Othello - Close Study

The analysis of the psyche and actions of the characters in the play Othello provide an insight into the themes of trust and jealousy which are universally relevant and are applicable to modern day society. They are relevant as marriage and relationships have always existed between people throughout the vastness of time.

These themes are displayed through the relationship between the characters of Othello and Iago. Through the communications between them, we are able to understand the difference in human psychology. Othello was the exemplified opposite of Iago (before he become insinuated with jealousy), he was an outsider to Venice, of a different race and through the syntax of their phrases their differences in character could be discovered.

The use of Imagery by each of the characters provides us with detail into their psyche. Iago has a great use of animal imagery to describe events. When Iago describes the marriage between Othello and Desdemona as “An old black ram, is tupping your white ewe” we can see the jealousy which he has of Othello. The negative connotations of “black ram” imply that Othello is unclean and thus of lower standard than a “white ewe”. Also the use of “black” has a religious reference to the devil and “white” is considered to be pure and chaste. This animalistic metaphor shows the disgust which Iago has of racially traversing marriages. Later on in the play Othello also uses this kind of imagery when he has become completely subdued by jealousy. He (Othello) compares her (Desdemona) to a “cistern of foul toads” which shows the extent of which he distrusts and despises her because of her supposed unfaithfulness.
The change in Othello’s personality over the duration of the play can be seen in the structure of the way in which he speaks. “When they belie her! Lie with her, zounds, that’s fulsome” is in disjointed prose, which is quite a notable difference to his usual measured verse at the start of the play. This is due to him being...