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Othello by Shakespeare
William’s Shakespeare’s Othello is a tragedy in which Othello is the protagonist, Moorish general serving the land of Venice. Iago takes revenge from Othello because he promotes Cassio to lieutenant. He uses his criminal mind to play tricks on Othello and under his influence; Othello kills his beautiful wife Desdemona and commits suicide himself. The play has several meanings and messages, and it is difficult to isolate one. It deals with racism, manipulation, and jealousy. Jealousy is the main factor and play is centered on its dangers and how it destroys lives. Iago in his jealousy convinces Othello that his beloved wife is cheating on him. Jealousy takes many forms in the play, and eventually, Othello kills himself and his wife. The strong message play conveys the dangers of jealousy and to what extent it can take to humans.
Racism is another theme in Othello; he is considered an outsider and faces the impacts of racism. Desdemona’s father is also against her interracial marriage. The play also touches the theme of gender relationships and tells how women are considered as men property. Male characters in the play consider women as inherently promiscuous. Hatred is also one of the themes of the play. Iago plans the whole conspiracy out of his hatred and jealousy. The play also gives a message of manipulations and how powerful it can be which, convinces Othello that his wife has been unfaithful. Furthermore, marriage is portrayed as tantamount to death. Both wives in the play are treated unfairly and are subjected to abuse from their husbands. Other themes of identity, warfare, etc. have been displayed. Another message the play gives is the importance of not believing in unconfirmed rumors. The entire play is propelled by gossips, rumors, and Othello's belief in rumors result in the death of his wife and himself.
To convey all the messages and themes, Shakespeare makes use of narrative and literary techniques. To strengthen his argument, the information presented to the audience is in dramatic style, which keeps the audience in suspense. Dramatic Irony is one of the most noticeable literary technique. Shakespeare conveys the details to the audience of which they are ignorant. The audience knows how selfish the “honest” Iago is. The audience also feels emotions for the characters of the play. The audience is aware of Desdemona's innocence and watches as Iago manipulates Othello and persuades that he has "ocular proof" of her disloyalty. The term “honest Iago” (Shakespeare and Russ, 184), is used symbolically and reveals a contradiction in his representations of himself.
To keep the suspense in play and take the audience to the ultimate outcome of jealousy Shakespeare uses the techniques of foreshadowing. In act 1 when Brabantio warns Othello and says, “She has deceived her father and may thee” (Shakespeare and Russ, 76). Desdemona is guilty of trust and loyalty, and Othello's own insecurities contribute to it. In addition, at some points, all characters rhetorically speak of death that they may encounter. To convey the message of race and how Blacks are treated like animals, Shakespeare employs animal imagery when Iago says, “an old black ram is tupping your white ewe” (Shakespeare and Russ, 85). As the audience has not yet met Othello, his visual image is created which is insulting and discriminatory. When Iago makes Othello aware of jealousy “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy” (Shakespeare and Russ, 18, 120), is also an excellent example of imagery from play. He conveys the power of jealous.
The narrative technique Shakespeare uses to create the defined situations in which audience is suspicious of what will happen next and must wait for the conclusion. Othello last speech before he kills himself is the narrative which tells how much he loved Desdemona and he has done harm to her and his state unknowingly and declares himself an enemy of the state "turbaned Turk” (Shakespeare and Russ, 193). He also expresses that he had internalized the racist ideas about him and told the outcome when society calls a man “savage."
Shakespeare, William, and Russ McDonald. The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice. New York: Penguin Books, 2001. Print.
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