Perception and Deception in Othello

Discusses the themes of perception and deception in this play by William Shakespeare.

This paper provides an analysis of the theme of perception and deception through the conflict of appearance and reality in the play “Othello” by Shakespeare. The paper addresses the twisting of words, the changing of perceptions and the manipulation of characters mainly by the antagonist Iago. The paper asserts that it is an excellent study of how people can be deceived by the actions of others by seeing only what they want to see.
“On reading the play the one realizes the fact that though everyone has a need to trust a person believing in the truth of the other, sometimes what is being presented is not in good faith. To be able to sift through the falsehoods to realize the truth is not something that everyone is able to do. Deception can be very attractive since at times it meets the expectations or the values that the subconscious mind is promoting. Adopting to the presented falsehoods then becomes easy as we can see in the faith of Othello and the treachery of Iago. In such light we realize that though Iago was evil and the tragedy that befell Othello was created by the former, it was Othello himself who allowed himself to be misled and it is his naive and jealous personality that Iago took advantage of.
“Iago is characteristically cunning and his hatred and envy of Othello causes him to become bitter so that he devises a way to cause the downfall of the ‘great’ Othello. Othello never even suspects that Iago could be guilty of such treachery and therein lies his fault—for he is willing to take the word of a stranger over the word of a wife that he allegedly loves.”