Deception Illustrated by Characters in Othello

Topics: Deception, Lie, Othello Pages: 3 (1135 words) Published: April 23, 2007
In the act of misleading a person using various tactics one is considered a deceiver. Deception can be caused through many different factors. Dissimulation, or lies and half-truths, is the verbal way to deceive. A person's actions can also be deceptive, and one can use a symbol or tangible object to deceive another. The minor characters are the victims of deceit, while the major characters are both victims and deceivers themselves. The antagonist in the play is the biggest deceiver of all. The theme of deception is portrayed in the Shakespearean play Othello through both major and minor characters either being deceived by others or using their actions, words, and other inanimate objects as their deceptive tools.

The minor characters in the play Othello illustrate the theme of deception by being a victim of someone else's deceptive behaviour. The character of Brabantio shows some of the earliest signs of deception in the play. It begins outside his house when Roderigo and Iago yell to Brabantio that Desdemona has gotten married. "How didst thou know ‘twas she? O she deceives me/ Past thought!" (Shakespeare, I, i, 165-166) When Desdemona, his daughter, marries Othello, Brabantio feels as if he has been deceived. Desdemona's marriage is the symbol of her deception and her secretiveness about this action is what allows Brabantio to feel betrayed by her and causes him to go as far as kicking her out of his home. Similarly, the minor character Roderigo is being deceived by Iago throughout the play: Thus do I ever make my fool my purse;

For I mine own gain's knowledge should profane
If I would time expend with such a snipe
But for my sport and profit. (Shakespeare, I, iii, 374 – 377)

Iago states that he is making a fool of Roderigo by taking his money for fun and for his own gain, not to actually help him. His lies are what deceive Roderigo. Roderigo believes that Iago will help him win over Desdemona, but in actuality all he is doing is taking...
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