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Imagery and Language in Othello.

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Imagery and Language in Othello In Othello, the use of imagery and language is significant in conveying meaning as it helps to establish the dramatic atmosphere of the play and reinforce the main themes. The imagery and language conveyed include animal imagery; heaven and hell imagery; images of light, heaven and purity; images of poison; and black and white imagery. Many references are made to animals in the play. Iago uses beast imagery to express his contempt and to degrade those he despises. Early in Act 1, he rouses Brabantio's anger by using crude images of animals fornicating to inform him that his "daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs." (1.1.115). Such a metaphor is designed to evoke a strong emotional response. In a soliloquy at the conclusion of Act 1, Iago says "I have't: it is engend'red. Hell and night / Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light." (1.3.404-405) Shakespeare uses the image of a monster being born as a metaphor for the start of Iago's evil scheming. It also becomes evident that Othello's mind has been corrupted by Iago's evil work when he too starts to use the same sort of animal imagery in his speech. ...read more.


Iago also acknowledges himself as the devil personified when he says "devils will the blackest sins put on...suggest at first with heavenly shows / As I do now." Iago's manipulation of Othello causes him to see Desdemona as 'devilish', therefore she must be brought to 'justice'. After realizing what Iago has done in manipulating Othello, Othello says, "I look down towards his feet, but that's a fable./ If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot ill thee." (5.2.291-292) Othello says that he looks down to see if Iago's feet are cloven like the devils, but realises that, that's just a story with a moral. Then says that if Iago is not the devil then he cannot kill him and stabs Iago with his knife. This statement refers to Christian values as Othello is speaking of the devil. In addition to referring to Iago as the devil, Othello also adds that if Iago is the devil then he would have cloven feet, but realising that that was just a story, Othello tries another way of proving Iago's the devil, and stabs him. Desdemona, though, is associated with images of light, heaven and purity, thus suggesting her innocence. ...read more.


With no basis whatsoever and solely through insinuations, Iago manages to convince Othello that his true and innocent wife has been unfaithful. Once Othello starts to doubt Desdemona's fidelity, he is so incredibly driven by jealousy that it leads him to murder her. As Desdemona is unaware of the accusations against her, when she tries to convince Othello to reinstate Cassio, she aggravates Othello's jealousy by just mentioning his name. It is this poison that has been carefully infused in Othello, which makes him react in such a way. "I tremble at it. Nature/ would not invest herself in such shadowing passion/ without some instruction." (4.1.39-41). This poison that now runs through Othello's blood is what reduces him. It starts when Othello begins to doubt himself and his judgment. Othello's jealousy overpowers him, as he trembles, at the idea of Desdemona and Cassio together. His statement about nature means that he believes he would not feel such a powerful emotion; his mind would not be filled with images of them together if it were not really happening. Othello takes the intensity of his own emotional jealousy to the claim of Desdemona being unfaithful. Throughout the play, the contrast between black and white is also used as a metaphor for the difference between Othello and the Venetian society. ...read more.

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