The Power of Language in Shakespeare's Othello

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The Power of Language in Othello In Othello, Shakespeare explores the relationship between words and events. Spoken thought, in the play, has all the power of action; speaking about an event will make that event become reality for those who hear - it will affect reality as if that event had taken place. Shakespeare demonstrates the power of words poignantly through Othello's monologues. Othello struggles with the reality that Iago creates for him. When Othello speaks, he reveals that he is unable to stop himself from carrying out acts that Iago's and his own words have prophesied and initiated. Othello's monologues further demonstrate that even the knowledge of the power of words cannot protect the characters from the consequences which the words demand. Speaking about an event is prophecy in Othello, but it is more than just an objective foretelling of the future. Words become the all powerful initiators of action, once spoken they cannot be counter-acted , they alone determine the course of the future. Othello's monologue before he murders Desdemona is an excellent passage to study Shakespeare's thesis of how words relate to action. 7 Put out the light, and then put out the light! 8 If I quench thee, thou flaming minister, 9 I can again thy former light restore 10 Should I repent me. But once put out thy light, 11 Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature, 12 I know not where is that Promethean heat 13 That can thy former light relume: when I have plucked the 14 rose 15 I cannot give it vital growth again, 16 It needs must wither. Ö (Othello, 5.2.7-... ... middle of paper ... ...d the destinies of others. Shakespeare's language in all of his writing is incredibly forceful, but in Othello he makes a statement about the powerful impact the spoken word has on reality. It is a message of responsibility and warning, Othello is a tragedy of powerful words spoken wantonly. Works Cited and Consulted Campbell, Lily B. Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroes. New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 1970. Di Yanni, Robert. “Character Revealed Through Dialogue.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Literature. N. p.: Random House, 1986. Muir, Kenneth. Introduction. William Shakespeare: Othello. New York: Penguin Books, 1968. Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos.
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