Expect the Unexpected

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Prof. Loft
Research Paper
11/22/11
“Betrayal”

Anyone who betrays is, almost for certain, looked upon as an enemy. Ulterior motives of people that are secretly ones enemy can, in many cases hurt and often times, kill unsuspected friends that would never imagine disloyalty from within their circle. History has been plagued with figures that betray the people who trusted them the most. There are many texts that support this. Some of the most important are Shakespeare’s Othello and Julius Caesar as well as The Gospel According to Saint Matthew.

Othello trust the person that betrays him. Shakespeare’s Othello is a dramatic play in which the topic of betrayal and backstabbing is all but absent. Iago, the plays protagonist, devises a plot to destroy Othello, the plays antagonist. Iago is an evil character; he lies and carries out evil deeds for nothing more than the fun of it. He understands that Othello, a moor and husband to the daughter of a Venetian senator, deeply trust him. He also knows that Othello would never expect him to mastermind a devilish plot against him. “A man he is of honesty and trust,” says Othello, referring to Iago. This quote provides solid evidence that Othello trust Iago, the man that eventually causes Othello to meet an untimely demise.

“…I hate the Moor: my 
cause is hearted; thine hath no less reason. Let us be 
conjunctive in our revenge against him: if thou canst cuckold 
him, thou dost thyself a pleasure, me a sport. There are many 
events in the womb of time which will be delivered. Traverse; go; 
provide thy money. We will have more of this to-morrow. Adieu” (Othello Act 1 scene 3).

The roots of Iago’s jealousy and hatred toward Othello are buried under Othello’s high-ranking military status, as well as his marriage to Desdamona. Iago cannot cope with the fact that a Black man is of a higher status then he, let alone married to a woman as beautiful as Desdemona, though racism is not the only thing that fuels his bad intentions. Iago is extremely manipulative and conniving; almost amusingly all of the other characters deem him to be honest. His wits and opportunistic ways allows him to gerrymander the results that he wants. Ultimately he betrays most of the characters and lives to see Othello die.

Brutus partakes in the assassination of his friend, Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar, a non-fiction tragedy based on the Roman dictator in which it is named after. Like many other plays written by Shakespeare, this play follows a theme of betrayal. Brutus, just as Iago in Othello, is the most complex character of the play. He provides insight to the audience with his long drawn out soliloquies. Unlike Iago, Brutus is a dignified military leader, a powerful public figure, a husband and a loving friend. I say that he is a loving friend because after he participates in the assassination of Caesar he is torn with man conflicts, man verses himself and man verses society, questioning his actions, trying to understand if they are justifiable.

“Be patient till the last. Romans, countrymen, and lovers! Hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Caesar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:
--Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his ambition. Who is here so base that would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I...
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