Three Themes of Othello
As William Shakespeare's only truly Aristotelian tragedy, Othello has no subplot or comic relief, and, when originally performed, had little spectacle in the way of the set or action. The absence of these distractions leave the themes of the play defined and apparent. The story of Othello's fall from grace can show the audience three main ideas, how jealousy has disastrous consequences, how innocence is little protection against these consequences, and how revenge can harm those who seek it. These themes are shown through the characterization and action.
Othello shows the audience the detrimental effects of jealousy through the actions of Othello himself. He is jealous of his lieutenant, Cassio, because Othello has been led to believe that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with Cassio, thus making him incredibly jealous. This jealousy creates a breach of trust between Othello and his once loyal lieutenant. Othello wishes to kill Cassio and uses devious methods in order to gain information from Cassio. In Act 4 Scene 1, Othello hides while Iago pretends to talk to Cassio about Desdemona and then the two plot Cassio's murder. However, destruction of loyalty is only one of the horrid results of envy, as...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 818 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6109 literature essays, 1715 sample college application essays, 245 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in