifying.

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   The question of Iago’s motives is a challenging one.  Perhaps Othello’s appointing of ‘one Michael Cassio’ as his lieutenant spurs on his ‘hatred [of] the Moor.’ Equally, it could be argued that Iago’s doubts of Othello ‘do[ing]’ Iago’s ‘office’, in this case, Emilia, is enough a motive to lead onto the latter action of the play. Iago himself comments ‘I know not if’t be true, but I for mere suspicion in that kind will do as if for surety.’ Here, we are quick to learn of the destructive power of ‘thoughts’ and Iago’s tainting of them. Though he ...

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