Manipulation in Othello and Dr. Faustus

Topics: Othello, Iago, Michael Cassio Pages: 10 (3690 words) Published: September 3, 2000
The art of deception
The art of deception many times changes the current conditions or plays a significant role in the end result of literary works. In Othello and The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus shows how deception changes the identity of individuals and the outcome of certain events. There is a juxtaposition between the characters of Iago and Faustus, whom use their human autonomy to manipulate the sequence of events in each work. By deceiving themselves or the characters around them there becomes an absolute play on words and actions, wherein the identity and outcome is strengthened or lost.

Iago wishes to be Othello and this becomes apparent in his discussion regarding Cassio promotion, his social status, and his own identity. Iago seems to deceive himself, by wishing he were Othello and by doing so he almost believes he is Othello. Shakespeare states: "Were I the Moor I would not be Iago," begins Iago abolishing his own identify to fulfill his desires to be another person (line 58). Stephen Greenblatt discusses the possible meanings of Iago role-playing briefly in Act 1 and states:

Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago, because The "I" always loves itself
and the creature I know as Iago hates the Moor he serves or, alternatively,
because of the Moor I would be other than I am now, free of tormenting
appetite and revulsion that characterize the servant's relation to his master
and that constitutes my identify as Iago. (235-36)
Iago appears to manipulate his own thoughts regarding Othello and by doing so it directs him as to what identity he holds. By imaging himself as Othello he is able to see the opposing outcomes of himself in regards to Othello, therefore he construct his own identity by furthering his manipulation.

Iago deception is furthered in his conversation with Roderigo and states: "But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve/For daws to peck at, I am not what I am," showing he's not what he appears to be ( line 65-66). Iago's language and words make you believe he is noble and a friend, but the underlining cause of his actions are because his emotions and identity are being effected. Iago submits to his own beliefs he has lost himself, but he chooses to make other believe otherwise in his statements. Greenblatt refers to Iago's purpose of being of "self-interest" and his self-interests were disguised by wearing a mask and deceiving the people around him (236).

Iago at times act as Othello's friend, but his reasoning are to bring him down socially and emotionally. Othello was befriended by Iago in Act 1, when Iago is leading Brabantio to Othello whom has took his daughter as his wife. Iago states: "I must show out a flag and sign of love/Which is indeed but sign. That you will surely find him," where Iago is planning to set Othello up so that Brabantio can accuse him of wrongdoing. Again Iago is deceitful, by saying his love was but a sign and ultimately leading Brabantio to confront Othello on their marriage. Iago's love here is not real and he acts as if he cares for Othello only to make a criminal out of him.

In Scene 2 Brabantio is deceived by Iago for the mere fact that Othello is a colored individual, thus strengthening Iago perception of himself. As he belittles Othello and talks of his unacceptable marriage to Desdemona, he understand by doing so he is increasing his chances of being respected by others. The matter is brought up in court and Iago's plan was working as he had thought, but again Iago is shunned socially because of Othello's reputation as a good fighter and a war has broken out. The matter seems to be forgotten in the time of crisis, therefore Iago has to come up with another plan to gain his identity back.

Within Scene 3, Desdemona is pleading with her father that she and Othello are misrepresented by others and that they do love each other. She thinks of herself as the victim, but her father disagrees because of Iago's deception of Othello's character....
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