How A White Lie Can Lead To Self-Destruction Essay

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How A White Lie Can Lead To Self-Destruction


It would be difficult to find a passage more emblematic of Richard's III's character than the soliloquy concluding 1.2. In the presence of the corpse of her father-in-law, Henry VI (whom Richard himself has slain, as well as her husband), Richard propositions Lady Anne. It is a testament to his cunning that he is able to win her over; he has convinced her that he killed Henry VI and Edward for her love, and that he is truly penitent. It is via this deception that Lady Anne is able to overlook Richard's transgressions, as well as her own suspicions over his honesty. After she leaves, Richard speaks his true feelings, reminding us of exactly who he is.
In this speech, Richard sets up
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Beauty fights with ugliness, valiance with trickery--until he laments shortly before his destruction, "My conscience hath a thousand several tongues" (5.5.147). It is perhaps ironic that this duality is can be traced back to his own lies: he deceives Lady Anne, who in turn, by forgiving Richard, inspires him to look at himself differently.
Thematic oppositions are also contained in the passage from Othello. Here the contrasts occur between black and white, sovereignty and subordination. Desdemona is white, and associated with "tender, fair and happy"--while black Othello is "sooty", "to fear, not to delight". Brabanzio cannot believe that her desire alone would be enough to overlook Othello's bad traits. That Brabanzio sets up this dichotomy in the first place speaks about his own prejudices. Othello is dark and foreign, which, to him, is to be feared. Brabanzio's fear is transformed to anger (in this scene he is intent on having Othello arrested, without having heard the moor's side of the story). Desdemona, however, does not overlook Othello's bad traits because she finds none to overlook. She doesn't have the same fears or associations as her father; she doesn't see Othello's "black"ness. If anyone has been deceitful it is Desdemona (who married behind her father's back), not Othello.
Brabanzio repeatedly invokes reason to prove that Desdemona couldn't possibly have fallen in love

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