Theme Of Betrayal In Othello

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The stinging wounds that betrayal can leave are a universal tragedy known to almost everyone. Betrayal by a supposed friend of loved one can destroy relationships and change lives. Unfortunately, betrayal of trust can be spurred from secretly held feelings of anger or loathing that are never revealed, and are instead used to fuel duplicitous acts. Famed playwright William Shakespeare was no stranger to showing acts of betrayal in his plays, creating some of the most quintessential villains whose desire to wreak havoc is expressed through betrayal. In Shakespeare’s Othello, each act of betrayal catalyzes the next and displays how jealousy and resentment can lead to treachery.

Iago’s initial betrayal of Othello propels the events of the play
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As Othello succumbs to jealousy, he begins to lash out at Desdemona.The lies that Iago has planted in his mind begin to fester, and Othello takes his insecurities out on his wife. While never questioning Iago’s loyalty, Othello instead exclaims that he wants Desdemona to “rot and perish and be damned” when Iago tells him that she is having an affair (IV.1.172). Although Othello appeared to be a loving husband when he initially married Desdemona, all of his positive feelings seemed to vanish the instant he suspected his wife’s actions are dishonest. Othello seemingly betrays his promise to be a trusting spouse to Desdemona, and instead believes only the lies that Iago spreads. In the end, Othello’s anger and jealousy grow so uncontrollable that he believes he must kill his wife, calling her a “perjured woman” and insisting that she is making him “call what [he] intends to do a murder, which [he] thought a sacrifice” (V.2.71). Although Othello seems somewhat conflicted about killing his wife, he persists; ultimately smothering Desdemona. This seems entirely uncharacteristic of Othello, who earlier acted completely devoted and in love with Desdemona. If his feelings towards his wife could turn sour so quickly, then perhaps Othello’s love her for was not as secure or genuine as he proclaimed. Othello’s betrayal of his wife’s trust was so extreme that it resulted in her death, and could have been avoided if Iago’s initial betrayal of Othello had not catalyzed the

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