Demonic Imagery In Shakespeare's Othello

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Imagery is one of the most provocative and pervasive forms of literary techniques available and is often used to develop themes and characters. As such, it is no surprise that it is prevalent throughout Shakespeare's plays and regularly employed to develop overarching themes. In his tragic play Othello, Shakespeare uses demonic imagery as a point of contrast between a character’s true nature and the impressions held by others in order to develop the theme of how people’s impressions of others can be deceptive. Shakespeare does this three separate times: first in the false impression of Othello as demonic, then in Othello’s false impression of Desdemona as demonic, and once again in contrasting the honest impression and devilish nature of Iago.…show more content…
Thus, by contrasting demonic imagery with Othello’s true nature, Shakespeare develops the theme of how impressions can be deceptive. This is further emphasized by Brabantio’s impressions of Othello. After Othello’s noble nature is first revealed to the audience, he politely addresses Brabantio, stating “Good signior, you shall more command with years/Than with your weapons” (I.ii.___). Brabantio responds insultingly, utilizing hellish imagery when addressing Othello, stating “Damn'd as thou art, thou hast enchanted her” (I.ii.___). In this scene, the demonic imagery Brabantio uses serves as a harsh contrast between his impression of Othello as “Damn’d” and Othello’s actual calm and noble nature. By structuring the encounter in such a manner, Shakespeare utilizes the shocking nature of the demonic imagery to highlight how Brabantio’s impressions have deceived him into falsely believing Othello must have enchanted his daughter, when in reality this was not the case. Thus further developing the theme of how people’s impressions of others can be deceptive. This use of demonic imagery occurs again in Act I scene ii, when Brabantio pleads his case to the Duke of Venice. Brabantio states “It is a judgment maim'd and
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