Foundations of Othello

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Shakespeare’s play Othello is marked with so much irony that starts off from the beginning of the play with Iago betraying Othello, his commanding officer. It is so ironical that the person whom is trusted so much by Othello, Iago becomes the very person who is after his downfall. This is illustrated in the play when Iago tries to help Roderigo to take away the very lady that Othello loves so much. On the other hand Iago proves to be a very selfish being who takes from the same people that trusts him. He betrays both Rodrigo and Othello and creating lies to revenge against Othello and to take money from the rich Venetian, Rodrigo. (Sanders, 67)

Dramatically, irony is created when this character, Iago tell s one person one thing and then goes ahead to tell a different thing to the other party who thinks that he is on his side. It is also ironical that Iago who despises Othello saves his life by telling him of the people who are looking for him. Even after telling Desmona’s father that Othello and Desmona are having an affair, Iago goes ahead to notify Othello that Brabantio’s men are coming for him.

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Deceit marks the centre of focus in the play with a well trusted friend, Iago deceiving his commandant that Roderigo is the one responsible for making Desmona’s father angry. Things do not go according to plan when Desmona’s father presents his case against Othello. Ironically, even the other leaders are in support of the accused. The intended harm on Othello is therefore not achieved making him a tragic hero.

Acts of deceit are rampant in the play and are depicted for instance when in act 1, Iago decides to frame Cassio as a home wrecker. He devises a plan that will separate Othello and Cassio and to pay back for what he sees as an act of betrayal: after Othello appoints Cassio to a higher position than Iago. It can be noted that Iago is but a social climber who believes in favoritism in job appointment as opposed to his friend and general, Othello who is a meritocratic leader that gives jobs in order of merit.

Othello becomes a tragic hero when he is drowned by a storm that capsized his ship in the process of leading troupes to fight for their country. Many people praise Othello including Montano who thinks that Othello has died a hero. It is so ironical that the storm did not manage to kill the general, Othello who later comes back to everyone’s surprise.

Deception continues within the play with the very person that Othello relies on going against his back to demean his efforts by not recognizing him as a hero as opposed to the other many people who adores Othello. His tragic heroism is displayed when Herald tells every citizen to celebrate Othello’s victory over the Turkish. (Sanders, 72)

Iago is a negatively inclined character who deceives everyone he comes into contact with. He devises a plan to get Cassio drunk so that he could reveal something that could be used against him. The manner in which the antagonist, Iago plans his evil deeds leaves the audience questioning the kind of friendship and loyalty that this guy has. How he tricks Cassio into drinking, then tells Montana that Cassio has a drinking problem, only for Cassio to be fired explains just how pathetic this characters is.

Deception is further enhanced by Iago’s lies to Othello that indeed his wife, Desmona is being unfaithful. Iago’s wife helps in propagating lies to help her husband get his revenge.

Irony is also brought out when Othello, a man who has been in love with Desmona, begins to doubt her loyalty and faithfulness because of what he is told by Iago. He believes everything that Iago says without question after being told that Cassio is having an affair with Desmona and that Cassio had been seen wiping his brows with the handkerchief that Othello first gave his wife as a gift.

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Othello betrays the very lieutenant that he has loved so much for a long time by listening to Iago’s words. He even orders the protagonist to kill this man. Cassio therefore becomes a victim of circumstances emanating from deceitful character trait of Iago. From Iago’s acts, Desmona is sent away by Othello, her husband. The relationship that was once strong is destroyed because of deceit and betrayal.

In the later acts of this play, Cassio becomes the tragic hero by being crowned the new governor of Cyprus while Othello looses tragically and is left to go back home. Irony in this case is portrayed by the fact that what was initially expected to happen to Cassio does not happen Instead he stands to gain above the people who plotted to finish him. (Preminger, 864)

It is so ironical that Emilia helped her husband destroy the relationship that existed between Othello and Desmona without realizing that she was doing so. She talks of an evil spirit that haunts Othello without realizing that this evil spirit is her husband Iago. Despite all the humiliation that she has undergone through, Desdemona still loves Othello so much that she obeys his orders when he tells her to wait for him in the bad. (Preminger, 865)

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The end turns out to be ironical to Othello when he finds out that all along, it was all lies. He realizes that his wife truly loved him and that she did not have anything with Cassio.


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