Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Deception or stupidity?
Deception seems to be a popular theme in Shakespeare. Even those who haven't studied Shakespeare most likely know how Romeo and Juliet ends: with Romeo seeing Juliet unconscious and believing she is dead, leading him to drink poison himself. Perhaps it is because the works we have studied in this class have all dealt with it, but deception is so common in Shakespeare's work that I begin to question whether or not its even believable. Some deceptions are done well in my opinion, but I just cannot believe it in Othello. Ever since the beginning I kept asking myself: Why doesn't Othello just confront Desdemona about it? In Act IV, scene ii, Othello approaches Emilia about it, who tells him flat out, "I saw no harm...I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest...Remove your thought; it doth abuse your bosom" (4.2, 4-14). He responds by saying it is "strange" that she has never seen anything nor has she been given any reason to suspect Desdemona of doing anything wrong. Even though the "trustworthy" Iago was the one who was feeding him all of these lies, one would think that if someone else was saying otherwise, it might plant a few seeds of doubt in his mind. But instead of asking Desdemona, he just accuses her of being unfaithful. Even though she refuses it over and over again, he still doesn't believe her. In my opinion, it is a little far fetched that Othello believes Iago even after all of this and doesn't ever think that Iago could have been wrong. If Othello loves Desdemona to the point where he is so torn up about the idea of her being unfaithful, why doesn't he believe her? He tells her to swear her honesty, and she does, and he retorts saying that she's lying. Unless he saw it for himself I don't think he would be so adamant about it and so unable to be swayed from this thought of her infidelity. I am not sure what is going to happen in Act V, but the foreshadowing seems to hint that Desdemona is going to be killed. If Othello is the one who kills her, I think that is the stupidest thing he could do.