Othello - Appearance vs. Reality
Uploaded by firealive (20) on Oct 30, 2004
William Shakespeare focuses a lot of his play, Othello, on the theme of appearance versus reality. Othello, along with other characters in the play, depend on only their eyes and with that they jump to major conclusions. There are many instances in the book where there is hidden confusion, meaning the character believes on only what his or her eyes tell him, hence, Looks can be very deceiving.
One of the first instances where the theme appearance versus reality appears, is when Othello sees Cassio walking away very quickly after conversing with Desdemona, Othello’s wife. The basis around which he is suspicious comes from Iago, a very jealous man. Iago has presented to Othello, in a sneaky way, that Desdemona and Cassio are having an affair. Iago whispers to Othello, “…I cannot think it, that he would steal away so guilty like.” (lll,iii,42) Othello then replies, “…I do believe ‘twas he.” (lll,iii,44) But, when in reality, Cassio and Desdemona are talking about how to get Cassio’s job back. Desdemona says to Cassio,
I know’t. I thank you. You do love my lord;
You have known him long; and be you well assured
He shall in strangeness stand no farther off
Than in politic distance. (lll,iii,11)
Othello believes only what his eyes tell him. Now, Othello questions how Cassio and Desdemona are talking, but does not have a good enough motive to get angry at Desdemona nor does he ask her about Cassio. But, this instance is only the beginning of the lies that he sees from afar.
A second instance in the book where appearance versus reality presents itself is when Iago places Othello where he can see but cannot hear. Iago then starts a conversation with Cassio about Bianca. Since this is later in the book, Iago has been able to give Othello a purpose for being mad at Desdemona. From afar, it looks like Cassio is talking in a sexual way about Desdemona.
She was here...
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