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Use of Imagery in Othello Essay

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Before the ability to read words, pictures can be used to communicate to babies or even the illiterate. Pictures are universal. They will be seen as the same language no matter what part of the globe you are in. A good author can create pictures through his words. A great author can create the same imagery for centuries to come. The function of imagery in the mid-sixteenth century play Othello by William Shakespeare is to add characterization and eventually define meaning in the play. The antagonist Iago is defined through various images, some being the use of poison and sleeping aids, to show his true evil nature. Othello’s character is also shaped by imagery such as the black and white, animalistic, and horse images, which indicates his lust and sexual nature. Characterization of women is heavily dictated by imagery in the play used to show the parental gender system of the time. Examples of this imagery is that of hobbyhorses and the alike showing that Desdemona and Emelia, were nothing better than present day whores. Othello’s view at the start of the play is contradicting of these parental views with Desdemona and Othellos’ true love overcoming such stereotypes and we are told this through imagery of fair warriors and that alike them. The wages of deceit is also shown through imagery of spiders and webs, uniforms and other images. Also, the power of jealousy is very well defined by imagery in the story. The green-eyed monster, handkerchief, and cuckolding imagery are very prominent in the defining this theme.
The devilish character of Iago is depicted very well though different types of imagery. His sadistic intent is depicted through this imagery “I’ll pour pestilence into his ear” (II iii 356) reffering to Othello, says Ia...


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...er man. Emelia, who was the poor wife of the evil Iago, who holds the burden of his devilish nature. Imagery is also key in understanding the main issues of the play such as the jealousy found in all men through the examples such as that of the green eyed monster and then the horns of the cuckold. (tighten up)
Imagery can be found in all areas of this seventeenth century play. Shakespeare creates hidden imagery like any other great author, or in his case playwright. Shakespeare was something special to still be read and studied hundreds of years later. This play could be studied crucially many times and there could still be hidden imagery and new themes picked up every time. What Shakespeare created was a true work of art that shows his great brilliance.



Works Cited

Kennedy, X. J., Dana Gioia, and Nina Revoyr. Literature for Life. Boston: Pearson, 2013. Print.


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