Animal Imagery In Othello

1272 Words6 Pages
Discuss Shakespeare 's Use of Imagery in Othello to Reveal Character A lack of empathy makes for a true villain. In Shakespeare’s tragic play Othello, the nature of Iago’s character is revealed through the use of animal, plant, and devil imagery. Iago is revealed to view others as less than him, manipulating them with a lack of conscience, and having a desire for the destruction of others. The imagery enforces his role as the villain of the play, one who manipulates others for his own self interest. Firstly, Shakespeare uses animal imagery to show that Iago views others as less than him. This is first seen at the very beginning of the play, wherein Iago provokes Brabantio by telling him that “Even now, now, very now, an old black ram / Is…show more content…
Lastly, devil and hell imagery are used, revealing Iago’s evil nature, hoping for the destruction of others for his own self-interest. Iago calls on the devil and talks about monsters several times throughout the play. One instance being after he had concocted a plan to make Othello jealous with Cassio, saying “... Hell and night / Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light” (1.3.340–41). Iago calls upon the forces of evil, being Hell and night, to help him carry out his plan. While he knows that his actions are immoral, he embraces it fully by calling for evil forces to help in his plans to destroy Othello’s life. This imagery shows Iago’s true nature to the audience, one that wishes for the corruption of people’s lives and actively acting it out. Moreover, Iago refers to himself as a devil in a soliloquy after Cassio drunkenly --------, saying "When devils will the blackest sins put on, / They do suggest at first with heavenly shows, / As I do now" (2.3.351-353). He reveals his intentions to harm Othello to the audience, showing that he does not have empathy for Othello or those his actions would affect, showing his ------------------------------------------------------------------------. Iago is also called a devil by other characters in the play after he is found out to be the one who orchestrated Othello’s undoing. After Othello has realized he has been manipulated by Iago, he says “I look down towards [Iago’s] feet; but that 's a fable. / If that thou be 'st a devil, I cannot kill thee.” (5.2. ------). Othello believes Iago to be as evil as the devil, expecting to see hoofs of a goat, symbolic of the devil, when he looks at Iago’s feet. This devil imagery is used to emphasize Iago’s evil nature. With his plan to destroy Othello being revealed to the other characters, he is now seen as an incarnation of the devil, because of the tremendous amount of pain Iago caused Othello, having purposefully orchestrated it for his own self interest. Thus, by taking
Open Document