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Othello Themes

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'What are the major themes we have encountered in William Shakespeare's Othello so far in our analysis of the play?' "...most painfully exciting and the most terrible... these features combine to produce feelings of "confinement" and "dark fatality" "- A. C. Bradley Shakespearean Tragedy The play, Othello, holds many methods and ways in which William Shakespeare allows the audience to appreciate the way themes are portrayed. The way he does this can be seen in many of Shakespeare ironic use of wording, soliloquies and emotional conflict or affection between characters. Some of these themes include: Trust * "I know Iago. Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter..."(P65 L18) Iago is repeatedly referred to as "Honest Iago." People do not see him for what he actually is as, although he is a sly man, he is also very intelligent in his ways of getting the truth out of people and twisting it without actually being dishonest. * "A maiden, never bold: of spirit so still, and quiet, that in her motion...." (P36-37 L28-40) Brabantio is told by Othello that he won his daughter over, without the power of charms or magic "What drugs, what charms, what conjuration, and what mighty magic, (for such proceeding am I charg'd withal) I won his daughter." (P 36 L24-27) Brabantio cannot accept the fact that Desdemona would desire to be with a black man after he has given her such a fine upbringing. ...read more.


I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!"(P66 L4) Cassio and Iago were told not to drink whilst being on guard at the party. Iago schemed to try and acquire Cassio's job but Cassio explains earlier that he cannot handle alcohol and becomes drunk very easily. Iago manipulates Cassio into drinking some alcohol which inevitably results in Cassio becoming very drunk. This, later results in Cassio losing his job and Iago getting a higher up position working for Othello. The repetition used within the quote shows how highly Cassio felt for his job and how ashamed he is of himself for letting himself get in such a state when ordered not to. Jealousy/ Paranoia "Iago, exhibits an all-encompassing jealousy directed not only against sexual love but against love itself in all its manifestations. As a result, envious hatred takes possession of his soul, motivates his actions, and turns him into the most completely villainous character in all literature." - D.R. Godfrey Godfrey gives important views here by telling why Iago has the jealousy towards Othello and from the text; there are many indications that his objective is to receive love back from Othello. "Now I do love her too, (Desdemona), not out of absolute lust (though peradventure I stand accomptant for as great a sin) but partly led to my revenge, for that I do suspect the lusty Moor hath leap'd into my seat " (P56 L15)- ...read more.


"Come, my dear love, The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue; That profit's yet to come 'tween me and you" (P57 L21) A party has been held by Othello to celebrate the marriage of Othello and Desdemona and also to celebrate the defeat of the Turkish fleet. Within the quote, Othello says, "Come with me, my dear love. Now that the wedding's over, we can have the pleasure of consummating our marriage." This shows that Othello and Desdemona have not actually had sex together yet. It is clear to see that as they have not yet had sex, they are evidently not using each other for this reason and must love each other for who they truly are. From many of Othello's quotes to Desdemona, it is inevitable to see that he has true passion for her and adores her greatly. Linked to what is said about Iago's Jealousy for wanting Othello, it has been said that within the quote, "Men should be what they seem. Or those that be not, would they might seem none" Iago may possibly be talking about himself and his homosexual love towards Othello retelling the quote 'I am not what I am' and attempting to leave subtle hints for Othello to realise Iago's love for him, in hope, Othello will return the love. It is inevitable to see that some of the many themes used to construct Othello, all associate with each other in order for Shakespeare's tragedy to archive it aims. ...read more.

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