Deception In Othello Analysis

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Register to read the introduction… Yet as the primary character, Othello is also vulnerable to Iago's ability to intensify inherent negative traits. Othello's words of love to Desdemona in early portions of the play, calling her his "fair warrior" (2.1.179) and "soul's joy" (182), appear to be genuine. However, Othello's original speech about her as he defends their courtship, and his reasons for wanting her to join him in Cyprus, reveal that he is sexually motivated from the play's beginning. Othello does speak of his love for Desdemona, but only as it is connected to raw sexual desire: "She'd come again, and with a greedy ear / Devour up my discourse" (1.3,148-49). Even as he professes not to value Desdemona's presence in Cyprus to satisfy his lust, his detailed sexual description reveals that this is his driving motivation. By overstating his denial of his driving lust-"I therefore beg it not / To please the palate of my appetite, / Nor to comply with heat-the young affects / In me defunct-and proper satisfaction" (1.3.256-259)-Othello exposes his tendency to be sexually possessive. Seemingly out of respect, he does refer to wanting to be "free and bounteous" (260) to Desdemona's mind (showing his appreciation for her mental attributes); yet in comparison to the length and intensity of his sexual statements, it seems a mere …show more content…
Iago sets the ball rolling by administering the lie that Desdemona has been false. Othello then promptly shows that what he desires is not his wife's faithfulness as much as to control and possess her sexually, when he laments "That we can call these delicate creatures ours / and not their appetites!" (3.3.268- 269). Act 3, Scene 3 is crucial in understanding Iago's ability to goad Othello into a more heightened state of sexual possessiveness. Othello is finally pushed to the point that he would rather kill his wife-"Down, Strumpet!" (5.2.79)-than lose control of her sexually. Iago's bestial sexual reference to Desdemona and Cassio as being "prime as goats, as hot as monkeys, / As salt wolves in pride" (3.3.400-401), and the alleged dream where Iago graphically describes Cassio as having "laid his leg o'er my thigh" (421), play upon Othello's sexual suspicions. Othello's interrogation of Desdemona and her hand as being sexually liberal-"Hot, hot, and moist" (3.4.39)-is a direct result of Iago's provocations in the previous act. Yet, in light of Othello's original speech about Desdemona in Venice, the audience sees that Iago has merely drawn Othello's sexual possessiveness closer to the surface. Othello

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