Othello Betrayal Analysis

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In the play Othello by William Shakespeare, the concept of betrayal is salient. The work centers around the betrayal of the titular Othello, the widely respected Venetian army general, by his ensign, Iago. Iago uses his jealousy over being passed up for a promotion to be Othello’s lieutenant to justify ruining Othello’s life, all while appearing to be his closest friend. This betrayal acts as impetus for the play, ultimately leading to the downfall of Othello and everyone he holds dearest to him. Though there are many characters in the play, it is only necessary to hone in on five: Othello, Iago, Desdemona, Cassio, and Emilia. As mentioned before, Othello is the black army general, and he starts off the play being the undisputable protagonist.…show more content…
Desdemona and Othello decided not to share the news of their marriage, likely because they were afraid of their interracial marriage becoming a cause for concern or because nobody knew of their relationship in the first place. Once Iago finds out, he immediately tells another character, Roderigo, to shout the news up to Desdemona’s father. Once her father Brabantio learns of this, he gets fearful for Desdemona. Because of Iago spilling the secret, Othello got insulted for his race, his age, and his manners by Brabantio in court. He got embarrassed and had to publicly defend himself in the Duke’s meeting room, something that an “honest” (as described many times by himself and others) character like Iago shouldn’t have done. He betrayed the privacy of Othello and Desdemona, and set the play up by showing that he didn’t care for what they wanted. Right off the bat, the reader saw that Iago was comfortable making others uncomfortable, a quality that many betrayers possess. Iago’s betrayal allowed Othello’s insecurities to be used against him by other characters throughout the play, which contributed heavily to his suspicions against Desdemona—and, eventually, their deaths. All in all, Iago’s betrayal of spreading Othello and Desdemona’s secret marriage led to prejudiced statements against Othello—like Desdemona’s father calling him a “black ram”—which eventually led to anguish heavy enough to betray his wife, killing Desdemona and then
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