Essay on The Major Themes in William Shakespeare's Othello

Essay on The Major Themes in William Shakespeare's Othello

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The Major Themes in William Shakespeare's Othello

Irony and double meaning are the basis and patterns of Othello, in
which nothing is what it seems to be; white is black and generally the
characters and themes have contradictory aspects. Irony is one of the
characteristics of tragedy as the outcome, although inevitable, is
unfair. In Act 1 scene 1, Shakespeare sets up the main themes of:
jealousy, revenge, xenophobia and racism, love, outward appearance and
inward reality and deception.

Act 1 Scene 1 is laced with irony, which mainly centres around the
character of Iago. Although Iago openly expresses his desire to seek
vengeance, Shakespeare presents his character in such a way that the
audience are never sure of the validity of what he says. When he
speaks to Roderigo, he seems to be open about his insincerity when he
says 'I am not what I am'. This leaves the audience feeling aware from
the beginning of the play that appearances of Iago are not what they
seem and introduces the audience to his devious nature as he attacks
Othello's character to others but appears to be a faithful friend at
the same time. Iago's deceitful way of defaming people is a major
theme which continues throughout the play. It is ironic that Iago and
Roderigo are willing to annihilate Othello's character, when both of
them use deception to their own ends. Iago is clearly manipulative,
and Roderigo is dishonest and corrupt as he is willing to pay Iago to
promote his suitability as a suitor to Brabantio which is ironic as,
although appearing to be helping Roderigo, he is actually deceiving
him as well. Iago's deception of the other characters continues as h...

... middle of paper ...

... and conflict A theme which runs throughout
the play. Desdemona exerts her power and independence in a patriarchal
society and demonstrates that she is able to chose her own husband, as
Brabantino observes, 'O, she deceives me'. From the reaction of other
characters it is clear that their marriage is going to cause
disruption throughout the play because they act so strongly against

The action and the themes introduced by Shakespeare in Act one Scene
one, are very important as they set the scene for the rest of the play
and they give the audience an insight to the characters and the events
that are to come. Iagos scheming nature and his jealousy are
introduced which leads him to the revenge and corruption which is one
of the causes of the downfall of the other characters and that tragic
events that take place.

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