Othello Literary Analysis

Topics: Othello, Iago, William Shakespeare Pages: 2 (613 words) Published: February 6, 2012
William Shakespeare’s Othello is a tragedy in which Othello is Moorish general serving in the city of Venice. Iago is Othello’s friend, but turns on him because Othello promoted Michael Cassio to lieutenant. Iago then begins his evil and malicious deeds against Othello. This leads Othello to turn jealous and kill his wife, Desdemona. Othello then commits suicide. By using imagery, irony, and symbolism, Shakespeare displays the theme of the power that jealousy has to destroy.

Shakespeare uses imagery to describe the theme by showing the audience a story that is plentiful in figures of speech. Although the characters speak in prose and verse, imagery is very abundant throughout the play. For example, when Iago says, “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on *(3. 3. 191-193),” Iago is warning Othello that jealousy is monstrous, as he describes the monster as “green-ey’d.” This quote from Iago is only feeding Othello more jealousy which will lead the latter to become a monster. Imagery is used by Shakespeare to portray the power of jealousy.

Another equally important element Shakespeare uses is irony. Othello is a victim of prejudice. Ironically, Othello is the one who commits the most execrable deed of prejudice in the play, presuming his innocent wife, Desdemona, is a “harlot (4. 2. 105)” who he must kill. His obstinate refusal to give evidence of the killing of Desdemona shows that prejudice is an equal-opportunity situation. Another ironic characteristic in the play is how Othello, a good man, commits a heinous crime. Iago, an evil man, disguises himself as a noble, good man. In a passage from the play, Iago expresses false honor, saying, “But he that filches from me my good name, robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed. (3. 3. 180-185)” Irony plays an important role in the story and theme of Othello.

Yet another element Shakespeare uses to project the theme is...
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