Othello Characterisation

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Othello is a Shakespearean play and a morality tale, which is set in Venice, Italy and represents the themes of race, death and at its very heart is the ‘green-eyed monster’: Jealousy. The character of Othello is insecure and naïve. His race, a major theme in the play, shows how Othello perceives himself as a rough outsider, though he is nothing of the sort and his skills are nevertheless powerful, his power being personified by the fact that he is always surrounded by people. In Act 1, Scene 1, Iago tells Brabantio, “An old, black ram is tupping your white ewe.” This depicts that when other characters call Othello ‘black’, they not only refer to the colour of his face but also to the concept of colour symbolism in Elizabethan morality: White is honour, black is wickedness; white is innocence, black is guilt. This saying also compels Othello into working hard and looking carefully after his reputation, to be regarded as equal to the white people that surround him. However, after Brabantio accepts Othello’s and Desdemona’s marriage, he is told, “Your son-in-law is more fair than black,” implying that a handful of characters see Othello through his personality, calling him ‘fair’ as in ‘pure’. On the contrary, Othello is equated to an animal when Iago calls him a ‘ram’. This expresses the use of animal imagery in the play. Iago also uses the connotation ‘tupping’, which is the language of sheep farmers and suggests that Othello is considered an animal by some characters. A further example of the usage of animal imagery by Shakespeare is in Act 1, scene 3, when Othello calls for Desdemona to speak for him. “Fetch Desdemona.” In this quote, ‘fetch’ implies a dog, therefore explaining that women are also treated as unequally in the play.

When we first see Othello, he is wearing a black hood, which shows darkness and magic and symbolises his mysterious, nebulous character. When he is at the beach, he is wearing a white cloak, symbolising purity. Though...
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