Othello Themes

Appearance Vs. Reality Act 1: We first see the theme of Appearance vs. Reality come up in scene 1 of Act 1 when Iago says” I am not what I am.” (Act 1, scene 1, line 71)What this means is that Iago is not the person that everyone persives him to be. Which shows the theme of appearance versus reality because what we know as the readers is different from what the characters in the play know him to be. Later in scene 2 we see that Iago is now trying to warn Othello about Brabantino.”I following him, I follow myself. Heaven is my judge….” (Act 1, scene 1, line 64)In this line we see that Iago the only reason that he is going to still act loyal to Othello is to execute his plan of destroying his life. And in reality he will only be acting that way to Othello so he can get close to him to manipulate his thoughts and feelings. “Farewell, for I must leave you. It seems not meet nor wholesome to my plaeTo be producted, as if I stay I shall,Against the Moor…”(Act 1, scene 1, line 161) In this line we see that Iago is telling Roderigo that he should stay because then Othello may think something is up. This shows us that Iago is going to put up two different faces in order to get revenge. He is going to act like Othello’s friend just so he can get close enough to manipulate him. “Thus do I ever make my fool my purse. For I mine own gained knowledge…”(Act 1, scene 3, line 426)In this line Iago shows his other side because he is basically saying that is how you get money from fools. This shows us that he is not Roderigos friend just someone that he is using to get money and execute his plan.”`You see this fellow that is gone before. He`s a solider fit to stand by CaesareAnd give direction….”(Act 2, scene 3, line 125)In this line Iago is talking badly about Cassio to Montano and this shows his split personalities around different people becauase previously in the scene Iago was being nice to Cassio and encouraging him to drink to celebrate Othello`s marriage and the defeat of the Turks. And now he is saying that Cassio has a drinking problem.”I do not know. Friends all but now, even now,In quarter and in terms like bride and groomDivesting them for bed; and then but now,As if some planet had unwitted men,Swords out….”(Act 2, scene 3, line 191)In this quote this shows that Iago is not what he seems because is acting like an innocent bystander to the brawl that took place between Cassio and Montano when in reality he started the whole thing when he told Roderigo to annoy Cassio.”What are you hurt, lieutenant”(Act 2, scene 3, line 278)This shows appearance versus reality because Iago is acting all nice and comforting to Cassio when in reality Iago is the reason that Cassio got fired and is now feeling hurt about it.
Revenge & Jealousy “One Micheal Cassio, a Florentine, A fellow almost damned in a a fair wife…” (Act 1, scene 1, line 21)This line we see that Iago is very jealous that he did not get the promotion. Iago claims that he has more expereience and is more qualified for the job then Cassio. He says that Cassio is someone that only talks talk but does not actally know how to do it and someone that only knows about combat from books. Clearly, Iago is jealous the Cassio got the job and uses that as one of the reasons to get revenge.” I hate the MoorAnd it is thought abroad that ‘twist my sheetsHe had done my office: I know not if’t be true;But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,Will do as if for surety.” (Act 1, scene 30, line 429)This quote shows us that on top of giving Cassio the promotion Iago also hates Othello because there is a rumour that he slept with his wife Emilia. However he says he is not completely sure if that is true but he decides to take revenge by ruining Othellos life anyway. So this quote shows another reason why Iago wants to ruin Othello and also shows us that Iago could be jealous of Othello’s supposed affiar with Emilia.”After some time, to abuse Othello’s (ear)That he is too familiar with his wife.He hath a person and a smooth disposeTo be suspected, framed to make women false.The Moor is of a free and open nature”(Act 1, scene 3, line 437)In this line said by Iago we see his plan to destroy Othello by making him believe that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio and Othello will be lead easily because he is very gullible. Iago’s plan is to plant a seed of jealously in Othello’s mind so he will fire Cassio and ruin his happiness with Desdemona.”O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;It is the green-eyed monster which doth mockThe meat it feeds on. “(Act 3, scene 3,line 195)In this line said by Iago we see that he is good at manipulating Othello. In order to pave the path for Othello’s jealous thoughts Iago pretends to warn Othello not to be a jealous man because it will only end up destroying the life of the man that falls for it.”[The Moor already changes with my poison;]Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons.Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,But with a little act upon the blood.Burn like the mines of sulfur.” (Act 3, scene 3, line 373)In this quote said by Iago he realizes the unbelievable power of jealousy, and he claims that he has poisoned Othello’s mind by suggesting Desdemona may be unfaithful. He also says that once Othello gets jealous that it will take over him and he won’t be able to stop thinking about.”But jealous souls will not be answered so.They are not ever jealous for the cause,But jealous for they’re jealous. It is a monsterBegot upon itself, born on itself. (Act 3, scene 4, line 180)In this quote Emilia describes the nature of jealousy, and describes it like a monster just how Iago earlier in the play described it as a monster growing and multiplying infecting the persons mind.”Within these three days let me hear thee sayThat Cassio`s not alive.”(Act 3, scene 4, line 539)This line shows jealousy and reveng because we can see that Othello is telling Iago to kill Cassio for him to get back at Cassio for sleeping with his wife.
