Motifs and symbols in Othello

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The Handkerchief
The significance of red is love, red strawberries like red hearts on the love token handkerchief, and like the red stains from Othello and Desdemona's first night of love on the marriage sheets. Such red on white is private and dear to the heart of O
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The candle
The candle Othello blows out just before he murders Desdemona symbolizes him extinguishing her life.
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Plants
Iago is strangely preoccupied with plants. His speeches to Roderigo in particular make extensive and elaborate use of vegetable metaphors and conceits. Some examples are: “Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners; so that if we wi
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The song "Willow"
As she prepares for bed in Act V, Desdemona sings a song about a woman who is betrayed by her lover. She was taught the song by her mother’s maid, Barbary, who suffered a misfortune similar to that of the woman in the song; she even died singing “Wil
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Animal imagery
When animal references are used with regard to Othello, as they frequently are, they reflect the racism both of characters in the play and of Shakespeare’s contemporary audience. “Barbary horse” is a vulgarity particularly appropriate in the mouth of
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

The candle Othello blows out just before he murders Desdemona symbolizes him extinguishing her life.

Back

The candle

Card 3

Front

Iago is strangely preoccupied with plants. His speeches to Roderigo in particular make extensive and elaborate use of vegetable metaphors and conceits. Some examples are: “Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners; so that if we wi

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

As she prepares for bed in Act V, Desdemona sings a song about a woman who is betrayed by her lover. She was taught the song by her mother’s maid, Barbary, who suffered a misfortune similar to that of the woman in the song; she even died singing “Wil

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

When animal references are used with regard to Othello, as they frequently are, they reflect the racism both of characters in the play and of Shakespeare’s contemporary audience. “Barbary horse” is a vulgarity particularly appropriate in the mouth of

Back

Preview of the back of card 5

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