Othello Revision Notes - themes and quotes.

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  • Jealousy
  • Race
  • Honour and Reputation
  • Love and Desire
  • Venus and Cyprus
  • Conflict


  • Imagery associated with it gives the impression it’s destructive, terrifying and unnatural jealousy. There’s a strong sense of jealousy devouring etc.
  • “The green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on”
  • “A monster begot upon itself, born on itself”
  • The above fits in when Iago describes Othello as being “eaten up with passion“
  • Jealousy is also deeply humiliating in Othello. Iago describes it as a “Passion most unsuiting for a man” (as noble as the Moor of Venice)
  • Shakespeare’s exploration of jealousy gives three examples of jealousy that shed light on the subject…
  • Iago’s personal and professional jealous – linked to feelings of envy and sets events in motion
  • Bianca’s suspicions – mirrors Othello’s  closely
  • Othello’s towering jealousy – propels him towards tragedy
  • Jealousy characterises Iago
  • Othello’s sexual jealousy motivated by affection rather than hatred – example of “green- ey’d monster”  flipside of boundless love
  • Both Othello and Iago feel jealous because they have lost possession of something they held dear
  • Emilia assesses that it is monstrous, destroys love, honour and nobility in those it afflicts.

Quotes on Jealousy…

  • “A jealousy so strong that judgement cannot cure” - Iago
  • “Good God, the souls of all my tribe defend from jealousy” - Iago
  • “Think’st thou I’d make a life of jealousy to follow still the changes of the moon with fresh suspicions?” – Othello


  • Othello always referred to as the Moor
  • Before Othello black characters in Othello were usually villains therefore the presentation of a NOBLE MOOR must mean something
  • Othello’s race make him an outsider – dislocation and opposition
  • Early on in the play positive descriptions of Othello’s race and heritage
  • Desdemona ‘saw Othello’s visage in his mind’ – she looks past his colour
  • Duke to Bribantio ‘ your son in law is far more fair than black’ – the Dukeeither pleading for racial tolerance or telling Bribantio to accept marriage as Othello is virtuous even though he’s black
  • Iago, Bribantio and Roderigo find Othello’s race alarming…
  • “Sooty Bosom”
  • “Thicklips”
  • “Old Black Ram”
  • Hero’s tragedy comes out as Othello can only ever be excepted as an outsider

Honour and Reputation…

  • Iago is a clear example of the idea that the difference between reputation and honor is the difference between appearance and reality.
  • Iago uses his reputation as an honest man to deceive Othello and everyone else – “"When devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest at first with heavenly shows."
  • Cassio's changing reputation has a big part in the outcome of the play
  • Othello’s reputation – very straight, noble, military general
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More Quotes on Honour and Reputation…

  • ‎"My reputation, my reputation, I have lost my reputation"

Love and Desire…

  • “She loved me for the dangers I had passed, and I loved her that she did pity them”
  • “I humbly do beseech of your pardon, For too much loving you”
  • “His unkindness may defeat my life, But never taint my love”
  • “Excellent wretch! Perditon catch my soul, but I do love thee, and when I love thee not, chaos is come again”
  • “I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestinefor a touch of his nether lip”

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