The True Meaning of the Handkerchief

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Othello, the Moor of Venice is a drama that is solely built around many characters interpretation of symbolism. The handkerchief that is given to Desdemona from Othello plays a critical role in the play because of its symbolism. Along with the individual symbolism and significance of the handkerchief, it also plays a role in different interpretations made by many characters. The characters interpretation of the handkerchief in the drama plays a critical role in analyzing the meanings of the symbol. The handkerchief in the drama symbolizes many things to many different characters; Othello, Desdemona, and Iago have different interpretations on the meaning of the handkerchief, all of which are portrayed to the audience by Shakespeare. The background of the handkerchief plays a critical role in analyzing the meaning of the symbol. In the drama, Othello describes the background of the handkerchief and how he received the handkerchief to the audience. In Othello’s description of the handkerchief, the audience learns that “there is magic in the web of it”, it being the handkerchief that he once received from his mother (3.4.65). Also, the audience is told that Othello’s mother received the handkerchief from an Egyptian gypsy who told her that if she kept it, it would “make her amiable and subdue my father Entirely to her love” (3.4.). However, if Othello’s mother was to lose the handkerchief or to make a gift of it, “my father’s eye Should hold her loathed and his spirits should hunt after new fancies” (3.4). From the description that Othello gave the audience, many can learn that the handkerchief was an important role in the family and that the woman who held it, or had possession of it, held it dearly. Othello’s mother held the handke... ... middle of paper ... ... a critical role in the drama. The interpretation of the symbolism of the handkerchief is the sole role in the drama Othello, the Moor of Venice, however, the handkerchief means and symbolizes something different for each main character in the play, Othello, Desdemona, and Iago. Works Cited Ardolino, Frank. "Pinter's “Betrayal” And Shakespeare's “Othello”." Explicator 65.1 (2006): 50-53. Humanities Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 22 Mar. 2014. Doloff, Steven. "Shakespeare 'Othello.' (English Dramatist)." The Explicator 1 (1997): 12. Academic OneFile. Web. 29 Mar. 2014. Mazzeno, Laurence W. "William Shakespeare." Magill’S Survey Of World Literature, Revised Edition (2009): 1-10. Literary Reference Center. Web. 31 Mar. 2014. "Othello." Drama for Students. Ed. Anne Marie Hacht. Vol. 20. Detroit: Gale, 2005. 136-165. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
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