Essay, Research Paper: Othello Themes

Shakespeare: Othello

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The play Othello was written be William Shakespeare in the latter years of
Shakespeare’s career. Shakespeare composed, revised, and acted in many
theatrical performances throughout his life, he also owned the Globe theater
where many of his works were performed. The work Othello was based on a story by
Giraldi Cinthios, Tale of a Moor, which was a mellow drama about a moor and his
doubts about his wife’s fidelity. In Shakespeare’s play the moor (Othello)
is convinced by his jealous aid (Iago) that his wife (Desdemona) is not being
faithful. Iago’s jealousy is motivated by his anger as a result of not being
appointed Othello’s Lieutenant, when he learns that Cassio a Florentine has be
promoted instead he vows to seek revenge against Othello. Throughout
Shakespeare’s Othello various forms iof irony are used. In the first acts of
the play verbal irony is most prominent. Verbal irony is when a character says
something but actually means the opposite. Iago does this several times, most
likely because of the demeanor of his character. In the first act Iago tells
Roderigo that “He is for him”(Act 1. Scene 2, Ln 75). This statement is
verbal irony because Iago is not actually “for” Roderigo he is only using
him as part of his scheme. Verbal irony is also present in the second act where
Iago tells Othello that he is a faithful servant” (Act 2, Scene , Ln ). The
ironic aspect of this statement is that Iago is definitely not a faithful
servant to Othello, he is trying to destroy his life. Dramatic irony also plays
a major role in the play Othello. Dramatic irony is when a character states
something which is actually the opposite of what is true; however, the character
does not know that. In the first act Othello addresses Iago as “honest Iago”
(Act 1, Scene 3, Ln. 336). This is dramatic irony because Iago is in no way
honest, he has been and will continue to lie to Othello throughout the play;
however, Othello has not yet figured that out. Dramatic irony is also seen when
Othello calls Desdemona a “whore” (Act 4, Scene 2, Ln. 83). Desdemona is not
really a whore but Othello has been lead astray by lies from Iago and is
oblivious to the truth. Situational Irony is arguably the most complicated and
well hidden aspect of irony in the play. Situational irony is when something
spontaneous or unexpected happens in the story. In the first act Iago insults
Brabantio by making the comparison between a villain and a senator. (Act 1,
Scene 1, Ln. 132-133). One would not expect Iago to insult Brabantio because
Brabantio plays a key part in Iago’s plan to destroy Othello. Another
situation that is quite ironic is when Desdemona goes and kneels before Iago and
asks for his help (Act , Scene ,Ln. ). This is unexpected because there are so
many other character who Desdemona could and should have trusted more than Iago,
such as her husband Othello. This situation could also be interpreted as
dramatic irony because Iago was trusted by Othello and Desdemona and neither of
them had any idea of his devious plans. Shakespeare’s Othello is arguably the
best performed play he ever wrote. This is most likely a direct result of the
irony in this play. The ironies of the play make it seem more realistic because
life itself has many ironies. The ironies in Shakespeare’s Othello definitely
make it one of the greatest tragedies ever written.
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