Thursday, January 27, 2011

Themey - Themes

What themes does the play present? To what extent do the thematic materials of the play have an effect on the dramatic experience?

While I'm sure there are several themes in this play, as there often are, the one that is most prominent in Othello is the self-destruction of jealousy. Iago feeds on this weakness, creating a web of lies that will ultimately lead to Othello's, Roderigo's, and even his own downfall. Iago encourages Roderigo's jealousy of Othello's marriage in order to get him to assist eliminating Cassio from the picture. Because he is blinded by his infatuation with Desdemona, he is willing to do anything Iago asks even if it doesn't necessarily make sense. By the end of Act IV, Iago had easily convinced Roderigo to kill Cassio so that Desdemona would remain in Cyprus and therefore would be more accessible to his affections. In terms of Othello, Iago carefully nurtured the prospect that Desdemona was cheating on him and then encouraged his jealous rage to take over his life. Othello, who had never been unreasonable, completely transformed throughout the play and gradually became a man of bitter resentment. He began to mistreat Desdemona, even going as far as to hit her while she remained completely in the dark and confused as to where he had come across these allegations. Jealousy is the root of all evil in this play. Iago, the most despicable character by far, is motivated by his own jealousy which drives him to ruin others' lives. Originally, he was jealous of Cassio for being named Othello's Lieutenant, and then later verbalized that he had heard a rumor that Cassio and Othello had slept with his wife. Determined to seek revenge, Iago's jealous nature is what causes the plot to advance.

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