Topics: Othello, William Shakespeare, Iago Pages: 4 (1329 words) Published: April 12, 2012
There is no doubt that whatever Shakespeare wrote found its way to the top as a literary piece of genius.His command over language and ability to portray emotions and thoughts through mere words has made him immortal in English literature. Shakespeare uses a variety of aides to make his play the flawless specimen it is. The most striking symbol in Othello is Desdemona's handkerchief that circulates throughout the play. Because Othello gave it to Desdemona as a first gift, the handkerchief functions as a token of his love, which Desdemona cherishes (3.3.1). Iago convinces his wife to steal it from Desdemona because he knows that it has a lot of sentimental value and that Othello will be angry when he finds out his wife no longer has it. Iago also knows that, for Othello, the handkerchief symbolizes Desdemona's fidelity. When it shows up in Cassio's possession, Othello is convinced of Desdemona's infidelity. The white napkin, as we know, is spotted with red strawberries and Othello tells Desdemona that the strawberries were hand stitched with thread that has been dyed with blood from "maidens' hearts" or, virgins' blood (3.4.10). [1] In this way, the handkerchief resembles a white wedding sheet that's also been stained with a virgin's blood. So, in Othello's mind, Desdemona's handkerchief represents her chastity and the moment she "loses it," she looses her chastity.The handkerchief also seems to function as a symbol of Othello's mysterious past and his "exoticness." He tells Desdemona that an Egyptian "charmer" gave it to his mother and that it would keep his father "faithful" and under her spell (3.4.9). That such a small object has such enormous weight in the play testifies to the sensitivity of jealous minds, and the way that small incidents can be magnified psychologically into "proofs" of love or betrayal. Animalistic imagery also presents the impression of animal behaviour coming out of the seemingly civilized humans.Animalistic...
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