• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

An Exploration of Imagery in Othello

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Word count: 2147 An Exploration of Shakespeare's Use of Imagery in 'Othello' Shakespeare uses imagery of hell, the devil and animals to present the corruption of Iago's character and his cynical perspective on human emotions. The changes in Othello's character are also charted through the use of imagery, as the religious images and images of military heroism used to portray his nobility are replaced with devil imagery, which reflects his downfall. The imagery he himself uses begins to change to mirror Iago's, for example Othello begins to use derogatory animal imagery to describe sexual acts. In addition, changes in Othello and Desdemona's relationship are shown through imagery as the language Othello and Desdemona use to describe their feelings changes. Overpowering emotions, such as love and suffering are conveyed to the audience through imagery, particularly imagery of the sea, a recurring motif in the play. Shakespeare uses devil, animal and poisoning imagery in 'Othello' to reveal aspects of Iago's character. Iago delights in evil and deception and this is shown through devil imagery in his soliloquy at the end of the first act, where he describes the hatching of his plan in the lines: 'hell and night/must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light.' ...read more.

Middle

Imagery used to describe Othello also changes throughout the play. After Othello murders Desdemona, Emilia describes him as 'the blacker devil' (Act 5, Scene 2, line 133). The description 'blacker' here means Othello is a greater sinner than Desdemona who he is accusing, and 'devil' is a strong conveyance of loathing used by Emilia. This can be linked to Iago's imagery in the opening scene, as he calls him 'devil'. The irony is that the prejudice people felt towards Othello as an outsider was unjust, but Othello becomes what he was accused of being by the end of the play. However, the devil imagery used at the end of the play contrasts to some earlier imagery used by those who respect and admire Othello. For example, when Othello is late arriving in Cyprus because of a storm Cassio cries '0 let the heavens give him defence against the elements'. 'Heavens' is a direct contrast to 'devil' and the use of the word shows that Othello is loved by Cassio, and gives the impression he is a good man and one who is not uncontrollably violent and lustful. Shakespeare may use this contrast between devil and heavenly imagery to show the deterioration of Othello's character, as he becomes the barbarian he was first accused of being. ...read more.

Conclusion

He describes his thoughts of Desdemona's infidelity 'comes o'er my memory,/As doth the raven o'er the infected house' (Act 4, Scene 1, lines 20-21). Ravens are associated with death and decay, so this morbid image shows that Othello is dying inside because of Desdemona's betrayal. The sea and death images are both used to show the magnitude and extent of suffering. This can be linked to great emotions which are also shown through sea imagery to convey Desdemona's intense passion and Othello's unerring determination to kill Desdemona and Cassio as they are supposed to be the perpetrators of the crime. In conclusion, Shakespeare uses imagery in 'Othello' to reveal aspects of Iago's character and to show changes in Othello's. Desdemona and Othello's relationship is perhaps the central focus of the performance and imagery is paramount in showing the changing dynamic between the couple, as sea imagery conveys overpowering emotion and racial prejudice is shown almost entirely through degrading imagery of animals and the devil which is used against Othello, highlighting the fact he is an outsider. The fact that the imagery is used again at the end of the play by Emilia on discovering the murdered body of her mistress might suggest Othello became the stereotype of the barbarian introduced to us in the opening scene. ?? ?? ?? ?? Charlotte Wycherley - 1 - ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Othello section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Othello essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the ways in which Iago destroys the relationship between Desdemona and Othello

    4 star(s)

    will have my lord and you again as friendly as you were." Therefore, this is an example of how Iago manipulates both Desdemona and Cassio into helping him cause both of their downfalls as well as Othello's and in doing so, destroying the relationship between Desdemona and Othello; whist at

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Male Domination In Othello

    4 star(s)

    This is because it is one thing that she would do anything to stop. Her desperation for attention and affection from Iago may have pushed her to act blindly. On stealing the handkerchief, she says 'my wayward husband hath a hundred times wooed me to steal it.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent does Shakespeare present the catastrophe of Othello as inevitable?

    3 star(s)

    This would then turn into a long debate in which Othello comes to his own conclusion. In spite of this, it is only during the beginning of Act IV that he truly see's his "proof" in Bianca's hand and believes that his wife has been unfaithful.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Different Interpretations of Key speeches from Othello and Iago in Act 1, scene 3

    3 star(s)

    With words such as "hell" and "monstrous" and "hate" suggests very strong feelings of anger and in my opinion shows evil. Also rhetorical questions to himself such as, "how? How?" Show how he is questioning himself and his motives, but he I believe is questioning himself to assure himself he is powerful enough to do such things.

  1. Explore the presentation of the relationship between Othello and Iago

    As F.R Leavis said, 'the essential traitor lies within the gates," and this is very much the case with Othello. He chose to believe Iago over his wife, Cassio and Emilia. Iago is just the catalyst in the experiment, whereas Othello is the potion.

  2. Animal Imagery in Othello

    Brabantio will not be the only character to be manipulated by Iago and misled by his language. As the play progresses, Iago continues his use of animal imagery. When speaking of Desdemona, he says, "I would drown myself for love of the guinea hen, I would change my humanity with a baboon" (1.3.357-358).

  1. Free essay

    To what extent is Iago responsible for the downfall of other characters in Othello?

    In total he talks about money in his short speech eight times, most likely in order to make his message quite clear. Here he has used his language to manipulate Roderigo into putting money in his purse, which, as we learn later in Iago's soliloquy, is for his own financial benefit.

  2. Othello and Desdemonas love at the beginning of the play is built on mutual ...

    This suggests how she was seduced by his storytelling powers and acknowledged his rhetorical power, whilst he was moved to love her by her sympathetic response. Desdemona shared the same dignified and purposeful idiolect which is employed through Othello and Desdemona?s shared speech patterns, which served to convey their harmony and mutual affection.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work