Reason Vs. Passion “I will incontinently drown myself”(Act 1, scene 3, line 346)This line shows reason versus passion because Roderigo is letting his passion for Desdemona cloud his judgement and since he can sees that she truly loves Othello he wants to kill him self out of sadness.”My blood begins my safer guides to rule,And passion, having my best judgement collied…”(Act 2, scene 3, line 219)Othello says in this line that his angry is taking over her reason, and that is because the brawl distrubed his consummation of his marriage.
Reputation & Honour ” Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago my reputation”(Act 2, scene 3, line 281)This line said by Cassio shows his sadness and agony for losing his reputation after his drunken brawl with Montano.”There is more sense in that than in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving.”(Act 2, scene 3, line 286)Iago is telling Cassio that reputation is useless and something useless that people cherish. Iago’s objective is to play different sides and manipulate people to his advantage.”Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,Is the immediate jewel of their souls Who steals my purse steals trash…”(Act 3, scene 3, line 182)This line shows Iago telling Othello that reputation is very important because even if someone steals your money, if you still have your reputation you still are rich. The ironic thing about Iago saying this is that before he told Roderigo that reputation is someting that people use to hide their true intentions.
Masculinity vs Femininity “I will not charm my tongue. I am bound to speak.” (Act 5, scene 2, line 220)In this quote Emilia disobeys her husband and completely goes against the norm of the Elizebethan era where women are suppose to be submissive and soft spoken. This shows her masculinity and strength.(Act 3, scene 3, lines 120-318)In this part of the scene we see that Iago is manipulating Othello with his language and being gossipy like a women would be. In this part of the play a feminine side of Iago is shown.”Why, how now, ho!/ From whence ariseth…” (Act 2,scene 3, line 181)In this quote said by Othello we see his masculine side because he exhibits the strong characteristics of a general and a man. Othello is taking control of the brawl between Cassio and Montano.
Racism & Color “Even now, now, very now, an old black ramIs tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise;Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you.(Act 1, scene 1, line 97)In this quote said by Iago he is using racial slurs when he awakens Brabantio with the news of his daughter marrying Othello. He is the Elizabethan notions that black men are animal-like with hyper sexual desires.”Because we come to do you serivce and yout hink we are ruffians, you’llhave your daughter covered with Barbary horse,you’ll have your nephews neigh to you, you’ll…”(Act 1, scene 1, line 123)Once again Iago is using animal imagery in his racist rant against Othello, which is rooted in the Elizabethan idea that black men and woman are inhuman.”And she, in spite of nature,Of years, of coutnry, credit, everything,To fall in love with what she feared to look on! “(Act 1, scene 3, line 114)In this line Brabantio argues that there is no way that Desdemona could have feel in love with Othello because it is unnatural for her. He says that she would never do that because she “fear’d to look on” which means she feared to look at him so there is no way that she could have fell in love with him.”And, noble signior,If virture no delighted beauty lack,Your son-in-law is far more fair than black”(Act 1, scene 3, line 327)In this line the Duke defends Othello because not everyone in Venice has the same view that Brabantino has of Othello. The Duke says that Othello is a fair man but at the same time implys that blackness is a negative thing.”Ay, there’s the point. As, to be bold with you,Not to affect many proposed matchesOf her own clime, complexion, and degree…”(Act 3, scene 3, line 268)In this line said by Iago he suggests that there is something not natural about Desdemona because she decided to marry a black man instead of a European man. Iago also makes Othello fear his status as a black Moor saying that Desdemona will eventually want a man that is similar to her race, and status.”Her name, that was a freshAs Dian’s visage, is now begrimed and black…”(Act 3, scene 3, line 441)In this line Othello expresses his feelings when he suspects Desdemona of cheating on him, he feels that his name has been soiled and now associates that with the blackness of his skin with something dirty or stained and that is something that other characters like Brabantino have been doing.
