The Theme of Death in Othello and a Doll House

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 697
  • Published : April 3, 2001
Open Document
Text Preview
The theme of death is present in many works of literature. It is given metaphors and cloaked with different meanings, yet it always represents an end. Every end signifies a new beginning, and every death gives rise to a new birth. Physical death "...is mere transformation, not destruction," writes Ding Ming-Dao. "What dies is merely the identity, the identification of a collection of parts that we called a person. What dies is only our human meaning" (49). Figuratively speaking, death symbolizes a change, an interruption or cessation of regular routine. In this sense, death can be viewed as a more positive occurrence, because change leads to new experience, which, in turn, leads to knowledge and a better understanding of life. The plays Othello and A Doll House both encompass the theme of death. While the former deals with physical death, the latter depicts a change, a transformation of a period of time and a way of life.

Shakespeare's Othello is a tragedy. The villain gains trust by appearing honest and, taking advantage of being undoubted, implants false ideas into Othello's mind, causing him to believe in an illusion that portrays the opposite of reality. Shakespeare shows, by setting his plays in either antiquity or modernity, the evolution of human thought. His characters in antiquity acquire things through war and conquest, and are hasty in action and judgement. In modernity, however, the characters live in a regime that practices acquisition through trade and commerce. Logically, the characters in modernity are superior to the ones in antiquity. They prefer trade to war, and display logic through their actions. Because Shakespeare set his modern plays in Italy or England, Othello can be classified as a modern play. However, there are some elements of antiquity present in it,

such as Othello's murderous act. Not being logical, Othello looks at the imposed circumstances only through Iago's perspective, and is completely overtaken by the lies....
tracking img