Don John’s exploitation of Claudio’s insecurities is similar to the way in which Iago has deceived Othello. Iago is fully aware of Othello’s growing sense of isolation due to his race and age and so he plants ideas into his head, leading to Othello being almost blinded, in a metaphorical sense. Iago’s main weapon is Cassio who, he points out, served almost as a messenger during Othello’s courtship of Desdemona as stated when he says in Act Three Scene Three, “Did Michael Cassio, / When you wooed my lady, know of your love?
” This is very much like Don Pedro’s involvement in Claudio’s bid to woo Hero only this time, Cassio answers to Othello and not the reverse. Indeed what makes Iago’s deception even more effective is his use of language to subtly plant ideas into Othello’s mind. For example, when Iago says “But for a satisfaction of my thought; /No further harm. ” This is highly ironic because he is insinuating that he doesn’t want to go any further in voicing of his so-called suspicion yet by even suggesting such a thing, he has deepened Othello’s suspicions further.
Whilst he hasn’t blatantly accused Cassio and Desdemona of infidelity, much unlike Don John’s blunt proclamations, he has already done enough damage to allow Othello’s mind to race. Indeed Iago continues to be disingenuous thus fuelling Othello’s suspicions, and we start to see the extent to which Othello is being deceived when he says, “And for I know thou’rt full of love and honesty. ” Furthermore, lines in this scene are often split between Iago and Othello.
These lines mostly begin with Iago and are finished by Othello and this represents the fact that at this stage, Iago only needs to insinuate to Othello that there is some infidelity occurring, who will then complete the line by jumping to conclusion or by interrogating Iago further. Iago continues his act of honesty by even urging Othello to avoid being jealous saying, “O beware, my lord, of jealousy/It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock/The meat it feeds on. ” Even though Iago hasn’t explicitly stated that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair, he is only serving to encourage Othello’s transformation into this green-eyed monster.
Othello’s main downfall is the fact that, he often deceives himself and has allowed himself to be almost entirely consumed by Iago’s manipulations. Othello urges Iago to “Give me the ocular proof” and develops an obsession with this as he seeks to confirm his beliefs about Desdemona’s infidelity. Therefore, when Iago lies that he has seen Cassio wipe his brow with the handkerchief that Othello had given to Desdemona, he is further convinced that she is having an affair.
This handkerchief plays a key role in Othello’s downfall and Desdemona’s death as this was the first gift that he gave to her and is a symbol of his love for her. However, a only a short time before it was figuratively dangled by Iago before Othello, Desdemona had applied the handkerchief to Othello’s head due to his headache and only dropped it when he left. Emilia then picked it up and handed it to Iago, who now has vital evidence to present. Othello was in the presence of Desdemona when she dropped it and so he should be aware of his.
However, because he is so convinced that she is cheating on him, he believes Iago when he says that Cassio has it. Indeed he now believes the handkerchief to be proof of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness and tells her later on in Act Three, Scene Three that, “I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me/Lend me thy handkerchief. ” Having misplaced the handkerchief, Desdemona is unable to produce the handkerchief that Othello gave her and so this confirms his suspicions. This type of self-deception contrasts with the one seen in Much Ado About Nothing as it does not lead to the downfall of the characters.
Beatrice and Benedick are examples of this self-deception in the sense that they both love each other, but hide behind this fact through a war of wits. Indeed Beatrice claims to be against the idea of getting married as she says, “What should I do with him- dress him in my apparel and make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.
” However, behind this hyperbole is perhaps a vulnerability that we can assume is linked to the fact that it has been hinted that Benedick at one point led her on. However, Benedick hides behind inflated rhetoric, as can be seen in Act One Scene One when he says, “The savage bull may, but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull’s horns and set them in my forehead, and let me be vilely painted, and in such great letters as they write ‘Here is good horse to hire’ let them signify under my sign ‘Here you may see Benedick, the married man.
‘” His referral to the “sensible Benedick” is his way of saying that he is too rational to marry. The image of the bull brings up the idea of a man, no matter how strong and dominant, will be unintelligent for falling for a woman who, Benedick believes, will end up making a fool of him and cheat on him. However, when Don Pedro and Claudio lie that Beatrice has declared her love for Benedick, knowing full well that he can hear, he is overjoyed but still says that, “I will be horribly in love with her.
” He still has to gain the upper hand against Beatrice by being more in love with her than she is with him. Likewise I Act Three Scene One, Hero and her waiting women deceive Beatrice into believing that Benedick has spoken about his love for her by pretending to be having a private conversation, aware of the fact that Beatrice is listening. The irony of this scene is that in the previous scene, having heard of Beatrice’s love for him Benedick gives in to his infatuation but Beatrice does not see this as they spend their time trying to outdo each other in their wittiness and intelligence.
Nevertheless, Beatrice reveals her vulnerable side and starts to give in to the ideas of love and marriage when she says, “And Benedick, love on, I will require thee/Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand. ” Claudio’s public shaming of Hero, in Act Four Scene One, shows the extent to which Don John has been able to deceive both him and Don Pedro. He claims to have seen Hero with a “vile” man, not knowing that that was actually Margaret dressed as Hero, who had actually slept with Borachio, Don John’s accomplice.
