Essay On Honesty In Othello

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Honesty can be a way of life for many people. For some it can define all that they really are and for others it can define how they view all of their peers, friends, and family. But whichever way you cut it, honesty can affect you greatly and every solitary day. This idea was one of the most specific and open parts of the plot of William Shakespeare's Othello. In the play Shakespeare gives us brilliant insight as to what can happen as a result of believing and trusting in the honesty and words of others. Though they might seem sincere, he seems to say, everyone has their own agenda. The three characters: Iago, Desdemona, and Othello himself all seemed to view honesty and moral values in their own personal ways; some were deserving of trust, some not.

"O, that's an honest fellow" seems to sum up the trust bestowed upon Iago in this novel, until the bitter, biter end that is. Such great thing were said of his honesty in this play, things like: "You advise me well… goodnight honest Iago" and "I know thou'rt full of love and honesty". Irony had been one of Shakespeare's dramatic affects, and this play lacked in absolutely no way. Iago as a person was "evil", conniving, and "wicked"; lacking the basic morals that most people of our time, and Shakespeare's, have always prided themselves in having. He himself was very untrusting, going to such lengths as suspecting his wife Emilia as being unfaithful. But where did all this dishonesty and trickery lead him? To an end that leaves the audience asking, "why?" When Othello, after murdering his ever faithful wife Desdemona, demands Iago give his reasons Iago declares he will take his reasons with him to the grave, and though we might all feel we have an idea as to his motives only one person has ever really known. Shakespeare himself, and he as well took the secret to the grave. Possibly the only honest explanation we'll ever have derives from the most infamous of all of Iago's lines: "When devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest at first with heavenly shows". Though the line still leaves an observer empty, without content as to his motives, it suggests that he had motives that were justified in his own eyes. To Iago, his perceptions were all that mattered really, and honesty was a thing to be twisted to his own desires.

Othello had the reputation of a military man, an honest man, and a courageous leader. "Valiant Othello, We must straight employ you..." "Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor." Othello had been a soldier since he was seven years old, and had experience on the battlefield. He'd been chosen when the Venetians had gone to fight the Turkish fleet; and because of his reputation, it hadn't been hard for most to accept the relationship between him and Desdemona. But As Iago began putting ideas in Othello's head about Cassio and Desdemona's rendezvous' together, another side of Othello's personality started to surface. Because Iago had the reputation of being an honest man, Othello couldn't easily ignore his insinuations about Desdemona. Othello wondered if Desdemona really loved him, or if she was just using him to rebel against her father. With Iago constantly putting these ideas in his head, Othello's trust was eaten away until, in his own mind, the killing of Desdemona was justifiable and true. His intentions had always been good and "valiant" until the intervention of "honest Iago".

The fair and beautiful Desdemona: the lady in which many a male character of Othello would have given anything to make their's. This alone could give some men reason to be untrusting, but it wasn't Desdemona's beauty that turned Othello's rage, it was Iago's words that brought forth the Moor's anger. Desdemona herself had been faithful and kind throughout the story, and this is only another example that Shakespeare gives us to prove Iago's foulness and betrayal. She had loved Othello and had shown so on countless occasions. She had also tried to help Cassio, a dear friend and partner of Othello's before Iago set his devices upon him, and in doing so only roused the suspicions of an influenced Othello. To note Iago's quick wit upon manipulating conversation with both Othello and Cassio to give certain expressions hold was amazing. He had plans for every action that he'd taken and Desdemona, kind and lovely as she was, seemed only to be another pawn in his sick and heartless game.

Honesty is the best policy… for some. It seemed this way for almost every character of Othello, every character except Iago. For Iago the opposite seemed to be true, for him dishonesty had been the best policy. His deceit seems telltale evil and even by today's standards, of tame and dulled morals, it is something to behold; this honest Iago. Honesty, which some people try to live their lives by, Iago only used this for his own gain as well as the fall of those around him whom he disliked. He did all of this with spite. He kept to his immoral and sinister behavior without end though, all the way to the bitter and cold end.

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Iago and Honesty in Othello

Iago uses the word "honest" in act three of Othello in three primary ways. The first way he uses it is to mean honourable, about Cassio. He uses this meaning of the word to force Othello to doubt Cassio's honesty, and question his hounorablility. The second way is to mean faithful, both about Desdemona and Cassio. Iago uses it in the context that the two may be "truthful," again to make Othello doubt. The third way is Iago's most effective use, which is to use honest in the context to mean truthful, as in, he has told Othello the truth. However, Shakespeare has created tremendous dramatic irony, for we know that Iago is being anything except truthful. The three uses of the word honest are used…show more content…

Shakespeare has built up tremendous subtext for Iago and Othello around this simple word in this case. Iago manages to, without saying really anything, force Othello to believing that Cassio should in fact be doubted, for his honesty. The second usage of this meaning also carries significant dramatic irony with it. Iago uses it to refence to his own honour, telling Othello that although he does not like the job Othello has given him, to find out if Desdemona is cheating, he has been "Pricke'd to't by foolish honesty, and love." Iago means that he will continue to tell Othello the "truth." However, Shakespeare has created intense dramatic irony, for we see that Iago has been anything but telling Othello the complete truth, rather he is telling him only half.

The second use of the word is directed towards both Cassio and Desdemona, in separate instances.

The first time is directed to Cassio. Othello continues to question Iago about Cassio's honesty, to which Iago replies "I dare be sworn I think that he is honest." Iago knows that Cassio is honest, at least in the terms that Othello would care about. However, the specific wording that Shakespeare has chosen seems allows Othello to read into Iago's speech, that while Iago has no evidence to prove otherwise, he doubts Cassio's honesty. Iago has also changed the meaning of the word slightly, to mean that Cassio is faithful, that he is not sleeping with Desdemona. It is as if Iago is having a

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