Essay, Research Paper: Othello Themes

Shakespeare: Othello

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Lots of times people get love and lust confused. In Shakespeare’s Othello, the
characters in this book are very confused about the difference and it results in
perplexity, confusion, commotion and death. This is shown in Shakespeare’s use
of symbolism, characterization and irony. The person who best illustrates this
theme is Roderigo. He tells Iago, “That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse,”
to get Desdemona for himself. (I,I,2) He pays Iago to get Desdemona, not knowing
that he really is not in love with her. This portrays lust on Roderigo’s part.
Othello, on the other hand, is in love with Desdemona and doesn’t have sex
with her until they are married, and because of his respect for her. He had
“rather be a toad and live upon the vapor of a dungeon than keep a corner in
the thing I love for other’s uses.”(III,iii, 287) Othello evidently portrays
love in this play. Later, in the play, Othello starts to hate Desdemona and
won’t give credence to a word she says. When Iago’s scheme to split up
Desdemona and Othello begins to work, Othello’s love for her gradually
diminishes. Desdemona’s “napkin is too little”, for Othello.(III,iii,303)
This quote symbolizes Desdemona’s love for Othello. As the play goes on,
Othello starts calling Desdemona a strumpet, or whore and “each drop she falls
would prove a crocodile.”(III,I,248) In other words, Desdemona is like a
crocodile which sheds hypocritical tears. The irony used by Shakespeare also
explains the love and lust theme of this play. Roderigo and Iago are the main
characters that depict irony for love and lust. They both are convinced that
they are in love with Desdemona. However, all they really want is the sexual
fragment of the relationship. Iago pays Roderigo to get Desdemona for him, so
obviously he thinks he can’t get her himself or doesn’t want a real
relationship with her. The melancholy thing about this play is that Desdemona
has no concept about what is going on. She has no evidence that her love life is
being torn apart right before her eyes. In conclusion, with the use of
characterization, symbolism and irony, Shakespeare proves that oftentimes people
get confused about their feelings. Today, I think people are more confused about
what real love is because if they weren’t, there would not be as many abuses,
divorces or affairs. The amount of divorces has tripled since the1980’s.
People also get married because of pregnancy which often results in spousal
abuse and child abuse because the father will get involved in something he
doesn’t want to do, which makes him angry and he takes it out on the wife. So
as I concluded, people repeatedly get love and lust confused and Shakespeare
does an astonishing job of defining it.
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