Appearance vs. reality
The theme of appearance vs. reality is apparent in the character of Iago as he is often described as being honest and having a trusting nature when in reality he is unfaithful and manipulative. Iago’s unfaithful character is established from the very first scene in Othello as he explains using a loyal tone, “I follow him to serve my turn upon him.” Iago’s two-faced character is further highlighted in the scene where he is having a conversation with Brabantio using hyperboles and symbolism to express his dishonesty, “Though I do hate him as I do hell’s pains, Yet, for necessity of present life, I must show out a flag and sign of love which is indeed but sign.”
Shakespeare uses Iago as a character to highlight that an individual may appear to be honest while in reality they are treacherous. Iago takes advantage of each character’s personality traits to increase his own level of trust. A scene that reflects this is when he is having a conversation with Cassio to calm him down, “Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving.” Iago then manipulates Othello, contradicting his own previous description of reputation, implying that reputation is most valuable using figurative language, “But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that not enriches him but makes me poor indeed.” Shakespeare’s effective use of Dramatic irony can be seen when Iago is repeatedly referred to as ‘honest Iago’ and also refers to himself as ‘an honest man’ to further his own motive and exploit other characters’ trust. Eventually he tries to show that he is oblivious to Othello anger when in reality his manipulation is the cause of Othello’s frustration, “Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon when it hath blown his ranks into the air…and is he angry? Something of moment then. I will go meet him.” Therefore, we see that Iago tries to appeal to all the characters and thus become the character that...
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