Use Of Imagery In Othello Essay

1961 words - 8 pages

Before the ability to read words, pictures can be used to communicate to babies or even the illiterate. Pictures are universal. They will be seen as the same language no matter what part of the globe you are in. A good author can create pictures through his words. A great author can create the same imagery for centuries to come. The function of imagery in the mid-sixteenth century play Othello by William Shakespeare is to add characterization and eventually define meaning in the play. The antagonist Iago is defined through various images, some being the use of poison and sleeping aids, to show his true evil nature. Othello’s character is also shaped by imagery such as the black and white, animalistic, and horse images, which indicates his lust and sexual nature. Characterization of women is heavily dictated by imagery in the play used to show the parental gender system of the time. Examples of this imagery is that of hobbyhorses and the alike showing that Desdemona and Emelia, were nothing better than present day whores. Othello’s view at the start of the play is contradicting of these parental views with Desdemona and Othellos’ true love overcoming such stereotypes and we are told this through imagery of fair warriors and that alike them. The wages of deceit is also shown through imagery of spiders and webs, uniforms and other images. Also, the power of jealousy is very well defined by imagery in the story. The green-eyed monster, handkerchief, and cuckolding imagery are very prominent in the defining this theme.
The devilish character of Iago is depicted very well though different types of imagery. His sadistic intent is depicted through this imagery “I’ll pour pestilence into his ear” (II iii 356) reffering to Othello, says Iago in a line as he is outlining his malicious intent and nature. This goes on throughout the play with lines like “The Moor already changes with my poison” (III iii 322) and “Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world shall medicine thee to that sweet sleep / Which tho did owdest yesterday” (III iii 327-30). His character is that of a snake thru this imagery of poisons such as a snake has and then even Lodovico refers to him as a “Viper” (V ii 281) which proves how Iago’s character is that like a snake, and in that time a snake was considered an animal of pure evil. Iago’s character is also revealed through the use of reputation imagery to Cassio and Othello. To Cassio he states “Reputation is an idle and most false imposition” (II iii 267-8) talking to Othello, he says reputation is everything to a man and he is nothing with out it. Iago also refers to the Devil in the following line. “If thou be’est a devil, I cannot kill thee.”
Othello is strongly characterized by imagery as well throughout the entirety of the play. Shakespeare also uses imagery to force the audience to believe this so called animalistic habits Othello has based off his culture and his background. As shown in, “Your daughter will be covered with a...

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