Perception vs Reality
“Othello, the Moor of Venice”, tells the tragic story of a noble hero that is undone by his own fatal flaw. Othello has a blinding trust in those closest to him, and he leads with his heart, not his mind. This fatal flaw is exploited by a supposedly loyal friend and Othello's trusting nature and inability to separate what is in his heart and what is in his mind dramatically results in tragedy. With a running theme of perception versus reality, Othello's refusal to accept the difference between them foreshadows the tragic ending. The play begins with Othello's Ensign, Iago, hatching a plot to destroy the life of Othello and he has recruited Roderigo to help him carry out his devious plan. Iago has everyone fooled into thinking he is of noble loyalty to Othello further supporting the perception vs. reality theme. The reality is that without this belief, he would have been unable to dupe Othello, with these lines “Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago” and “I am not what I am”(59-60). He hates Othello for not being promoted to Lieutenant, a position he felt he earned. Iago's first act of deceit is an attempt to deny the validity of Othello and Desdemona, who recently eloped and to plant the seeds of doubt by having Roderigo tell Senator Brabantio that his daughter Desdemona has eloped with Othello. The Duke believes that Othello has bewitched Desdemona with magic. Desdemona and Othello deny the claims, and she openly declares her love for Othello. The perception versus reality theme is fully explored here. The perception, instigated by Iago, is that the marriage is a sham since the courtship was brief but the reality is that Othello and Desdemona truly love each other and feel they belong together. The Duke sums up the theme very well with “When remedies are past, the griefs are ended/By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended”(202-203); if you can't change something, don't cry about it. When...
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