Animality and Beauty in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

Animality and Beauty in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

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Othello - Animality and Beauty 


At the most superficial level, the view of Shakespeare’s Othello as ‘animality and darkness’ in opposition to ‘beauty and light’ seems justified if the audience considers the 'motiveless malignity' of Iago against the pure, seemingly perfect union of Othello and Desdemona. This assumes that the 'animality and darkness' is to be found in the villain and the beauty and light in the love of the tragic hero and heroine as well as in the latter's physical beauty. There is ample textual evidence for this most basic of views, most effectively demonstrated in an early conversation between Iago and Othello's lieutenant , Cassio, by all accounts an honourable gentleman, in IIiii. The subject of the discussion is Desdemona, whose earlier declaration of love for her lord and passionate exchange with Othello suggest she can be seen as the 'beauty and light'

in Scragg's quotation. There is a clear contrast in the language of Iago and Cassio:

Cassio: 'She is the most exquisite lady.

Iago: 'And, I'll warrant her, full of game.'

Whereas Cassio sp...

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