Sight and Blindness “saw Othello’s visage in his mind./ And to his honors and his valiant parts…” (Act 1, scene 3, line 287)*In this line said by Desdemona we see that she sees Othello for the person he is and not for the colour of his skin.”a pageant/ To keep us in false gaze.” (Act 1,scene3, line 23-24)*In this line people are staring out to the ocean to see the arrive of ships.”ocular proof” (Act 3, scene 3, line 412)Othello demands visual proof that Desdmeona yet Othelo believes Iago. Even though he himself did not see Cassio wiping his beard with Desdemona’s hankerchief, or actually see Cassio die in the last scene
Jealousy Jealousy 1: The play opens with a discussion of jealousy. Iago is upset because Othello selected Michael Cassio as his lieutenant. He is jealous of Cassio’s position both in the military and with Othello’s service. This initial jealousy is the catalyst for the play’s sequential plot of mixed jealousy and destruction.Jealousy 2: Brabantio is partially jealous of the Moor for stealing his daughter’s love. He no longer may be the most important man in Desdemona’s life. Furthermore, Roderigo is in love with Desdemona, and is slightly jealous of her relationship with Othello.Jealousy 3: The lovesick Roderigo has trouble with his hidden feelings for Desdemona and is jealous watching the two in love. He follows Iago’s directions easily, perhaps partially because of his jealousy of Othello’s relationship with Desdemona.Jealousy 4: Iago openly divulges his plan of destruction, which incorporates jealousy as the key factor. He intends to create a strong sense of jealousy in Othello by setting up the mirage of an affair between Desdemona and Cassio.Jealousy 5: Iago plants seeds of jealousy in Othello and then speaks of the ‘green-eyed monster’ as a force to be feared. Jealousy is personified as a monster.Jealousy 6: When Iago tells Othello of the handkerchief, he has the evidence necessary to prove Desdemona’s unfaithfulness. It is now that the jealousy sinks deep into Othello’s soul and starts to vividly destroy his psyche.Jealousy 7: Bianca, Cassio’s common lover, also becomes sick with jealousy. She sees the planted handkerchief in Cassio’s room and believes him to also have taken a lover. Her jealousy exists on a much smaller scale, but illustrates that the sentiment is universal.Jealousy 8: As the play concludes, all causes of jealousy are proved false. Desdemona was never unfaithful, but Othello realizes the truth too late. Jealousy is the source of pain and death for these tragic characters; the green-eyed monster has succeeded in killing them.
Revenge Revenge 1: Iago’s plot against Othello is partially motivated by revenge. He feels wronged because he was not made lieutenant. He is bitter and upset and wants to hurt Othello and avenge his name.Revenge 2: Brabantio craves revenge for the loss of his daughter. He takes revenge by bringing Othello before the Duke to request his imprisonment.Revenge 3: Iago develops his elaborate plot of revenge. He will implant a false sense of jealousy in Othello, thereupon destroying Othello’s relationship with Desdemona.Revenge 4: Again, Iago explains his plot. He describing his plan of action as a web in which he will catch a fly. The intricate deception all comes down to revenge.Revenge 5: Iago plans to enlist his wife, Emilia, in his plot of revenge, unbeknownst to her. The web is growing to involve more family and people of importance.Revenge 6: Emilia and Desdemona touch upon the theme of revenge lightly in this eloquent discussion. They discuss the necessary actions to take when husbands and wives are unfaithful…perhaps revenge is the appropriate course of action.Revenge 7: Othello ponders his decision to kill Desdemona,partially motivated by revenge. He believes himself to be cuckolded by Desdemona and must defend his honor. At the same time, he feels that he must defend mankind and all other men from a woman who would betray her husband so. He ultimately decides that he must end her life.Revenge 8: Othello is revenged when he injures Iago and forces him to live a life of pain. Othello avenges himself by committing suicide. He must die once he realizes what he has done. Roderigo is ultimately avenged, despite his death, when his letters are read aloud. Cassio is avenged through his promotion to General.