Critical Essay Sample on Illusions Generated by Iago and Gatsby

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Othello and the great Gatsby are some of the most iconic literary works ever written. The two stories cover a wide range of themes, some of which are related and similar, and which are still relevant today. The Great Gatsby was written by Fitzgerald and was first published in 1925. The book tells the story of Jay Gatsby with the storyline being narrated by Nick Carraway. Jay Gatsby is portrayed as a dubious character in the story who lives a mysterious lifestyle as a millionaire. He has shady business connections and lives a luxurious life throwing lavish parties for his friends, most of which he does not attend. He had spent most of his youthful years as a military officer during World War I. It was during these years that he met and fell in love with Daisy Fay Buchanan. However, after several years since their encounter, Gatsby is still nostalgic about their youthful love. He hopes to see Daisy one day in his life. Besides, the main reason he holds several parties in his home is so that Daisy may one day appear at one of the parties.

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On the other hand, Othello is more of a tragic story about a man, Othello, who is authoritative, strict, and loves his wife sincerely. His wife Desdemona, who plays the role of an innocent lady, becomes the victim of a vindictive plot by Iago. According to Shakespeare, at the beginning of this play Othello an army superior promotes Cassio. As a result of this, Iago feels betrayed and decides to plot on a way to get back at Othello. After seeing how much Othello loves his wife Desdemona, he decides that he would make sure he destroys their marriage for payback. For a while, this does not work but in the end, he manages to web a huge lie which at the end pushes Othello to murder his wife.

Similarities Between Othello and the Great Gatsby

This background for the two stories sets the perfect ground to discuss the concept of illusions in the two novels. Othello is dominated by the illusion created by Iago and his pursuit to bring Othello, the lead character in the story, to destruction. Iago is interested in asserting his revenge on Othello for his naming of Cassio as the lieutenant. Iago had high hopes of being named in that position but was disillusioned by Cassios appointment. Therefore, in his attempt to destroy Othello, he devises a plan that revolves around Othello’s beloved wife, Desdemona. Iago was well aware of the fact that Othello held his relationship with Desdemona in high regard. He propagated a rumor that Othello was going out with his wife, Emilia. Therefore, he figured out that creating room for them to separate would certainly lead to the fall of Othello. Iago constantly feeds Othello false accusations on how his wife is having an affair with his second in command in the army. This drives him to be paranoid and suicidal. As the story progresses, Iago’s jealousy grows to the extent where he is not interested in getting Cassio's position anymore but is mainly concerned with overseeing the downfall of Othello.

In the Great Gatsby, the illusion created by Gatsby is a little bit different from that of Iago. In the story, Gatsby is mainly interested in winning back the love of his childhood friend, Daisy. For a better part of his life, he remained nostalgic of the youthful love he had with Daisy and would be willing to do anything to revive the love. He became fond of throwing lavish parties in his backyard in the hope that he would meet Daisy at one of these parties.

Comparison of Characters Between Two Stories

The two characters, Iago and Gatsby are both motivated to achieve their desires by all means. However, they become so obsessed with achieving their objectives that they lose their main focus. For instance, Gatsby’s pursuit to capture Daisy is married in numerous illusions that help to shape his character. The element of time plays a critical role in the life of Gatsby. He spent most of his time chasing one dream that epitomizes his entire life. Furthermore, it is the illusion that he had of his future that also makes time very important in his life. He comes out as a victim of his past memoirs. For instance, his desire to rekindle the life he had in the past by renewing the relationship he had with Daisy turns out to be tragic as he is eventually killed in the process. His focus on the past events in his life causes him to waste a significant amount of time in his present life, oblivious of the fact that it is impossible to rewind time. His main dream in life was to make a part of his past a major part of his future, which ultimately failed. Therefore, Gatsby’s illusions help shape his character as that of a determined individual living a lavish life. However, his determination to succeed was caught up in his past events as well as the mystery surrounding his life. Most of his connections do not understand his life and how he got rich. The illusion he paints of his future only makes him a victim of his past.

Conversely, Iago’s illusions of achieving success by getting to higher positions only contribute to his failures. All his life, he believed he was a hard worker who was destined to receive the best things in life. However, when he was overlooked for the position of lieutenant, he instead became jealous. As such, the illusion of his life was very instrumental in shaping his nature and character of jealousy. This also impacted many other people he interacted with, especially Emilia, his wife, and Desdemona, who was also caught up in Iago’s plan to bring Othello down.


In conclusion, both books portray leaders who achieve authority by manipulating and tricking others. It is evident in both scenarios that once they get the authority they push harder for more hence as a result they result in inhuman and aggressive means.

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