othello essay

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Othello by William Shakespeare is a tragedy that revolves around a well-known solider called Othello. A key theme in this play is reputation. Desdemona, Othello, Iago and Cassio see the subject of reputation differently. All these characters have a reputation at the begging of the play but lose it by the end. Othello has an indisputable reputation as a solider and commander. In the first scene of the play the senator addresses him as “the valiant moor” by using the word “valiant” Shakespeare implies that Othello is courageous, honorable and brave. By this word being used in the first scene of the play it sets a standard that Othello feels that he must live up to and that he must up hold his reputation to such standards. During the play Iago questions Desdemona’s fidelity and shares this view with Othello, with Othello eventually fearing he will become “A horned man’s a monster and a beast.” Othello struggles with the idea that Desdemona may be cheating with him, with Cassio. This makes him choose between his reputation or him becoming a cuckhold, even though the allegations are false, with Othello’s final deed in the play it shows the importance that reputation has in the play. A key sign that Othello is losing his reputation is that his speech becomes more like Iago’s in the way that it becomes more vulgar and less poetic. Desdemona is described through out the play as being beautiful and being an honest wife. Roderigo describes her as being “duty, beauty, wit and fortunes.” This is juxtaposed with the views of Othello at the end of the play, where she is described as the “cunning whore of Venice.” These two very different opinions of her show how her reputation has been damaged by Iago as part of his scheme for recognition and reputation. On the other hand Desdemona’s reputation with Brabantio is that of a negative one where he warns Othello that “She has

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