O-Hell-O

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O-Hell-O?
Throughout the play of Othello, the titular Moor struggles against outside beliefs that he is inherently sinful. This struggle, most commonly shown through motifs of heaven and hell as well as poison, is brought to a climax in Othello’s speech to Gratiano about the sword he has and his remorse at Desdemona’s death. Through Shakespeare’s usage of double stop to link suicide and hell as well as the juxtaposition of remorse and sin, through assonance and consonance, Shakespeare reveals that Othello is a damned soul for some reason beyond just murdering Desdemona. Shakespeare uses the metric method of double stop, adding an unstressed syllable after the final stressed syllable in a line, to link the references to the sword and the fiery pits of Hell. This feature happens five times throughout this soliloquy, with the words “weapon”, ”weapon’d”, “devils”, “sulphur”, and “fire” (5.2.259,266,277,279,280). The weapon itself represents both Othello’s murderous actions, as seen by the fact that he took it into battle where he slew twenty times more foes than most, as well as his death, as seen by his remarks about the end of his journey and later suicide (5.2.261-264,266-268,356SD,359SD). The connection to the images of hell and the punishments therein emphasizes that, due to the nature of the sins he has committed, Othello is going to Hell. The belief that he is going to Hell no matter what overshadows, at least in his perception and portrayal to the audience, any remorse that he may feel for his actions. Throughout this speech, Othello’s assonance sends a message of remorse through its open and sorrowful tones. Shakespeare uses long O sounds in words such as “Othello”, “soul”, “cold”, “Desdemon”, and “O” in all but three of the lines in this speech, two of which could be O sounds with the right pronunciation and the third being only a half line. These constantly repeated sounds resonate the moans of suffering and remorse. The short a, e, i, and u sounds are...
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