Othello Deception

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Shakespeare's play, 'Othello' and in Mike Nichols film, 'Primary Colours, present the Art of Deception through the characters of Iago and Jack Stanton. The era in which both texts are presented gives off a different reason why both characters use deception to gain what they are looking for, thus context plays an important role in how deception is presented, and affects both the meaning and values of each text. Whilst both texts portray deception as the driving force in their plots, the motives, methods and consequences of deception in each text are different. The motives for deception are the reasons for deceiving and are influenced by the context and values of texts for example, Iago’s motive for revenge on the Moor and Jack Stanton’s motive for prime minister. Motives are vital to the Art of Deception, because it provides a purpose for deception and acts as a compelling force. William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Othello, is a play centred on the theme of deception. Throughout the play, Shakespeare uses this theme to develop the plot and to bring about the downfall of the title character. This is achieved principally through the dialogue of the character Iago in a number of key scenes, and its effect on both minor and major characters. The theme develops throughout the play in an ever-expanding web of lies that affects every character.

The opening scene of the play immediately submerges the audience in deception via Iago’s speech. Iago is in conversation with the character Roderigo, who we later learn is being deceived by Iago. Iago is vowing that he follows his lord, Othello, not out of service, rather in the search for revenge. He actually states: “I follow him to serve my turn upon him.” This statement, in Act I, Scene 1 no less, clearly sets the stage for a play of deception and backstabbing. Iago proceeds to refute any allegiance to Othello for the next 25 lines! This speech is concluded with the line “I am not what I am.” By having this in the very first...
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