Themes in Shakespeare’s Othello Throughout Shakespeare’s play, Othello, there are many themes interwoven to describe the author’s perspective of the true nature of a man’s soul. Three themes critical to the play are doubt versus trust, monstrous imagery and the fallible love of man. One central theme of the play is the major contrast of doubt versus trust. For whatever reason, Othello’s trust of Desdemona is too weak to resist Iago’s accusations. As happens in many of Shakespeare’s works, miscommunication and mistrust lead to ‘pre post ” rous conclusions’ (1. 3.
Othello’s heart tells him that Desdemona loves him; however the critical Iago can dismantle Othello’s trust in his wife by planting seeds doubt through what appears to be rational proof. Having built Othello’s curiosity about Cassio’s supposed thoughts; Iago manipulates Othello into seeing a situation between Desdemona and Cassio that does not exist. Because Othello suspects that Iago is aware of more details than he is telling, he begins questioning Iago. ‘Why of thy thought?’ (3. 3.
108), ‘What dost thou think?’ (3. 3. 116).
The superficially answered questions cause Othello to make demands for further clarification: ‘If thou dost love me, show me thy thought’ (3.
3. 127-28), ‘give thy worst of thoughts the worst of words’ (3. 3. 145-46), then ‘By heaven, I’ll know thy thoughts!’ (3. 3. 175).
Friendship is a special bond between two or more people. This relationship is built on the basis of trust, loyalty and honesty. In the play Othello, Shakespeare demonstrates these qualities through many of his characters to portray their deep friendships. However as the play progresses these friends turn into foes as many problems occur in their friendships and lead to many tragic events. The ...
Due to Othello’s equating of Iago’s thoughts with factual knowledge, he is eager to mistrust Cassio and does not fully scrutinize the evidence. It is because he trusts Iago that he trusts the false “facts” and doubts the virtue of his wife, Desdemona. In addition to inferring Desdemona’s unfaithfulness to Othello, Iago alludes to Desdemona’s duplicitous deception of her father, Brabantio — she was able to ‘seel her father’s eyes up close as oak’-when he reminds Othello that ‘She did deceive her father, marrying you’ (3. 3. 224, 220).
As Othello makes his final desperate attempt at trust by saying, ‘I do not think but Desdemona’s honest,’ Iago again exploits the line between thinking (or having trust) that Othello’s wife is faithful and knowing (through evidence) whether it is actually true (3.
Othello fails to see that honor cannot be subject to empirical proof. Shakespeare’s exploration of the concept of jealousy leads to the theme of the human mind’s predisposition to favor the ‘monstrous.’ Monsters of the human psyche are self-generating, even without the prodding of an evil manipulator such as Iago.
He feeds this compulsion by encouraging Othello to ‘behold,’ in his mind’s eye, his wife being ‘topped’ by Cassio (3. 3. 412).
When jealousy is labeled as a monster in the play, it is used to suggest how one can be overtaken by a passion.
Iago defines jealousy as ‘the green-eyed monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on’ (3. 3. 179-80), a foul parasite that torments its host. When Emilia explains jealousy to be a ‘monster begot upon itself, born on itself’ (3. 4.
157), she underscores its self-generating nature. ‘Jealous souls’ do not need real events to fuel their suspicions because, Emilia explains, they are ‘not ever jealous for the cause’ (3. 4. 154-55).
When Cassio is demoted for drunkenness, he laments that humans ‘transform ourselves into beasts’ through alcohol that also provides ‘joy, pleasance, revel’ (2. 3. 257-58).
And for Othello, consuming jealousy transforms him into a violent predator that performs the ‘monstrous act,’ as Montano describes it, of murdering Desdemona (5. 2. 197).
In Shakespeare's "Othello", Iago carefully and masterfully entraps Othello into believing that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with Cassio. He does this through a series of suggestions and hesitations that entice and implant images in Othello's head that lead him to his demise. But what is more important is, he gives Othello the motive to murder his own innocent Desdemona, satisfying ...
Iago serves as a catalyst to carry out this monstrous act by Othello. Deeply bitter and un trusting himself, he plots to arouse jealousy in Othello. ‘Hell and night must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light’ (1. 3.
This clearly establishes a tie between the satanic and the monstrous; like Satan at the core of darkness, Iago will help bring about a monstrous birth. By Act 4, Othello describes to Desdemona that the fountain of his being, his heart, is now no better than a ‘cistern for foul toads to knot and gender in’ (4. 2. 63-64).
Othello’s own heart having become corrupt is now no more than black areas of repulsion and disgust at physical love and of monstrous fantasies about women. An addition theme in the play is mans distorted view of love. Rodrigo in Act 2 describes Desdemona as ‘full of most blest condition’ (2. 1. 247), and the idea of an affair with Cassio as impossible. Yet the men easily accept Desdemona’s supposed adultery.
Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, changes from protective love for his pure Desdemona-‘of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion blush’d at her self’ (1. 3. 98-99) -to utter revulsion from her assertiveness revealed by her elopement-‘I had rather to adopt a child than get it’ (1. 3.
Iago attempts to identify with the others’ proclaimed (albeit fickle) love for Desdemona-‘now I do love her too’ (2. 1. 267), although this love is immediately contradicted with intentions of lust and revenge. The war between his supposed love for Desdemona and his desire to destroy Othello drives him to resolve the conflict by turning her virtue ‘into pitch’ (2.
Othello’s internal conflict is just the opposite. He murders his wife, Desdemona, to “lovingly” redeem her from degradation. Opposing ly, Desdemona loves Othello unconditionally and whole hearted ly; she consecrates herself to him entirely.
In his analysis of the popular Shakespearean play Othello, Tale of the Moor of Venice, Champion focuses most of his criticism on Othello s naive ways and the evil, which Iago portrays. According to Champion, Othello is heroic and noble, but naively egotistic. (253) This is shown when Othello easily believes Iago s foolish lies about Desdemona s infidelity with Othello s true and loyal friend ...
Unfortunately, Iago’s counterfeit love provides him with power which Desdemona’s pure love cannot counteract. Thus true love is dismantled by the semblance of the love of friendship, which itself soon dissolves. Trust, monstrosity of the human soul and love are three themes which permeate Shakespeare’s Othello. By exploring these ideas, Shakespeare illustrates his perceptions of the human condition.