Get help from the best in academic writing.

Othello’s Diversity of Imagery

Othello’s Diversity of Imagery

The diverse imagery found in Shakespeare’s drama Othello represents a world all by itself. And this world of imagery contributes to the prevailing sentiment of pain and suffering and unpleasantness.

There is no shortage of imagery in the play; this is for certain. Critic Caroline Spurgeon in “Shakespeare’s Imagery and What it Tells Us” sorts through the plethora of imagery in the play:

The main image in Othello is that of animals in action, preying upon one another, mischievous, lascivious, cruel or suffering, and through these, the general sense of pain and unpleasantness is much increased and kept constantly before us. More than half the animal images in the play are Iago’s, and all these are contemptuous or repellent: a plague of flies, a quarrelsome dog, the recurrent image of bird-snaring, leading asses by the nose, a spider catching a fly, beating an offenceless dog, wild cats, wolves, goats and monkeys.

To these Othello adds his pictures of foul toads breeding in a cistern, summer flies in the shambles, the ill-boding raven over the infected house, a toad in a dungeon, the monster ‘too hideous to be shown,’ bird-snaring again, aspics’ tongues, crocodiles’ tears, and his reiteration of goats and monkeys.’ In addition, [. . .] . (79)

The play’s imagery is oftentimes reflective of the fortunes of the protagonist. As the Moor’s status declines, the quality of the imagery in the play declines. In The Riverside Shakespeare Frank Kermode explains the relationship between imagery and Othello’s jealousy:

It is very important to see that Othello’s self-estimate – “one not easily jealious, but, being wrought, / Perplexed in the extreme” (V.ii.345-…

… middle of paper …

…rizona Quarterly (Spring 1956), pp.5-16.

Kermode, Frank. “Othello, the Moor of Venice.” The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1974.

Mack, Maynard. Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.

Muir, Kenneth. Introduction. William Shakespeare: Othello. New York: Penguin Books, 1968.

Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. No line nos.

Spurgeon, Caroline. “Shakespeare’s Imagery and What it Tells Us.” Shakespearean Tragedy. Ed. D. F. Bratchell. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Wilson, H. S. On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy. Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1957.

The Beautiful Character of Desdemona in Shakespeare’s Othello

Othello and the Beautiful Character of Desdemona

The good character of Desdemona in William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello meets a wretched end because of the sinister treachery of an ancient. In this essay let us analyze the beautiful character of Desdemona.

Valerie Wayne in “Historical Differences: Misogyny and Othello” comments on the proper manner of interpreting Desdemona’s body as referred to by an irate Othello:

Desdemona’s body before her supposed adultery is here likened to a paper-book, one of the books of blank paper that Renaissance students used for practice in writing, translation and copying. Othello imagines she has written ‘whore’ there through committing adulterous deeds. But Desdemona does no writing in this play and hence no ‘committing’ in word or deed. The activities of writing are always associated there with men; it is women’s speech that Iago worries about. (169)

The beautiful heroine Desdemona falls prey to the supremely cunning ancient. Francis Ferguson in “Two Worldviews Echo Each Other” describes how Desdemona is entrapped by the evil Iago:

During Act IV Desdemona also acts the very part which Iago had devised for her. She insists yet again (Act IV, scene 1) that Othello pardon Cassio, which is “fire and brimstone” for Othello. Thus she blindly forces the Moor to see Iago’s nightmare in her (Act IV, scene 2), “a cistern for foul toads,” as Othello cries,

there where I have garnered up my heart,

Where either I must live, or bear no life,

The fountain from which my current runs,

Or else dries up. (136)

In Act 1 Scene1, Iago persuades the rejected suitor of Desdemona, Roderigo, to accompany him to the home of Bra…

… middle of paper …

…itt, Angela. “Women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Shakespeare’s Women. N.p.: n.p., 1981.

Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. No line nos.

Wayne, Valerie. “Historical Differences: Misogyny and Othello.” The Matter of Difference: Materialist Feminist Criticism of Shakespeare. Ed Valerie Wayne. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991.

Wright, Louis B. and Virginia A. LaMar. “The Engaging Qualities of Othello.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Introduction to The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare. N. p.: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1957.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.