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The Tragedy of Othello and the Cask of Amontillado

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a Lebanese-American essayist, scholar, statistician, and risk analyst, once stated that, “Most people are sceptical about the wrongs things and gullible about the wrong things.” The quote describes how most people tend to have doubt in the wrong things while also believing in the wrong things. It is an accurate description of the protagonists from The Tragedy of Othello and The Cask of Amontillado. In The Tragedy of Othello by William Shakespeare, the Venetian general Othello get manipulated by Iago, one of his own men, because of his naivete and gullibility; he allowed Iago to cloud his mind with doubt and jealousy. Similar The Cask of Amontillado by Edward Allen Poe, the naive and gullible personality of the protagonist, Fortunato, allows Montresor to manipulate and take advantage of him. Naive is a term that can be used to describe both protagonists. and is defined as the showing the lack of experience and wisdom. The naivete of the protagonist from both stories can and will led to the their eventual downfall and destruction because the antagonist is able to take advantage of this trait for their plan of revenge.

The Tragedy of Othello and The Cask of Amontillado share protagonists that have the characteristic of being too naive. The protagonist's naive and trusting personalities allows the antagonists to be able to use it to their advantage. Because the antagonist in both stories are devious and malicious, they will do whatever is take to get revenge on the protagonists. In The Tragedy of Othello by William Shakespeare, Othello is the a highly honored and decorated Venetian general and Iago is his trusted ensign. The premise of the play stems from Iago’s desire to get revenge on Othello because Othello gave the lieutenantship to Cassio instead of him. Iago does anything he can in order to gain Othello's trust. Iago even says that he would be willing to kill Brabantio for insulting Othello even though in reality, Iago was the one who was insulting Othello. He does this in order to show that he is and always will be loyal and honest to Othello. Throughout the course of the story, Iago is often referred to as "honest Iago" because nobody knows of his evil and devious plan for revenge; he is a two-faced liar. Iago abuses the sense of trust that Othello has for him by convincing Othello that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio. Although Othello is doubtful, he begins to believe Iago's story as he trusts that Iago is a, "fellow of exceeding honesty and knows all qualities of a learned spirit of human dealings" (3.3.299-301). He describes Iago as someone who is extremely honest and honorable. However, Iago is not who everyone perceives him to be; He cheats, manipulates, and lies to others in order to accomplish his goal on getting revenge. Being the gullible and naive individual that he is, Othello believes Iago's lies and trusts that he is a loyal and honest individual: someone who he can put his trust upon. Similarly in the Cask of Amontillado, Fortunato has no reasons to doubt Montresor. Fortunato, being the prideful wine connoisseur, allows Montresor to trick and manipulate him. Montresor informs Fortunato that he just purchased a barrel of Amontillado (a rare and expensive wine) is unable to determine whether it is real or not; he plans on visiting Luchesi to confirm. Fortunato, being prideful of his skills, offers to consult Montresor on the genuinity of the wine. Montresor knows the naive and prideful Fortunato will take his bait becuase, "neither by word nor deed had [he] given Fortunato cause to doubt [his] goodwill" (Poe). Montresor knows that there is no possible reason for Fortunato to have any doubt in him. As far as Fortunato knows, Montresor is an honest and loyal individual who can be trusted, allowing Montresor to take advantage of him. The underlying theme that being naive can lead to an individual's downfall and destruction is discussed in both the Tragedy of Othello and the Cask of Amontillado. Iago and Montresor are the two antagonists who takes advantage of the protagonists' naivete. Having a naive personality means that one can be trusted and will trust others; the blind trust that these individual have for others can and will lead to their downfall, causing pain for themselves and their loved ones.

The Tragedy of Othello and the Cask of Amontillado also share two similar antagonist who are devious, manipulative, and two-faced; both the antagonists replied on and took advantage of the protagonists' naivete in order to accomplish their goal of revenge. Although they may seem honest and trustworthy, the antagonist turned out to be two-faced liars. In the tragedy of Othello, Iago device a plan of revenge on Othello (the Venetian general) because Othello did not give him the lieutenantship but instead gave it to Cassio. He does so by first getting Cassio fired from his lieutenantship. In times of desperate measures, Cassio actually listens to Iago's advice to talk to Desdemona (Othello’s newlywed) in order to resolve the issue. He then proceeds to accuse Cassio of having an affair with Desdemona; Iago's goal is to provoke Othello's jealousy and convince him that his wife is unfaithful. A normally prideful and noble man, Othello allows himself consumed by the monster that is jealousy. Iago further convince Othello of the affair by having his wife (Emilia) steal the handkerchief (Othello’s first gift for Desdemona) and framing Cassio with it. He also manipulates Othello by using a form of ‘reverse psychology’ as he advises, “beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster which mock the meat it feeds on” (3.3.15-16). Othello is unknowingly being manipulated by Iago without even knowing. Iago pretends to warn Othello not to become a jealous. By doing this Iago is pointing out that jealousy always consumes the heart of the man who falls victim to it. Iago does this in order to put the thought of jealousy into Othello’s mind, while presenting himself as being innocent. Iago is able to use his manipulative and deceiving skills in order to get revenge on Othello, clouding his mind with disgusting thoughts and imaginary. Similar to the Iago, Montresor is also a manipulative and malicious antagonist who is out for revenge. Fortunato is a highly respected connoisseur who is extremely prideful in his skills; Montresor is also a connoisseur. Montresor is determine to get revenge on Fortunato, after being irreparably insults by Fortunato. After conceiving Fortunato to taste the Amontillado, the two men immediately heads to Montresor's vault. Montresor had already strategically planned the meeting with Fortunato by sending all his servants away to the carnival. As they begin to descend into the damp catacombs, Fortunato begins to cough. Montresor manipulates Fortunato by continuously offering to take him

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