Symbolism In Othello

Essay by jamesgatzCollege, UndergraduateB+, October 2014

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Name: Ronaldo Mohammed/ Subject: Literature Question: Symbolism is important in theatrical representation. Discuss.

The use of "symbolism" in literature can be characterized as the use of objects, or other tangible elements i.e. (anything that can be seen, heard or felt) to represent something pertaining to themes and other aspects of a play, prose or poetry piece. Symbols played an important role in the Shakespearean play Othello. Symbols such as light in the form of torches and candles, the ancient roman god Janus and the handkerchief Othello gave to Desdemona were all elements that contributed significantly to the play .In Othello, symbolism is essential to the play in depicting characters in more profound ways than words can, it is essential in depicting themes and also constitutes to plot development by the depiction of setting. These elements, heightened through symbolism contributes to the way in which the audience interprets and understands the play.

The handkerchief, though trivial to some, is an important symbol in Othello as it portrays the relationship existing between Othello and Desdemona. According to Professor Syed Anwarul Huq of Stamford University in Bangladesh, "the handkerchief is a representation of their marriage and profound love." Othello's plot is centered on the love shared between these two individuals. The handkerchief, symbolic of their love ultimately shows the progression and downfall of their relationship. Through this symbol, the audience obtains an overview of Othello and Desdemona's marriage. The treatment of the handkerchief portrays to the audience the downward spiral of their relationship. The importance of the handkerchief is depicted through what Othello says about it. He associates the handkerchief with his mother's fidelity and magic. He states, "while she kept it; T'would make her amiable and subdue my father; Entirely to her love, but if she lost...