Discuss the Importance of Reputation in Othello Essay

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Discuss the importance of reputation in Othello Othello was written in a time when society was structured in a certain way, and being able to transcend this hierarchy was no easily done. Although Shakespeare is famous for his stories of love breaking barriers, such as Romeo and Juliet, they are nevertheless present throughout. Reputation, therefore, plays a key role in each character’s position and the characters are aware of this, creating different outcomes. Reputation is very important to Othello, as it is all that saves him from the criticism of the Venetians. Othello is well aware of this, assuring Iago that “my services which I have done the signiory shall out tongue his complaint”. The imagery evoked of speech supports Greenblatt’s assertion that Othello’s “identity depends on a constant performance of his story” as Othello does indeed ‘out tongue’ their racist views with his constant use of exotic language reminded them that he is a worthy soldier; Othello says to them, “little of this great world can I speak more than pertains to feats of broil and battle,” reminding them who he is and what he has done for them. This example of the ‘Othello music’ uses plosive alliteration alongside the comparison between ‘great’ and ‘little’ to give his speech a certain grandeur and knowingness, despite seeming humble. Cowhig, however, reminds us that “however great Othello’s confidence, his colour makes his vulnerability plain”. This is extremely apparent in a recent movie production of Othello in which Othello has tribal tattoos across his forehead and wears distinctively different clothing. When Cassio cries out “all that is left is bestial” after losing his reputation, Iago reassures him. With Othello however, Iago stresses the importance of reputation. Although this appears to be proof of Iago’s manipulation, he is right to a certain extent. Cassio will forever

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