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Appearance vs. Reality in Othello
Transcript of Appearance vs. Reality in Othello
Without Iago filling Othello's head with lies, his race makes him feel self-conscious about his appearance and he worries about his reputation thus setting him equal to all those who are white.
If his appearance and reputation wasn't enough to worry about, Iago fills his head with lies to make him believe his wife Desdemona has fallen in love with Cassio. To protect his reputation and out of anger and jealousy he kills Desdemona and later with guilt and sorrow, takes his own life.
Brabantio is the first victim of Iago.
When Iago and Roderigo inform him that Desdemona has married Othello, her appearance to Brabantio changes. He now sees her as wicked and does not consider her a lovely maiden anymore, when in reality the only thing that has changed is that she is married.
Desdemona acts how she truly is. However, Iago does not make her seem this way. She is truly innocent, loyal, and honest, but Iago's vengeful plan makes her appear as a cheater and a liar.
This ultimately leads to her being killed by Othello...all because of Iago's plan for revenge!
Do you remember?
Who was Lodovico and what was his role in the story? What do you think he had to do with appearance vs. reality?
Here's what we think.
What was Iago's original plan and how did this involve the theme of appearance vs. reality?
It was all Iago's fault!
Appearance vs. reality is a common theme now in many novels and movies, in which some characters are not what they seem to be. One of the most important themes in Othello is the theme of appearance vs. reality, which goes along with deception. William Shakespeare exceptionally shows the themes of appearance vs. reality and deception through the character of Iago who uses his manipulative skills to trick everyone in this play and ultimately guide them to their downfalls. We will be analyzing Iago and how he manipulates the other characters in Othello to lead them to their downfalls.
...What was that?
As Iago's wife, Emilia becomes a vital part of his plan. Emilia sets up the meeting with Cassio and Desdemona. This makes it appear as though they are having an affair, but in reality they are not. This is further intensified when Emilia finds the handkerchief and gives it to Iago.
In the end, this leads to Emilia's death.
Although Lodovico seems rather unchanged by Iago's plan, he is not. Remember when Othello starts to go mad over the supposed affair between Desdemona and Cassio and slaps Desdemona? Lodovico was there. Previously, he respects Othello as a great leader. After he slaps his wife, though, Lodovico tries to give him advice. This leads us to believe that Lodovico now think Othello appears weak (and frankly crazy), when in reality he is just very confused. Lodovico's opinion changes all because of Iago's grand plan.
As for Gratiano...
Gratiano is not mentioned a lot throughout the play, but believe it or not he too was fooled by Iago's appearance further on in the play. Gratiano was Brabantio's brother and Desdemona's uncle. He came to announce the death of his brother Brabantino to only find his niece, Desdemona, dead in bed.
Once the finger was pointed at Iago, Gratiano was shocked to believe Iago would ever draw a sword upon his own wife Emilia. He did not see Iago in such a evil and manipulative way.
Who was Montano and does he fit in with theme of appearance vs. reality?
This is what we think...
Montano was the Governor of Cyprus. He would help all those in need. Montano was a supporter of Cassio. When cassio got a little to drunk one night he got into a scuffle, Montano tried making peace between Cassio and Roderigo.
When all of Iago's dirty trick were done, Montano was shocked of Iago cruel intentions. He knew Iago as an honest man. Not so evil and sinister
Raise your hand if you've ever felt personally victimized by Iago.
In the play, Roderigo was easily manipulated by Iago into helping to further his plot against Othello by being promised Desdemona in the end if all went well. Under the apparent impression that Iago honestly wanted to help him, Roderigo gave Iago all of his money to Iago and listened to any instructions Iago gave him. This created the perfect pawn in Iago's game of vengeance to do his dirty work for him.
In the end, however, Roderigo only managed to be deceived and murdered by Iago. However, in the end of the play, a note was found on his person that described Iago's true malevolent nature.
Cassio was one of the many characters who believed Iago to be their friend. Although Iago acted as though he was Cassio's friend, this was only a ruse to use Cassio as part of his plan. To begin with, Iago got Cassio fired by orchestrating a drunken fight between Cassio and Roderigo. Iago also spread the lie that Cassio was having an affair with Desdemona to both Othello and Roderigo to motivate them to take action against him. At the end of the play, this lie leads Othello to ask Iago to kill Cassio and Roderigo helping in the assassination attempt, which ended up unsuccessful, on Cassio's life.
Although for the most part Cassio appears to be a decent gentleman, he does hold a dark secret. In reality, Cassio has a long lasting relationship with a prostitute, which he knows would be considered inappropriate.
Do you recall....
Who is Bianca and how does her role in the play relate to the theme Appearance vs. Reality?
The Mastermind Iago
Throughout the entirety of the play, Iago is the main antagonist who uses his good standings with others to manipulate them into doing what he wants. He is responsible for the manipulation of all of the other main characters and of most of the secondary characters in the play for the sole purpose of receiving revenge against Othello.