Iago's Use Of Honesty In Othello

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In William Shakespeare’s All’s Well that Ends Well, Mariana states “no legacy is so rich as honesty” (All’s Well that Ends Well). This statement allows Shakespeare to make the claim that honesty serves as a necessity for a successful legacy. The idea of honesty plays a prominent role in other Shakespeare works, with the word honest appearing multiple times in many of them. However, the word honesty plays the largest role in Othello. The use of the word honest to describe both Iago and Desdemona allows Shakespeare to heighten the dramatic irony in Othello. The use of the word honesty enhances the contradiction between people’s opinions of Iago, and his true nature, therefore; it magnifies the dramatic irony. Othello often describes Iago…show more content…
In describing Iago, the word honest is used to highlight the contradiction between the idea of an honest man and his actions. Iago used claims of love and honesty as motivations for his actions yet his actions are motivated by other goals. Also, because all of the characters believe in Iago’s honesty, it alienates the audience in their knowledge of Iago’s true intentions and therefore magnifies the dramatic irony for the audience. The use of the word honest in addition to questioning words such as yet and maybe demonstrates how quickly Desdemona’s reputation changes with just a whisper of dishonesty. This highlights the dramatic irony because the audience knows of Desdemona’s faithfulness yet they are powerless in stopping Iago’s plan. Othello’s actions are motivated in the belief that Desdemona has been dishonest, however; Iago has blinded Othello with his dishonesty. Othello’s quest for honesty allows him to be manipulated by the fear of dishonesty and therefore he becomes oblivious to falsehood. Through Othello, Shakespeare raises the idea of honest reputation, and how quickly it can be ruined by dishonesty in the shape of
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