Black and White

Rebecca Birch
Mind Map by Rebecca Birch, updated more than 1 year ago
Rebecca Birch
Created by Rebecca Birch over 5 years ago


AS - Level English literature (Themes/Symbols in 'Othello') Mind Map on Black and White, created by Rebecca Birch on 03/01/2016.

Resource summary

Black and White
  1. Linking to race and is particularly evident with Othello as he is the only black character in the play
    1. Due to Othello being black, it is easier for people to associate him as being an outsider and therefore makes it easier for Iago to manipulate his reputation
      1. The contrast between black and white is made clear through the use of animal imagery throughout the play
    2. 'Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe'


      • Act 1, Scene 1
      1. A strong metaphor. Othello is degraded to evil due to the colour of his skin
      2. 'thou hast enchanted her'


        • Act 1, Scene 2
        1. Brabantio assumes that Othello must have put a spell on Desdemona for her to fall in love with him because she would never go against her own flesh and blood to marry a black man without consulting her father. Brabantio blames this on witchcraft because at the time, it was very common for black people to be blamed for witchcraft as people couldn't explain their difference in skin colour, so they must be working with the Devil
        2. 'You'll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse'


          • Act 1, Scene 1
          1. This creates the illusion that Othello is a pervert because he is an older, black man who has married a young, white woman. Othello has therefore tainted Desdemona's innocence with his 'moorishness'
          2. 'An Egyptian woman gave that handkerchief to my mother, she was a witch'


            • Act 3, Scene 4
            1. This further implants the idea of Othello being associated with witchcraft as he admits himself that he owns something that was created by a witch. This reinforces the idea that Othello has put a spell on Desdemona because he confirms that when it belong to his mother, as long as she kept it, his father would love her, but if she ever lost it, their love would die -> This is mimicked with Othello and Desdemona as when Desdemona 'loses' the handkerchief, Othello grows more jealous and ends up killing her
            2. 'Her name, that was as fresh as Dian's visage, is now begrimed and black as mine own face'


              • Act 3, Scene 3
              1. Desdemona and her reputation is no longer pure because the 'blackness' of Othello has rubbed off on her. This suggests that Othello himself believes the fact that he is black makes him a bad person because he says that her once 'fresh' name has now been 'begrimed'
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