Imagery in Othello

1781 Words Jul 31st, 2000 8 Pages
The function of imagery in the mid-sixteenth century play Othello by William Shakespeare is to aid characterisation and define meaning in the play. The antagonist Iago is defined through many different images, Some being the use of poison and soporifics, sleeping agents, to show his true evil and sadistic nature. Othello's character is also shaped by much imagery such as the animalistic, black and white, and horse images which indicates his lustful, sexual nature. Characterisation of women is heavily dictated by imagery used to show the patriarchal gender system of the time. Some of this imagery is that of hobbyhorses and the like showing that they, Desdemona and Emelia, were nothing better than common whores. Othello's view at the start …show more content…
Female characters in the play Othello are also determined to a degree by images. Women are not treated with any great deal of respect throughout the play because of the phallocentric society of the time and this shows through the imagery portrayed of women throughout the play. Prostitute imagery plays a heavy part in depicting women through the play with women being called many terms such as "Hobby-horse(s)", "Minx(s)" and "Minion(s)". Desdemona, Emelia and Bianca are all termed some of these names throughout the length of the play. Through the disregard for the emotions and feelings of women by men in the play we can see how it agreed with the patriarchal views on women of its contemporary audience. Women throughout the play are treated as objects by there male counterparts. This is evident through the death of all but one woman, Bianca. They die because of men's need to have them as a possession that they can control and if they can't control them what use to them are they. Iago takes his revenge out on Emelia, his wife and property by killing her even as she speaks. This imagery of the silence and what it represents is that women should be silent no matter what, because if the silence is not kept it may be the end as was the case for Emelia. The image that leads to the demise of Desdemona is that of the strawberry
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