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In Shakespeare's Othello, how does Othello show deception/self-deception and why do you...

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horseshoe | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 6, 2009 at 2:59 PM via web

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In Shakespeare's Othello, how does Othello show deception/self-deception and why do you think he does this?

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cetaylorplfd | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 16, 2010 at 5:48 AM (Answer #1)

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Othello shows moments of self-deception when he begins to doubt the faithfulness and loyalty of Desdemona.  When Iago tells Othello that Desdemona is having an affair with Michael Cassio, Othello of course does not immediately believe him.  After some prodding by Iago, Othello tells him that he must bring him proof of the affair.  But while this is happening, Othello is beginning to consider whether it might be possible that Desdemona is being unfaithful to him.  He reviews his own character traits and starts to think that he is lucky that Desdemona even considered him as a romantic interest in the first place.  He feels that he is less than other men because of his ethnic background and his upbringing.  Because he has such negative thoughts about himself, Othello decieves himself and his self-deception lays a foundation for doubt upon which Iago's schemes manifest.  Othello does this because he is insecure about himself, and he therefore lacks confidence in terms of his relationship.

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