Theme Of Confidence In Othello

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Confidence and Othello’s Destruction Society often perceives confidence as a positive trait. However, in Othello, Shakespeare examines the theme of confidence in Desdemona and Othello’s characters and how their varying levels of confidence cause their downfalls. Through the results of the tragedy, Othello demonstrates that having an excess of confidence, whether based on truths or lies, can be dangerous. Desdemona is confident that she can persuade Othello on Cassio’s behalf, and her persistence is one aspect that leads to her death. After Cassio gets into a fight and Othello strips him of his title, Iago suggests that he goes to Desdemona to win back Othello’s favor. Cassio takes Iago’s suggestion, and when he comes to Desdemona to ask her…show more content…
Desdemona asks Emilia if women who cheat on their husbands actually exist. When Emilia replies that she would consider doing it if she got enough out of it, Desdemona says, “I do not think there is any such woman” (4.3.83). Despite the evidence right in front of Desdemona that people are willing to have affairs, she still holds her belief that no one would ever do such a thing. Desdemona tells Iago and Emilia that, “Unkindness may do much, / and his unkindness may defeat my live, / but never taint my love” (4.2.159-61). She even admits that she may end up dead, but that it won’t affect her love and trust in Othello. Even up until she dies, Desdemona believes in her husband, referring to him as “my kind lord” and refusing to blame him for her death. While her death can’t be blamed directly on her confidence, if Desdemona had been more doubtful towards Othello, she may have been able to escape before he killed…show more content…
A quick search of an online text of Othello shows that Othello refers to Iago as honest fourteen times throughout the play, and each time, he has no hesitations in assigning this trait to Iago. For whatever reasons, which are probably depicted before the span of the play, Othello is entirely confident of Iago’s honesty. This belief is what allows Iago to turn his mind so easily. Iago even admits in a soliloquy that “The Moor is of a free and open nature / That thinks men honest that but seem to be so; / And will as tenderly be led by the nose / As asses are” (1.3.391-4). The fact that Othello truly believes Iago is honest, coupled with the fact that he has no reason to be suspicious of a plot against him, especially from Iago, is what lets Iago’s plan become so successful. While it is unclear why Othello automatically believes Iago’s insinuations—perhaps because they have known each other longer than Othello has known Desdemona, or because he doesn’t believe Iago would gain anything from lying, but Desdemona would gain a lot from lying about an affair—Othello does almost immediately conclude, solely from Iago’s reports, that Desdemona is cheating on him. This conclusion would be almost impossible without Othello’s confidence in Iago’s
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