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Othello Deception

By MehIImBored Feb 02, 2011 689 Words
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 scene, Shakespeare acknowledges to the audience that deception will be a key theme in the play and will recur constantly throughout the play. The movie “primary colours” at first shows that jack Stanton is a genius with his hand motions and how he reacts to handshakes but does not reveal that it is centred on the theme of deception. Is it not until after the movie has a close shot of jack Stanton’s crocodile tears to show that he is deceiving the whole adult literacy class that we understand what type of character he really is. We understand that he manipulates everyone into having his way by his hand motions and speech towards everyone including his wife. This is also showed in the scene when jack Stanton is in the toilet denying the fact that the father of willies grandchild is jack Stanton. At first, he does not deny the fact that he is the father and soon after, with his motion on Henry’s shoulder he says he is not the father, thus showing conspiracy and manipulation. Jack Stanton also shows how much he lies when he mention’s his uncle in a war story claiming he did not go to school and read. Henry soon finds out that Jack has lied when he confronts uncle Charlie and Charlie says “im whatever he says i am” showing that jack Stanton is not only done this before but has done it countless times to the audience. Because of this, the Audience is convince jack is a two face and does whatever he can to gain votes in order to become president.

In Conclusion, Their motive, method and consequences for both Iago and jack Stanton were both different but the ways both of them manipulated the minor and major characters had a huge effect within the scripts. Iago’s deception from the very beginning to Roderigo with also his downfall and Jack’s success becoming the Prime minister through deception shows how great a web of lies can manipulate a person.

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