The Destruction of Othello

Every year in the city where I live they have a Shakespeare Festival. The festival is free and offers the opportunity to watch one of Shakespeare’s plays on an outdoor stage in a beautiful local park. The evening was nice and balmy when we went to see Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello. In this play Othello is Moor, a general in the service of Venice. He has recently secretly eloped with Desdemona, the daughter of Brabantio who is a wealthy Venetian Senator. Barbantio is not happy about the marriage, but is unable to do anything about it because Venice is on the brink of war with Turkey. They both wish to control the island of Cyprus. Othello is sent off to Cyprus, but the war is diverted when the Turkish fleet is destroyed at sea. At this time Othello is appointed to be the Governor of Cyprus and to assume command there. Othello chooses a rich young officer to be his Lieutenant by the name of Michael Cassio. Iago, who is an ensign in Othello’s company, is outraged that he was not chosen for this position. He is so angry and envious, that he sets out to destroy Othello. Othello

Iago works his plan in a variety of ways. First he enlists the help of a rich young Florentine by the name of Roderigo. Roderigo is in love with Desdemona, and Iago promises that if he helps him, Iago will help Roderigo gain Desdemona’s love. Next he works to discredit Cassio. He urges Cassio to get drunk one evening and then incites him to fight Roderigo. Because of these actions, Cassio loses his post and Iago is now named Lieutenant.

Merely gaining the position however, is not enough revenge for Iago. Iago now moves to poison Othello’s opinion of his wife. He implies through innuendo that Desdemona has been unfaithful to Othello. Since Iago’s wife Emilia works as an assistant to Desdemona, Iago is able to obtain a special handkerchief which was given as a gift to Desdemona by Othello. He then plant this handkerchief among Cassio’s belongings. Cassio upon finding the beautiful handkerchief gives it as a gift to Bianca, a courtesan with whom he is having an affair. Othello sees the exchange and is thus convinced his wife has had an affair with Cassio. Othello then asks Iago to kill Cassio. Iago again appeals to Roderigo to help him kill Cassio. During the fight Cassio is wounded by Roderigo, and Roderigo is killed by Iago to silence him. Meanwhile Othello, enraged and unconsolable with the thought of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness, kills his wife. Emilia upon discovering her murdered mistress, weeps as she tells Othello that is was she who gave the handkerchief to Iago. When Iago comes in to inform Othello of the battle, Emilia outs him as a liar. Iago promptly stabs her. She dies embracing her slain mistress. Othello realizing he has fallen for the machinations of a liar and has killed his love as well as lost his honor, then kills himself.

There are many moral lessons one could take away from this play. Yet the most powerful one of all for me, was the devastation that just one liar can do. When I asked my husband what he thought of the play, he said he felt that Shakespeare had made his characters too “dumb” meaning they so easily fell for everything Iago said. I disagreed. I have seen firsthand the machinations of a liar at work. People are SO easily manipulated. We automatically assume people are trustworthy if they have all the outer “credentials” of being so. We almost never assume someone is setting out to deceive us, and that by very defnition puts us behind the curve.

Light Breaking Into the DarknessThe woman I knew who was a pathological liar, made simple requests of people that on the surface did not seem malicious. They quite willingly did her bidding, unaware they were helping her with her schemes. She also used the technique of innuendo. She might not come out and directly slander someone, but she would play on people’s emotions to leave them with a false impression of people she hated. For example she would “look sad” when someone’s name was mentioned. This implied that the person was “hurting her.” The manipulated person would then feel sorry for her and jump to her defense. She should have received and Oscar. She was the best actress I have ever met. She convincing lied to almost everyone and pathetically duped even her own husband and family. It is true that some people do have the spiritual “gift of discernment.” There are some among us who discern the characters of others more easily than others. They feel a certain sense of pride in that “they would never be duped by anyone.” Yet I wish to say that there are some people who are so masterful at lying and deceit, that they can fool even the most discerning. In truth most of us are easily manipulated and deceived by cunning liars. The woman I referred to did not deceive everyone, but those she did not deceive, she silenced, just like Iago. She did not physically murder people, but she murdered them with her tongue by slander. By slandering their reputation, she ensured that people would not believe them even if they tried to tell the truth about her.

Most people do not think they have any enemies as vicious as Iago. Yet if they are worth their salt as a Christian they have a personal enemy even more malicious than Iago, the devil himself. A lot of people don’t believe in an entity called “Satan.” They do not think he is a real being. Yet scripture clearly declares that Satan was indeed a created being, the most beautiful in fact of all of God’s angels. Angels are God’s messengers. They also worship God around his throne. Satan’s beauty was his downfall, and he desired to be like God. So the Bible tells us he was cast out of heaven and took a certain number of angels with him, which we now refer to as demons. Iago represents the main characteristics of Satan: Iago was a liar, a murderer, and a thief. Satan stands as an enemy to every Christian and he wishes to destroy them, just as Iago hated and wished to destroy Othello. Satan is more vicious, more cruel, more cunning, more sadistic, more deceitful, more malicious, more hateful than Iago ever dreamed of being. He works a lot of his deceit just like Iago did, whispering innuendo’s into our ears. Some of his favorites are: “If God is good, would he really let this happen to you?” “Maybe God doesn’t really love you, maybe he has abandoned you.” “Are you really sure God is going to take care of and protect you?” He always places doubts in the Christian’s mind about God and about his word. He whispers in people’s ears about fellow Christians, getting them to doubt and hate each other, much as Iago got Othello to doubt his own wife. He knows he is a defeated enemy, but he wants to create as much damage as possible on his way down, and he does it quite effectively. The story of Othello is most of all a sobering reminder of a very real enemy and the destruction he wishes to do.

