Othello’s Diversity of Imagery Essay

Othello’s Diversity of Imagery Essay

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Othello’s Diversity of Imagery  

 
   The diverse imagery found in Shakespeare’s drama Othello represents a world all by itself. And this world of imagery contributes to the prevailing sentiment of pain and suffering and unpleasantness.

 

There is no shortage of imagery in the play; this is for certain. Critic Caroline Spurgeon in “Shakespeare’s Imagery and What it Tells Us” sorts through the plethora of imagery in the play:

 

The main image in Othello is that of animals in action, preying upon one another, mischievous, lascivious, cruel or suffering, and through these, the general sense of pain and unpleasantness is much increased and kept constantly before us. More than half the animal images in the play are Iago’s, and all these are contemptuous or repellent: a plague of flies, a quarrelsome dog, the recurrent image of bird-snaring, leading asses by the nose, a spider catching a fly, beating an offenceless dog, wild cats, wolves, goats and monkeys.

To these Othello adds his pictures of foul toads breeding in a cistern, summer flies in the shambles, the ill-boding raven over the infected house, a toad in a dungeon, the monster ‘too hideous to be shown,’ bird-snaring again, aspics’ tongues, crocodiles’ tears, and his reiteration of goats and monkeys.’ In addition, [. . .] . (79)

 

The play’s imagery is oftentimes reflective of the fortunes of the protagonist. As the Moor’s status declines, the quality of the imagery in the play declines. In The Riverside Shakespeare Frank Kermode explains the relationship between imagery and Othello’s jealousy:

 

It is very important to see that Othello’s self-estimate – “one not easily jealious, but, being wrought, / Perplexed in the extreme” (V.ii.345-...


... middle of paper ...


...rizona Quarterly (Spring 1956), pp.5-16.

 

Kermode, Frank. “Othello, the Moor of Venice.” The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1974.

 

Mack, Maynard. Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.

 

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.

 

Spurgeon, Caroline. “Shakespeare’s Imagery and What it Tells Us.” Shakespearean Tragedy. Ed. D. F. Bratchell. New York: Routledge, 1990.

 

Wilson, H. S. On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy. Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1957.

 

 

 

 

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