Essay on Themes from Othello by William Shakespeare

Essay on Themes from Othello by William Shakespeare

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Themes from Othello by William Shakespeare


At times Shakespeare can become to complex, but in Othello he seems to simplify a number of his themes. The four themes or ideas that will be discussed are easily explainable. Jealousy, brotherly love, the handkerchief, and reputation and honor are very important topics Shakespeare approaches.
Jealousy is a prominent factor in Othello. It is first shown when Iago is
overlooked for a promotion. Iago shows his jealousy of Cassio being made a
Lieutenant. "Preferment goes by letter and affection, and not by old
gradation…" (1.1.37-38). Iago also complains that he was the Moor's "ancient" and should not have been passed up for the promotion.
Iago also shows his jealousy for Othello. "For that I do suspect the lusty Moor hath leaped into my seat, the thought whereof doth…gnaw my innards…" (2.1.296-298). This quote from his speech shows that Iago thinks that Othello has slept with his wife. He goes on to prove is jealousy by saying he will take him "wife for wife".
Along with jealousy, Shakespeare uses brotherly love as a theme. "Whether I in any just term am affined to love the Moor." (1.1.40-41). After saying he loves the Moor, Iago goes on to say he is going to use that love for his own deeds. "Do well thrive by them, and when they have lined their coats, Do themselves homage…such a one do I profess myself." (1.1.54-57)
In contrast to this selfish, pretend love, Brabantio shows his love for Othello before Othello marries his daughter. This love comes out in Act one scene three when Brabantio accuses Othello of stealing Desdemona by poisoning her or using magic. "Her father loved me, oft invited me, Still questioned me the story ...


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...s jealous tendencies toward Cassio and Othello. This jealousy leads to his death. Iago is again present when brotherly love is brought up, but Iago's love for Othello and Cassio is an imaginary love. This love he uses for his own benefits.
While Iago has a pretend love, Othello has a genuine love for Iago and Cassio. This love is what tries to bring the characters together. The handkerchief is a clever object used to put a twist in the story. When Desdemona accidentally loses it, she is technically sentenced to die. Lastly reputation and honor is used along with appearances and reality. Iago has a good reputation with no true honor, hence his appearance against what is reality on the inside. Reputation is needed to succeed in this time reference. All of the above elements have an importance and that importance is what makes this a great piece of work.

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