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QUESTION: Discuss the themes of jealousy and deception in the play Othello and the methods that Shakespeare uses to convey these to the audience

In the play Othello Shakespeare uses:
• Ideas (don’t use the word theme) of jealousy and deception are conveyed in many ways • What better way to bring powerful and successful man to his knees – but jealousy and deception • Othello a Shakespearean tragedy – 5 acts ending in death of majority of characters • Shakespearean tragedies are expressions of paradoxes of life – paradox of disappointment • Shakespeare as a dramatist uses – characters, audience, language (word-play and imagery), stagecraft (play in performance) – no women actors – young boys used • Othello – protagonist

• Iago - antagonist
• Language techniques used - blank and rhymed verse, dramatic irony (in form of soliloquies), devil imagery, animal imagery, symbolism (handkerchief) • Types of jealousy – sexual, racial and social status

• Stagecraft - soliloquies, action, time and place, importance of Othello’s colour


1. Scene: Act 1 Scene 1
Theme: jealousy and deception
Description: Iago is described as a “demi-devil” and rests confidently on the assurance that people and in particular Othello believes him to be honest. He possesses an exterior glitter which is really sinister and which misleads everyone in the play. Iago’s jealousy and deception is brought about by Othello giving Cassio a promotion over himself and the play starts with Iago complaining to Roderigo, (a gullable friend who is in love with Desdemona and really wants to sleep with her and will do anything to get her) about ‘The Moor.’ Quote: Iago - “I will follow him to serve my turn upon him.” Technique: devil imagery

2. Scene: Act 1 Scene 1
Theme: racial jealousy
Description: The first time we hear one of Iago’s racist comments is when he is talking to Brabantio about Othello and Desdemona...

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