Jealousy drives most of
the action in 'Othello" -
Iago's jealousy prompts
him to ruin Cassio's
career and Othello's
causes him to destroy
his marriage, kill his
wife and eventually kill
Sexual jealousy springs from
love to insecurity
Shakespeare presents jealousy as consuming
and unnatural - Characters become consumed
and cannot think rationally: Iago describes
Othello "eaten up with passion"
Its debatable whether Othello becomes jealous to
easily - 1. he doesn't give into the jealousy
immediately. 2. It only takes seeing the handkerchief
(memorable object) with cassio for jim to believe his
Gender played an important role in
Men: Society was patriarchal - men had
more power. - Honour and reputation
were very important and men were
expected to act rather than talk.
Women: It was an accepted idea
women were responsible for
humanity's fall into 'evil'
Men in 'Othello' try to control women
Women are often referred to as
property - Othello starts as
treating Des as an equal but
later try's to gain control.
Cassio expects Bianca to obey him,
using orders - "take it"
Iago controls Emilia's behaviour,
giving her instructions
Female Character break society's conventions
Des breaks convention by
marrying a black man
When Emilia sees iago's
scheming, she goes against him,
when iago realises he cant
control emilia anymore he kills
Bianca is seen promiscuous and
dishonest because she's a courtesan
Love and War
The male characters define themselves as soldiers - Othello
has been a solider since the age of 7 - Othello trust Iago as
soldiers becuase they were normally loyal and honest. -
even though cassio hasnt experienced battle he puts great
importance on military honour. - Men shared military
background strengthens their friendship
Love is a Powerful Force: Othello is a
domestic tragedy focusses on personal
relationships rather than politics of
war - love motivates the characters -
Othello positively affected "it stops me
here, it is too much of joy" (2.1.191)
Love and War seem
compatible at first.....
Combined by Othello and
Desdemona - however their
are early hints the love will be
disrupted by war, in Cyprus
othello describes des as "FAIR
WARRIOR" admiring her
strength and beauty
Othello's speech in Act 1, scene 3:
places love before war.
When war ends conflicts shift in
othello's marriage: Othellos elf-esteem
is based on his military honour.
Love and War are NOT compatible
When Othello murders Des its shows him acting as a soldier not a
husband, Othello recognises his falure as a lover becuase he didnt
love 'wisely' and was 'perplexed' by jealousy and realises he "threw a
Elizabethan society had
negative views of black
people - Othello is described
as the 'moor' - Racial
prejudices existed in
Elizabethan england, Moors
were generally viewed as
savages and treated as
Othello is victim of racism -
Racist characters: Iago,
Brabantio and Roderigo
Some Characters look past othello's race - uses his race as
a 'positive quality', othello is well respected in the military -
Des overlooks his skin colour, Des fell in love with is exotic
history which could make his race a weakness.
Honesty and Deception
Truth and Honour in 'Othello' -
'Honest' has many meanings in Shakespeare's time,
Honourable and to integrity, for women meant chastity.
Honest, is used frequently mainly by Iago which is
ironic but shows how deceiving he is.
Appearances can be deceptive - Iago lets the
other characters see what he wants them to see,
B'cause of Iago Othello goes from seeing Des'
beauty and "sweet" smell which disguises
corruption and evil.