The Theme of Betrayal and Loyalty Through the Eyes of Desdemona, Othello, and Iago
The play The Tragedy of Othello the Moor of Venice, written by William Shakespeare in the 1600’s, has many underlying and reoccurring themes. The major themes are betrayal and loyalty. During the entire play, every character is either betrayed or proved loyal. The Tragedy of Othello the Moor of Venice can be seen through the characters of Iago, Othello, and Desdemona. Othello and Desdemona have both been betrayed in their attempt to be loyal to another character. Throughout the play, Iago manipulates the other characters into betraying one another so that he can get his ultimate betrayal on Othello. Shakespeare uses Iago as the main portrayer of betrayal throughout the entire play. He betrays all the other characters, but his main focus is on Othello. Despite that, he ends up betraying all the people closest to him. Iago’s betrayal starts off from the first scene page of the play right until the end. The audience learns Iago’s motive through his monologue: “Thus do I ever make my fool my pursel hate the moor, and it is thought abroad that ‘twixt my sheets’ has done my office. I know not if’t be true, but I, for mere suspicion in that kind will do as if for surety.” Iago suspects that Othello has had an affair with his wife. However, Shakespeare makes Iago’s motif very unclear; therefore, it can be argued that this is Iago’s excuse and in actual fact he has no reason other than he simply hates Othello. Iago wants to destroy Othello because Othello promoted Casio as chief lieutenant instead of him, which is another reason why Iago wants to destroy him. Iago is one of Shakespeare’s most complex villains. Initially, we see Iago’s character as pure evil, yet later we see him as a completely amoral person. Iago does not push aside his conscience to commit his evil plans, he simply lacks a conscience to begin with. Through Iago, Shakespeare shows us a character that acts against his...
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