Copious Imagery within the Tragedy Othello

2096 Words9 Pages
Copious Imagery within the Tragedy Othello In the Bard of Avon’s tragic drama Othello there resides imagery of all types, sizes and shapes. Let us look at the playwright’s offering in this area. In the essay “Wit and Witchcraft: an Approach to Othello” Robert B. Heilman discusses the significance of imagery within this play: Reiterative language is particularly prone to acquire a continuity of its own and to become “an independent part of the plot” whose effect we can attempt to gauge. It may create “mood” or “atmosphere”: the pervasiveness of images of injury, pain, and torture in Othello has a very strong impact that is not wholly determined by who uses the images. But most of all the “system of imagery” introduces thoughts, ideas, themes – elements of the meaning that is the author’s final organization of all his materials. (333) The vulgar imagery of the ancient dominate the opening of the play. Francis Ferguson in “Two Worldviews Echo Each Other” describes the types of imagery used by the antagonist when he “slips his mask aside” while awakening Brabantio: Iago is letting loose the wicked passion inside him, as he does from time to time throughout the play, when he slips his mask aside. At such moments he always resorts to this imagery of money-bags, treachery, and animal lust and violence. So he expresses his own faithless, envious spirit, and, by the same token, his vision of the populous city of Venice – Iago’s “world,” as it has been called. . . .(132) Standing outside the senator’s home late at night, Iago uses imagery within a lie to arouse the occupant: “ Awake! what, ho, Brabantio! thieves! thieves! thieves! / Look to your house, your daughter and your bags!” When the senator appears at the window, the ancient continues with coarse imagery of animal lust: “Even now, now, very now, an old black ram / Is topping your white ewe,” and “you'll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse; you'll have your nephews neigh to you; you'll have coursers for cousins and gennets for germans.” Brabantio, judging from Iago’s language, rightfully concludes that the latter is a “profane wretch” and a “villain.” When Iago returns to the Moor, he resorts to violence in his description of the senator, saying that “nine or ten times / I had thought to have yerk'd him here under the ribs.

More about Copious Imagery within the Tragedy Othello

Open Document