Themes in Othello

Topics: Othello, Jealousy, Iago Pages: 3 (1059 words) Published: August 25, 2013
What are the major themes in “Othello” and how are they explored

The play “Othello” written by English playwright William Shakespeare is a timeless tale that vividly portrays the downfall of the noble Moore, Othello. The play itself is tragic in nature because it vividly portrays Othello “falling from Grace” through the exploitation and deceit that is orchestrated by the Machiavellian villain, Iago. The key themes that encompass the play are that of deception, manipulation and jealousy. Each of the themes serve as unique antecedents that exacerbate the downfall of Othello.

The theme of deception is ever present through out “Othello”. Deception is most prominent through out the play through the actions of Iago- Othello’s third in command. Deemed as the most sinister character of all the Shakespearian villains, Iago until this day has been the subject of scrutiny as to what truly motivated his deceitful actions. Words are Iago’s weapons. Through the use of persuasive, vulgar and allusive language, Iago is able to spin an intricate web to ensnare all of his victims. Iago’s true nature is presented to the audience in his first soliloquy in Act 1 scene 1 where upon he states; “I am not what I am”. This statement is the defining factor which establishes Iago’s use of wearing a façade in order to hide his malevolent deceptive motives. Often Iago associates himself with hell and demonic beings. This can be illustrated through “Divinity of hell! When devils will the blackest sins put on, They do suggest at first with heavenly shows as I do now” In this excerpt, Iago is alluding that when the “devils” commit their deadliest sins, they in fact doth their heavenly masks. This excerpt exemplifies the heinous, scheming plans of Iago and his personal acknowledgment of his own evil. Often Iago’s true nature is revealed to the audience through his use of soliloquys and asides. Here the audience is able to become voyeurs into the deceitful mind of Iago. What is most...
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