Themes in Othello

Rebecca Hunter
Mind Map by , created about 3 years ago

The main themes portrayed by Shakespeare through the characters in Othello

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Rebecca Hunter
Created by Rebecca Hunter about 3 years ago
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Themes in Othello
1 race
1.1 Othello is portaryed as a black man at a time in Elizabethan society when other races were not accepted.

Annotations:

  • Black people especially where associated with evil, the devil as well as magic, as can be seen in Othello
1.2 This allows for Othello's insecurity on which Iago is able to build his manipulation.
1.3 Othello's race makes him work harder at being excepted accepted by society and at his reputation.

Annotations:

  • This can explain why he is overcome with jealousy and anger when he believes Des cheated on him because of his race.
2 Jealousy

Annotations:

  • "Beware, my lord of jealousy, it is the green eyed monster.." Iago Act 3.3
2.1 The play is propelled by feelings of intense jealousy. All the actions and events that unfold are as a result of jealousy.

Annotations:

  • Iago is jealous of Cassio's promotion and Othello's success in society despite his race. Othello becomes jealous because of his belief that Des. is having an affair. Roderigo is jealous that Des. chose Othello over him.
3 Deception

Annotations:

  • "I am not what I am" Iago Act 1.1
3.1 Othello is deceived by Iago into distrusting the honor of his wife and friend Cassio while believing that Iago is the honorable one

Annotations:

  • "The fellow's of exceeding honesty" Othello about I. Act3.3
3.2 Iago also deceives Roderigo of his help and simple uses him for money.

Annotations:

  • "Thus do I make my fool my purse." Act1.3
4 Love
4.1 In Othello, love is a force that overcomes large obstacles and is tripped up by small ones. It is eternal and yet derail-able.

Annotations:

  • Love provides Othello with intensity but not direction and gives Des. access to his heart but not his mind. 
4.2 Romantic Love

Annotations:

  • Othello finds that love in marriage needs time to build trust, and his enemy works too quickly for him to take that time. The immediate attraction between the couple works on passion, and Des. builds on that passion a steadfast devotion whose speed and strength Othello cannot equal.
4.3 Friendship & Love

Annotations:

  • Iago is often falsely professes love in friendship for Roderigo and Cassio and betrays them both. For Iago, love is leverage.  Des's love in friendship for Cassio is real but is misinterpretated by the jealous Othello as adulterous love.  The true friendship was Emilia's for Des, shown when she stood up witness for the honor of her dead mistress, against Iago, her lying husband, and was killed for it.
5 Power
5.1 Men & Women

Annotations:

  • Othello & Desdemona: - Othello excludes power with his role as a general in the army while Des. who is numerously described as a "fair lady" excludes submission and humbleness therefore we can see a power relationship between them, with Othello obviously holding the most power. -It could be said that Des. holds power over Othello in terms of love as jealousy over her love changes and destroys Othello.
  • Emilia and Iago: -There is a clear power struggle between this couple as Emilia holds strong feminist values and regards while Iago is a misogynist, regularly referring to women with derogatory name e.g: "whore", "wrenches"
5.2 Influence/ Position

Annotations:

  • Alot of action in the play is farmed by Iago's thrust for power, powering his anger towards Othello and Cassio when he is overlooked for an influencial and  powerful position in the army.

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