How many themes course through the Shakespearean tragedy Othello? Let us in this essay analyze the variety and depth of the themes in this play.
Lily B. Campbell in Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroes indicates that hate is the theme on which this play opens:
It is then on a theme of hate that the play opens. It is a hate of inveterate anger. It is a hate that is bound up with envy. Othello has preferred to be his lieutenant a military theorist, one Michael Cassio, over the experienced soldier Iago, to whom has fallen instead the post of “his Moorship’s ancient”. Roderigo questions Iago:
Thou told’st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.
And the reply is a torrent of proof of the hatred for Othello that has almost exceeded the envy of Cassio because he possesses the prize which Iago has sought to obtain for himself. (153)
Is hatred the only theme in the work? Hardly. Campbell categorizes Othello as a “study in jealousy”:
Othello has suffered less in its modern interpretation than any other of Shakespeare’s tragedies, it would seem. So insistently did Shakespeare keep this tragedy unified about the theme of jealousy and the central victims of the passion, so obviously did he mould his plot about the black Moor and the cunning Iago and the victims of their jealousy that no interpreter has been able to ignore the obvious intention of the author. Yet if we study the contemporary interpretations of the passion here portrayed, we find that Shakespeare was following in detail a broader and more significant analysis of the passion than has in modern days been understood. The play is, however, clearly a study in jealousy and in jealousy as it affects those of ...
... middle of paper ...
...are: Four Tragedies. New York: Bantam Books, 1980.
Campbell, Lily B. Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroes. New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 1970.
Ferguson, Francis. “Two Worldviews Echo Each Other.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Shakespeare: The Pattern in His Carpet. N.p.: n.p., 1970.
Gardner, Helen. “Othello: A Tragedy of Beauty and Fortune.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from “The Noble Moor.” British Academy Lectures, no. 9, 1955.
Jorgensen, Paul A. William Shakespeare: The Tragedies. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1985.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Jordyn Graham Mrs. Ruth Zollars ENGL 113-11 December 1, 2017 Analysis of the Themes in Shakespeare’s Tragedy Othello One of the things most interesting, in my opinion, about Shakespeare is that, he finds a way to play on the emotions every audience member in all of his plays. In Othello, Shakespeare starts by using the prejudice that the English people have for African Americans as well as the hate the English people have for the Spanish. Othello really sweeps the audience into it from the beginning.... [tags: Othello, Iago, William Shakespeare, Black people]
1989 words (5.7 pages)
- Othello: Themes How many themes course through the Shakespearean tragedy Othello. Let us in this essay analyze the variety and depth of the themes in this play. Lily B. Campbell in Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroes indicates that hate is the theme on which this play opens: It is then on a theme of hate that the play opens. It is a hate of inveterate anger. It is a hate that is bound up with envy. Othello has preferred to be his lieutenant a military theorist, one Michael Cassio, over the experienced soldier Iago, to whom has fallen instead the post of “his Moorship’s ancient”.... [tags: Othello essays]
1949 words (5.6 pages)
- Desdemona and Othello Though her world was fall apart with Iago creating false images of an affair between her and Cassio to Othello, Desdemona strangely remains kind, innocent, and willing to grant grace. When Cassio approaches her for help, she quickly agrees to help her old friend. While she discusses relationships with Emilia, she rejects all thoughts of infidelity. She had every reason to fight Othello when Othello carries out her murder, yet she resist only a little, She responses, “The Lord have mercy on me…[and] mercy on you too” to Othello’s “Thou diest” (Othello 5.2.50; 71-74).... [tags: Hamlet, Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Othello]
1695 words (4.8 pages)
- The Variety of Themes in Othello In the Shakespearean tragedy Othello the number and description of themes is open to discussion. With the help of literary critics, we can analyze this subject in detail. In the essay “Wit and Witchcraft: an Approach to Othello” Robert B. Heilman discusses the ancient’s instinctive reaction to the love-theme of the play: Before coming directly to the forming of the love-theme that differentiates Othello from other Shakespeare plays that utilize the same theme, I turn arbitrarily to Iago to inspect a distinguishing mark of his of which the relevance to thematic form in the play will appear a little later.... [tags: Othello essays]
2331 words (6.7 pages)
- The Numerous Themes in Othello The Shakespearean tragedy Othello contains a number of themes; their relative importance and priority is debated by literary critics. In this essay let us examine the various themes and determine which are dominant and which subordinate. A. C. Bradley, in his book of literary criticism, Shakespearean Tragedy, describes the theme of sexual jealousy in Othello: But jealousy, and especially sexual jealousy, brings with it a sense of shame and humiliation.... [tags: Othello essays]
1724 words (4.9 pages)
- Othello: its Themes In the Shakespearean tragedy Othello how many themes are there. And which ones predominate. This paper seeks to elucidate the reader on this subject. In her book, Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies, Maynard Mack comments on the seeming predominance of the theme of loss in the drama: In any event, what comes to us most forcefully from the stage in Othello is not mystery but the agony of loss, loss all the more tragic, in some instances, for not being inevitable.... [tags: Othello essays]
2155 words (6.2 pages)
- Othello’s Diverse Themes Othello is one of William Shakespeare’s tragedies which thrives on a group of themes. Let’s see if we can sort them out and determine the dominant ones from the lesser ones. The pain which the audience experiences is no accident, but rather one of the themes written into the play. Critic Caroline Spurgeon in “Shakespeare’s Imagery and What it Tells Us” explains the significant contribution which imagery makes to the theme of pain and unpleasantness running through 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 an... [tags: Othello essays Shakespeare Papers]
1951 words (5.6 pages)
- The Numerous Themes in Othello The Shakespearean tragedy Othello contains a number of themes; their relative importance and priority is debated by literary critics. In this essay let us examine the various themes and determine which are dominant and which subordinate. A. C. Bradley, in his book of literary criticism, Shakespearean Tragedy, describes the theme of sexual jealousy in Othello: In the second place, there is no subject more exciting than sexual jealousy rising to the pitch of passion; and there can hardly be any spectacle at once so engrossing and so painful as that of a great nature suffering the torment of this passion, and driven by it to a crime which is a... [tags: Othello essays]
2513 words (7.2 pages)
- Themes in Shakespeare’s Othello Throughout Shakespeare’s play, Othello, there are many themes interwoven to describe the author’s perspective of the true nature of a man’s soul. Three themes critical to the play are doubt versus trust, monstrous imagery and the fallible love of man. One central theme of the play is the major contrast of doubt versus trust. For whatever reason, Othello's trust of Desdemona is too weak to resist Iago's accusations. As happens in many of Shakespeare’s works, miscommunication and mistrust lead to "prepost'rous conclusions" (1.... [tags: essays research papers]
937 words (2.7 pages)
- Honor, along with envy, is probably the biggest theme in Othello. It is either present or non-existent within each character in the play. Moreover, honor versus reputation is a prominent theme as well. Honor is having personal values and morals. Also, it's doing what's right no matter what the circumstances. Reputation is simply what others think of you. What others think of you is not necessarily always truthful. Iago is a perfect example that the difference between reputation and honor is like the difference between appearance and reality.... [tags: Shakespeare Othello]
908 words (2.6 pages)