Allusion And Metaphors To Water In Shakespeare's Othello

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Throughout Othello, there are many running comparisons and metaphors that are used to convey various themes, such as the comparison of animals to represent the idea of racism. There is one aspect of this piece, however, that I have not seen much conversation or analysis about, which is the references and metaphors to water throughout the piece. In Shakespeare’s Othello, the references and metaphors to water symbolizes truth and honesty, which is shown through Othello’s dialogue when discussing Desdemona, the Turkish fleets sinking, Roderigo’s almost suicide, and Desdemona’s comparison to water in the finale of the piece.
The first reference we see relating to water is given to us by Othello himself. When Brabantio hears of Othello’s marriage …show more content…

In the beginning of the play, we learn that Roderigo has attempted multiple times to win over Desdemona and marry her, but has ultimately failed. When he learns from Iago that Desdemona has fallen in love with Othello, he attempts to stop their relationship by alerting Brabantio with Iago. This, however, only leads to Roderigo learning of the immense amount of love that Desdemona and Othello have for one another. He realizes that because of this, and because Brabantio now approves of Desdemona’s relationship with Othello, he will never be able to court Desdemona. This leads him to go into a suicidal rant, telling Iago that “I wil incontinently drown myself” (Act 1 Scene III, line 347). There are many ways in which to kill yourself, especially in a Shakespeare piece, so it’s important to analyze why Shakespeare decided that Roderigo’s method of suicide is through drowning specifically. The torment and despair that Roderigo is experiencing is explicitly because he has learned the truth behind Desdemona’s lack of affections towards him.. This is why we can infer that water within Othello represents truth yet again. Roderigo is overcome with depression because of his new reality, which is that he and Desdemona will never fall in love or be married. If Roderigo were to kill himself, learning the truth of Othello and Desdemona’s relationship would be the reason, which is represented by the method of suicide by …show more content…

However, at the beginning of Act II, we learn that the Turkish fleets that were headed to Cyprus were overcome by bad storms and weather and ultimately drowned, destroying all boats and presumably killing all the soldiers on board. There are two ways to interpret the symbolism behind this large casualty on water, one of which is a metaphor and another being an instance of foreshadowing. One one hand, it could be argued that the Turkish fleets are a representation of the force of jealousy that is woven into Othello’s mind by Iago. Iago created this jealousy in Othello through copious amounts of lies and dishonesty. If the truth were learned by Othello at any point in this play, this jealousy would have been eradicated and destroyed, much like the water destroyed the Turkish fleets sailing across the sea. On the other hand (and what I prefer to view it as), the Turkish fleets could represent Othello himself and the violence he enacts in the final act. After Othello learns the truth of Desdemona and Cassio’s relationship, which is that there never existed such a relationship, his jealousy is replaced with extreme sorrow and ultimately causes him to commit suicide. The water engulfing the boats and overall destroying them is equivalent to the truth leading to Othello’s

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