Claudio doesn’t give Hero the chance to defend herself and is so blinded by his rage that he says, “She knows the heat of a luxurious bed/Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty. ” He has taken an insignificant detail and blown it out of proportion and his language is somewhat explicit. This is very similar to Othello’s loss of self-control in Othello. The friar has to engage in deception himself by telling Hero to hide away and for Leonato to convince everyone that Hero has died, after having himself said, “Hence from here, let her die.
” This deception actually helps in two ways: it allows the anger directed at Hero to dissipate and leads to Benedick and Beatrice declaring their love for each other openly. However one must not forget that in this scene we have seen how important honour is in this play and Claudio has tarnished Hero’s name by saying that her honour, or in other words her virginity has been taken away. This is identical to the way in which Othello believes that Desdemona has herself lost her honour by sleeping with Cassio whilst being married to Othello.
This shows that Don John and Iago have been able to use society’s ideologies to their advantage when deceiving Claudio and Othello respectively. However, in the end we reach two very different conclusions. By Act Four Scene Two, Othello has become so consumed by deceit and jealousy that when Emilia tells him that Desdemona has never cheated on him, he point black refuses to believe it, saying “Yes, you have seen Cassio and she together. ” He has pursued her to gain further evidence against Desdemona but what he has heard has not fitted his assumptions.
This shows that with Iago’s manipulation, he has already made up his mind about Desdemona. This is a fatal flaw as he is so convinced that Iago is honest and so wouldn’t lie to him that when Emilia contradicts these believes, he refuses to listen. Indeed if we look at Othello’s language when Desdemona enters the scene, we see him using her words against her. She says that heaven knows she is honest yet he uses this against her, “Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell. ” His language becomes more erratic and has deteriorated significantly when compared to that of the eloquent soldier of whom we were introduced in Act One Scene Three.
Othello has convinced himself that Desdemona is unfaithful and decides that she and Cassio must die. Indeed, in Act Five Scene Two, when he is in Desdemona’s chamber, tries to convince himself that he is doing the right thing in killing Desdemona. His opening has him saying, “It is the cause, it is the cause my soul/Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars/It is the cause. ” This repetition of “it is the cause” shows that Othello is deluding himself that killing Desdemona is a just cause and reflects on the fact that Othello has gradually become more insane.
In his soliloquy he makes allusions to justice and heaven and yet it is clear that he still loves her and is in many ways conflicted in his feelings, especially when he says “O balmy breath that dost almost persuade/Justice to break her sword! ” The sword symbolises the ability for Justice to punish sinners and what Othello is saying is that Desdemona beauty and sweetness is almost enough to make him not kill her. However, he still gives in to his delusions and even sees himself as her saviour. This is clear when he says to Desdemona, “I will not kill thy unprepard spirit/No – heaven forfend – I would not kill thy soul! ”
He has believes buy allowing her to beg for forgiveness, he is being her saviour. Nevertheless Desdemona meets a grisly end when she is suffocated by Othello and so he has committed a crime that Iago has been trying to get him to commit. When Othello finally learns of Iago’s deception and Desdemona’s innocence, he is overwhelmed with grief. He eventually kills himself and Lodovico confronts Iago, telling him, “Look on the tragic loading of this bed. / This is thy work. The object poisons sight.
/ Let it be hid” This sums up the result of Iago’s duplicity in the sense that he deceived Othello into believing that Desdemona was unfaithful when Othello never actually had any real “ocular proof”. The play has in a sense relied heavily on Othello being, metaphorically speaking, blinded by Iago. This bloody conclusion is in contrast to the more positive conclusion of Much Ado About Nothing in which having been summoned to what is in effect a second wedding party, a repentant Claudio is summoned under the pretence that he is to marry another of Leonato’s nieces.
He had previously acknowledged the fact that he had been deceived in an epithet to Hero’s supposed tomb so when it is revealed that Hero is indeed alive, he begs for forgiveness. One must wonder why Hero willingly marries Claudio when he has allowed himself to be deceived to a point where he has no qualms in disgracing her in public. Furthermore, Benedick and Beatrice still insist on deceiving themselves when they both say loudly declare that they do not love each other.
However, Claudio, Hero and indeed the audience know that this isn’t the truth and they finally profess their love for each other for others to hear. In the end, unlike Iago, Don Pedro has failed as he is now more alienated from the others than he was at the beginning of the play and the truth has been exposed. The reason why these plays reach such a different conclusion stems from the language used by the villains, as well as the insecurities of those who are duped.
Iago has used his skills of double entendre in order to deceive Othello, as well as exploit his insecurities. Furthermore, Othello is isolated from everyone else in the play and this proves to be dangerous as he has nobody to rely on for clarification of what is the truth and what is a lie. This is unlike Claudio who had friends who were convinced of Hero’s innocence and are therefore able to set about proving it. What is clear however, that the motives of Iago and Don John consist purely of an innate envy of those in a position that is seemingly higher than their own.