Themes from Othello by William Shakespeare Essays

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Themes from Othello by William Shakespeare

At times Shakespeare can become to complex, but in Othello he seems to simplify a number of his themes. The four themes or ideas that will be discussed are easily explainable. Jealousy, brotherly love, the handkerchief, and reputation and honor are very important topics Shakespeare approaches.
Jealousy is a prominent factor in Othello. It is first shown when Iago is overlooked for a promotion. Iago shows his jealousy of Cassio being made a
Lieutenant. "Preferment goes by letter and affection, and not by old gradation…" (1.1.37-38). Iago also complains that he was the Moor's "ancient" and should not have been passed up for the promotion. Iago also shows his jealousy
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The only real love is between Othello and Iago, Othello and Cassio, and Brabantio and Othello. Iago is a distrustful character, who again uses an imaginary brotherly love with Cassio for his own vile deeds. "I protest in the sincerity of love and honest kindness." (2.3.321). Iago pretends to give advice for Cassio to confide in Desdemona. Little does Cassio know but Iago wants him to do this so he can use the situation against Desdemona when he tells Othello of her infidelity. Desdemona's infidelity is mistakenly proven by the use of an idea by Shakespeare. The idea is the handkerchief. This special handkerchief is Desdemona's downfall and is used to bring out the truth of her death. It is first used to suggest Desdemona's affair with Cassio when Othello is already in the throes of jealousy. Then at the conclusion of the play it is used to bring out the truth. "That handkerchief thou speak'st of I found by fortune and did give to my husband…he begged of me to steal't" (5.2.232-236) Even though the lost handkerchief meant her death, Desdemona was exulted afterwards with that very item. Shakespeare used this device cleverly. He twisted it into the plot so that Desdemona was left completely innocent, but yet had to lose her life because it drove her husband mad. Iago and his deception of reputation and honor drove Othello insane. Iago had a good reputation, but no true honor. This is an example of
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