Ap Lit Words Essay

Topics: Oxford English Dictionary, Dictionary, English language Pages: 3 (887 words) Published: April 26, 2012
Mark G.
Period 6
AP Literature Othello Words Essay
The word “heaven” is one of the most frequently used words in the play Othello. Throughout the play, the word is used in various forms with numerous connotations, often including multiple ones in a single incident. “Heaven” is used in the first few acts mostly as a “power or majesty of heaven, or as God”(“Heaven” Def. 7a). The people refer to the heavens as a God or a divine being, such as when Cassio says “Oh, let the heavens Give him defense against the elements, For I have lost him on a dangerous sea.” (2.1.49-51). The word gives a positive connotation, where the people ask the heavens, or God, to keep them safe, or to look over their loved ones. The word is most frequently used by Othello, Desdemona, Emilia, and Iago, in that order. However, the connotation of the word differs depending on the character saying it. While the rest of the characters use the word with true emotions and sincerity, the word has an ironic connotation when Iago says it. The word heaven is used by Iago whenever he is hiding his true intentions to make people trust him. Even when he says, “He’s that he is. I may not breathe my censure What he might be. If what he might he is not, I would to heaven he were” (4.1.305-307), he is pretending to care for Othello, when he is the cause of Othello’s troubles. The word also changes connotation depending on the scene of the play. While the word portrays a heavenly and divine figure in the first few Acts, the word demonstrates a slightly more negative connotation in the last Act. In Act 5 Scene 2, the word is frequently used as “the opposition of hell” (“Heaven” Def. 5a). When Emilia decries Desdemona’s innocence, she says, “Let heaven and men and devils, let them all, All, all, cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak” (5.2.262-263) and emphasizes her willingness to speak the truth by juxtaposing two opposite words: heaven and hell. Moreover, when Othello shouts out, “This look of...
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