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The Underlying Theme Of Othello Is Reputation And It Is This That Culminates In The Play’s Tragedy. To What Extent Do You Agree With This Claim?

1172 words - 5 pages

English Literature

The Main theme of Othello is not the theme of jealousy but the theme of reputation and this is one of the main constitutes, responsible for the tragedy of the play: to what extent do you agree with this in regards to Act Two Scene Three and Act Three Scene Three?
In William Shakespeare's Othello it could be thought that the main theme is Jealousy however in Act two scene three reputation become a prominent theme contributing towards the impending doom of the play. The influencing idea of an honourable reputation is blurred and could be seen as hypocritical because of one the most dominating characters: Iago. He is perceived by many of the characters including the most ...view middle of the document...

This again makes the situation seem dramatic and in a way irrevocable in the sense that Cassio believe that he is wounded but in a way that cannot be healed. This gives Cassio’s a hypochondriac characteristic and therefore a vulnerability and so it is easy for Iago to take advantage of him in this scene. This adds to the tragedy of the play because it is a stepping stone for Iago to manipulate Cassio and to start the initial steps of his scheming plan.
http://www.helium.com/items/100575-jealousy-a-major-theme-in-shakespeares-othello

English Literature

The prominent theme of reputation is still carried through into Act Three Scene Three. On line 157-159 Iago talks to Othello about reputation; ‘Who steals my purse steals trash; ‘tis something, nothing.’ This is dramatically ironic because previous to this Iago explained that reputation wasn’t everything to Cassio: ‘Reputation is an idle most false imposition’. This again shows how Iago can manipulate closely related friends without them revealing it to each other. However this is also dramatically ironic in another sense as well because Iago says ‘he that filches from me my good name/ Robs me of that which not enriches him/and makes me poor indeed’. Here Iago could be relating this to Othello, saying that when people damage Othello’s character or reputation by spreading falsifications about him or by being ‘ethnically persecuting’ towards him the damage will only be reflected on Othello. This then makes Othello anxious about his reputation and the potential damage to his reputation and this then contributes to the impending doom of the tragedy. After a few lines, line 165 the theme of jealousy also becomes prominent between Othello and Iago. ‘O beware, my Lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster, which doth the meat it feeds on.’ The colour green is emblematic of envy and jealousy, ‘Green is a colour associated with sickness, possibly because people's skin takes on a slightly yellow/green tinge when they are seriously ill. Green is also the colour of many unripe foods that cause stomach pains.’ This definition coincides with the thought that jealousy has a bitter taste much like unripe fruit but also jealousy is also related to the green bile which is produced when someone is ill with a stomach illness. This is why Shakespeare uses this colour symbolism because at the time the audience would...

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