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Much of the play � ‘Othello’, focuses on Iago’s betrayal of others, however, the major betrayal in the play is that of Othello’s betrayal to self.

Othello’s self-betrayal is much to do with his flaws within his qualities. By having these flaws he (Othello) gives in to temptation from Iago � whereby he sets him self up to be vulnerable/paranoid and loses control. Once this happens Othello is led into a journey of mad jealousy. As he trusts Iago, he betrays himself in being ignorant to the truth and by doing so also betrays Desdemona (by not trusting her and killing her). This in itself is a form of his own betrayal, for he loves Desdemona and yet kills her for unjustifiable reasons.

Othello has flaws within his own qualities, which lead him to self-betrayal. An example of this is his trusting characteristic, which fails him; as- trusting turns to gullible (and therefore rash, in the consequential decisions he makes). This is proven in Act ,

Scene - where ultimately Othello takes away Cassio’s position from him before knowing the true facts, (but after listening to Iago). In this scene Iago manipulates Cassio by getting him drunk in order to make a situation where Cassio seems ‘in the wrong’ and would lose his position as ‘Lieutenant’. Although the outcome of a drunken brawl between Cassio and Montano is due to Iago’s cunning plan, Othello falls for Iago’s ‘reluctant’ explanation of what happened. Line 0 � Iago “I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio, yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth” � Othello is gullible in believing this tactic Iago has used and very rash in his following decision…

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Line 8 - Othello “I know, Iago, Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter, Making it light to Cassio. Cassio, I love thee, But never more be officer of mine.

Though this scene focuses on Iago’s betrayel of others (i.e Cassio, Othello..) the major betrayal is Othello’s to himself through his flaw (i.e gullibility and rash decision-making) in his trusting quality which leads him to self-betrayal.

Othello gives in to Iago’s temptation; which is a betrayal of self, as he clearly sets himself up to be vulnerable/paranoid and inevitably lose control.

The great temptation scene i.e Act Scene, is a pivotal example of this.

The scene begins with Desdemona assuring Cassio she will help him get his position back. (This is after Iago has suggested Cassio seek help from Desdemona with spiteful plans to make Othello think something is going on between Cassio and his wife). Iago starts to plant seeds of doubt in Othello’s mind, as he draws attention to Cassio and Desdemona conversing. Iago tempts Othello by making remarks unfinished, leaving an impression that he is holding back on his true thoughts. Line 8, Iago � Cassio, my lord? No, sure I cannot think it that he would steal away so guilty-like, seeing you coming.

Othello foolishly gives in to the temptation. Line 107, Othello � By heaven, he echoes me, As if there were some monster in his thought, Too hideous to be shown.

Although much of this scene is focused on Iago’s betrayal to others (primarily Othello), The major betrayal is that of Othello’s, to himself when he gives in to Iago’s temptation.

When Othello gives in to Iago’s temptation, he sets himself up to be vulnerable/paranoid and inevitably lose control and once again he betrays himself as he trusts Iago and is ignorant to the truth. Signs of this begin to show later in Act Scene .

After the audience becomes aware that Iago has possession of a meaningful handkerchief Othello gave to Desdemona (and Iago reveals what he intends to do with it). At this point, we see Othello’s trust in Iago and the beginning of Othello going mad (i.e losing control.)

Line 4, Othello � Farewell the tranquil mind! Farewell content!

Othello divulges he is convinced of Desdemona’s infidelity and demands Iago provide him with evidence � (thus working perfectly with Iago’s plan). Line 60, Othello � Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore; Be sure of it. Give me the ocular proof…

The audience is even more aware of Othello losing control and just how afflicted he is in line 85, Othello � I think my wife be honest, and think she is not; I think that thou art just, and think thou art not.

It is clear Iago greatly betrays others, however Othello’s self-betrayal is the major focus.

Othello sets himself up to be vulnerable/paranoid and inevitably lose control. He betrays himself by trusting Iago and being ignorant to the truth.

Othello’s ultimate betrayal to himself is when he kills Desdemona for unjustifiable reasons, for, his reasons are a result of all his other self-betrayals. He betrays himself by not being aware to this (finding out too late!) and by killing her when he still loves her greatly. Act 5 Scene � (after Othello kisses Desdemona) line 16, Othello � O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade Justice to break her sword! One more, One more!

Othello nearly abandons his intent to kill her, but resolves that she must die. Line 18, Othello � Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee And love thee after. One more, and this the last.

Desdemona wakes and Othello orders her to confess her sins before he kills her. Desdemona, fearful, replies her sin is in loving him. Line , Othello � Think on thy sins

Line 40, Desdemona � They are loves I bear to you.

Though Desdemona persists she has been faithful and asks not to die Othello suffocates her, only to later realise what a fool he’s been. Before Othello stabs himself he asks the story be told truthfully and refers to Desdemona in Line 4, Othello � threw a pearl away Richer than all his tribe.

Othello has betrayed his greatest love and most of all himself! His ultimate self-betrayal is the result of all his other betrayals to himself.

The written play Othello

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