Othello – Perception vs Reality

Othello– Perception vs Truth

“Othello” William Shakespeare Understanding vs Reality “Othello, the Moor of Venice”, informs the awful story of a noble hero that is reversed by his own deadly defect. Othello has a blinding trust in those closest to him, and he leads with his heart, not his mind. This deadly defect is made use of by an allegedly devoted pal and Othello’s trusting nature and failure to separate what remains in his heart and what is in his mind significantly leads to tragedy. With a running style of perception versus reality, Othello’s refusal to accept the distinction in between them foreshadows the terrible ending.

The play begins with Othello’s Ensign, Iago, hatching a plot to destroy the life of Othello and he has hired Roderigo to assist him perform his devious plan. Iago has everyone deceived into thinking he is of worthy loyalty to Othello further supporting the perception vs. reality style. 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 made. Iago’s first act of deceit is an attempt to deny the credibility of Othello and Desdemona, who just recently eloped and to plant the seeds of doubt by having Roderigo inform Senator Brabantio that his child Desdemona has actually eloped with Othello. The Duke thinks that Othello has bewitched Desdemona with magic. Desdemona and Othello deny the claims, and she freely states her love for Othello. The perception vs. truth theme is completely explored here.

The perception, prompted by Iago, is that the marital relationship is a sham considering that the courtship was brief but the truth is that Othello and Desdemona really enjoy each other and feel they belong together. The Duke sums up the theme very well with “When solutions are past, the sorrows are ended/By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended”(202-203); if you can’t change something, don’t sob about it. When you dwell on something bad that’s already taken place, you’re only going to get more of the exact same.

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