The Handkerchief In Othello Essay

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Shakespeare is prominent in his use of distinct symbols throughout all of his works. For example, in Othello, the distinct symbol used is the handkerchief. The handkerchief influenced, and effected multiple characters in the play. Which happen to be Othello, Desdemona, and also Iago.

To Othello, the handkerchief symbolizes a link to his past. The handkerchief was given to Othello by his mother, and he views the handkerchief as being magic and very ancient. Othello gave the handkerchief to Desdemona representing his love for her and their purity. In Act III scene 4, Othello asked Desdemona for the handkerchief, but Desdemona has lost place of it. In line 292 of Act III scene 4, Othello replies to Desdemona, “Entirely to her love, but if she lost it, or made gift of it, should her loathed and his spirits should hunt.” This
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Desdemona cherishes the handkerchief as a symbol of her and Othello’s love. In Act III scene 3, page 14, a character named Emilia states, “That she reserves it evermore about her. To kiss and talk to. (Line 304)” With Othello telling Desdemona how magical the handkerchief is, makes her very superstitious and scared because she doesn’t want anything to happen between her and Othello.

The importance of the handkerchief with Iago is quite different. Iago used the handkerchief as a tool of destruction. He wanted to prove Desdemona’s unfaithfulness to Othello. Iago begged his wife Emilia to steal the handkerchief from Desdemona, and in Act III, scene 4, she finally did it. Emilia stated, “I have a thing for you. What handkerchief? Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona, that which so often you did bid me steal (lines 310-315).” With this quote, it shows the readers how evil Iago is. It also shows that with no remorse, he can use a simple thing to completely destroy
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