Deception in Othello

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Deception In Othello
One may readily perceive the theme of Shakespeare's "Othello" as deception. Deception appears many times in Othello, but in almost every incident the degree of deception is different. Deception is to "deceive another, illusion, or fraud" (Webster's New World Pocket Dictionary 69), which is seen as a wrongful act. However, deception may be used to protect someone from getting hurt therefore being used with good intentions.

The very first act of deception is done by the character Desdemona. Desdemona hides her relationship with Othello from her father, knowing he will disapprove due to Othello's race. Brabantio says, "O, she deceives me/Past thought!" (1.1.163-164). Desdemona's reasoning for deceiving her father was to protect him. "Desdemona's devotion to her husband is almost superhuman, as is her courage in marrying him over the objections of her father, the Venetian senator Brabantio." (Andrews 132). She knew her father would eventually find out the truth, but she felt that by hiding her relationship with Othello, she would be delaying the inevitable pain which her father was going to feel. Since Desdemona loved her father, her deception was done with only good hearted intentions.

Desdemona again deceives another, but this time it is her husband, Othello. Othello asks Desdemona for a handkerchief which he gave to her, for he had suspicions she was cheating on him. When asked about the whereabouts of the handkerchief, Desdemona deceives Othello by Miller 2

saying, "I have it not about me…It is not lost" (3.4.52-83). "Iago convinces him [Othello] that the innocently dropped handkerchief was actually given to Cassio (who in turn gives the handkerchief to Bianca) by Desdemona." (Dominic 339). She tells him a flat out lie, but again, with good intentions. Desdemona loves Othello and did not want him to get angry. She thought she had just misplaced the handkerchief, and that she would soon find it, but if she told Othello...
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