Othello themes

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  • Othello-key themes
    • Jealousy
      • Iagos professional jealousy of Cassio is the catalyst that triggers the events of the main plot. "I am worth no worse a place."
      • Sexual jealousy is explored in all the couples' relationships. "Twixt my sheets" Even though Iago is unsure whether the rumour is true that Iago slept with his wife, it suggests he has no real motive for his hatred towards Othello.
      • Iago knows that psychological torture will constantly torment Othello so by making Othello jealous by Desdemona, Iago causes Othello to suffer as much as he does. "O, beware my Lord of jealousy! It is the green eyed monster"
    • Male-female relationships
      • Initially Desdemona and Othello share a more equal relationship; each was "half the wooer".
      • The female characters are objectified by the men, prized for their beauty or derided as whores (Bianca)
    • Deception and treachery
      • Othello is so decieved by Iago that he believes Iago is incapable of not telling the truth. " I know thou'rt full of love and honesty."
        • As Othello is unable to see that he is being deceived he stubbornly believes that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio." This is a subtle whore /A closet lock and a key of villainous secrets." Everything that Desdemona does to prove her innocence makes her appear more guilty to Othello
      • Iago has even been successful in deceiving Venice's most superior members of society highlighting his Machiavellian qualities. "A very valiant fellow"
    • Love
      • Shakespeare demonstrates that love can be used against you and manipulated as Iago uses Othello's love for Desdemona against him." She did deceive her father in marrying you" Iago is explaining how if she can deceive once she can easily do it again casuing Othello to become paranoid.
      • The handkerchief is  a symbol of love between Othello and Desdemona. "I had rather lost my purse full of crusados" It also indicates the equality of their love. "She gave it him, and he hath given it his whore" By Iago feeding Othello false information it appears that Des has a new lover (Cassio).
        • Desdemona's love for Othello could be the cause for her tragic death as she has explored outside the social norms which would be highly frowned upon.
        • Iago is incapable of love as he constantly falsely professes his love for Othello and Roderigo to hide his motives.


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