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Photo Credit: luco* via Compfight cc

Feature Box Photo credit: Josiah Boydell / / Public Domain Mark 1.0

Boudoir Photo Shoot and Groupon

Every day in my e-mail in box I receive the Groupon of the day. This is a discount coupon you can purchase for a service, or restaurant, or item. I read today’s Groupon and immediately started laughing, because I was reminded of an incident that happened in my past.

My husband I were looking to move, so we went out and looked at different houses every week. A woman in my Bible study group happened to mention that she was selling her house and that I should go look at it. So we did. Her realtor let us in and we began to look around the house. It was a nice house and everything was going well, until we got to her bedroom. When we walked in her bedroom in a rather large frame above her bed was what could only be described as a “Budoir Photo.” Here on the wall in a glossy 20 x 24 was my Bible study friend posed very seductively in black lingerie. I just about fell over. Now I wasn’t appalled at the photo, it was tasteful enough and if you want to do that for your husband, so be it. But for the love of mercy take it down when a realtor is showing your house. After that I could not take the rest of the house seriously. All I could do was wander aimlessly from room to room laughing my behind off. What was I going to say to my friend next Wednesday at Bible study? “Hey, nice house. And look Trixie, your dorky realtor should have told you to take down your version of Mount Rushmore you got goin’ there in the bedroom. It’s a nice monument to self, but come on. Should it really be on display during an Open House? What is this, the Playboy Mansion? Is your realtor named Hefner? This is not exactly what I envision when I am told a house has “curb appeal.” Apparently her house had “curve appeal.”

So today I am reminded of said event when I received a Groupon in my e-mail for 77% off a Budoir Photo Shoot. Now this coupon was very appealing to me for many reasons, but specifically because of that extra two percent they gave me over 75%. Now what idiot set that percentage? I have a feeling it was a former realtor. I haven’t yet decided if I will sit for my Budoir photo shoot, but if I do, you can know for sure that baby goes with me to the grave.

My Epitaph:

Here Lies Stacey
and her Budoir Photo Shoot
It was rather racy
Worth a grave to Loot.


Photo Credit: Tim Everett (De Firenze Photography) via Compfight cc

Sunday School Girl vs Entropy Man

Have you ever taken a class and felt like what you learned was completely useless? That it would not help you a whit in everyday life? It is knowledge, but it is not functional knowledge to you? Physics however, is functional knowledge. I have been amazed at how much physics plays a part of my everyday life. For example, gravity is a law you can count on. I have found from experience when you walk off a building, you die. It’s really true. Every time. If it weren’t for that Chesnut mare I would have been a goner. Fortunately I fell off the building, and in full Clint Eastwood style, onto my saddled horse and rode off into the sunset. Or maybe it was to the Seven Eleven to get a Slurpee. I can’t quite recall now.

However I have found that some physics laws actually come to life. For example, every Sunday I face my formidable foe “Entropy Man.” Entropy, in case you forgot physics 101, states that everything is moving from a state or order to disorder. Now nothing proves this principle faster than children. They are constantly moving from a state of order to disorder faster than the parental hand can move. Every Sunday I begin the process of trying to get ready for Sunday school. So you could call me “Sunday school girl.” Now for those of you who have children, and those of you who don’t, let me say that trying to get out the door for church on Sunday morning with children is like trying to run a race with sand bags tied to each leg. For each child you have it is an additional sand bag. So every week, with three twenty pound sand bags tied to each leg, I begin the attempt of trying to show up for church. First I go through the arduous process of cleaning up little Johnny and little Jimmy. I comb their hair. I tie their shoes. I tuck in their shirts. I give them a final spit shine. Then I sit them on a bench. I look them square in the eye and say something like this, “Now listen Jimmy and Johnny, mommy just has to change the baby and then we can go. So you two just sit there. Don’t speak, don’t breath and whatever you do, do not move. If you move, you die. Are we clear?” With rather large eyes they nod at me affirmatively. I turn back to the baby, who gives me her most beautiful smile. I talk to her sweetly as she coos at me as I change her diaper. This is the calm before the storm. I am so pleased. We are finally ready to go. Then I turn back to Jimmy and Johnny. In the six point three nano seconds it has taken me to change the baby, Johnny’s shoes are untied, his shirt is untucked and his hair is disheveled. Jimmy on the other hand has a new stain on the front of his white shirt, his shoes are completely missing, and there is gum in a place no gum should ever be. It is at this moment that I know my silent enemy Entropy Man has been here. I have never seen him. He works stealthily and silently. Sometimes I think I have caught a glimpse of the edge of his cape, but only a glimpse. I have only to admire his work. He is my great nemesis. I now turn back to the baby who has just pooped in her fresh diaper. She looks up at me and laughs. I sigh. It is 8:30 and we haven’t even tackled Captain Mini Van yet.

Photo credit: Kevin Conor Keller / / CC BY-NC-ND