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Video:Shakespeare: Othello Themes

with Becky Beth Benedict

Shakespeare's tragedy, "Othello," is full of rich themes, like jealousy and love. Get an overview of major themes in the play "Othello" in this video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Shakespeare: Othello Themes

Hi! I'm Becky Beth Benedict and I'm here for About.com. Today, we're going to talk about themes in Othello by William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's tragedy Othello tells the story of the life and fall of Othello, the moor of Venice. There are many rich themes in this play, some of the major themes explored are jealousy, race, and love.

Othello Themes: Jealousy

Iago is jealous of Cassio's promotion to the position of lieutenant by Othello…this jealousy drives him to dark plots, violence, and murder.

Roderigo is in love with Desdemona and is jealous that Othello is now married to her. His jealousy allows him to be taken advantage of by Iago.

Othello falls victim to Iago's manipulation and believes his wife, Desdemona is unfaithful. This jealousy builds to the point that he is physically affected and even falls into a trance. Ultimately the jealousy drives him to strangle Desdemona.

Othello Themes: Race

Othello is one of the first black skinned military leaders and therefore out of place in Venice.

Brabantino, Desdemona's father is enraged about the moor's marriage to his daughter and believes witchcraft must have been used because he daughter would not naturally fall in love with a moor.

Iago adds fuel to the fire pointing out to Brabantio that his white daughter will be engaging in sexual relations with the black Othello, an act which was frowned upon.

Othello Themes: Love

When Othello stands before the Duke accused of acquiring Desdemona through witchcraft he testifies of their love and she does likewise. The Duke is convinced that the love and courtship are authentic.

Emilia loves her husband Iago so much that she is willing to steal a precious handkerchief from her mistress, a woman she verbally defends in the face of true violence.

Desdemona's love for her husband is so deep that she continues to declare she loves him while he is killing her and goes so far as to make up an excuse to her chambermaid that she's committing suicide to protect the honor of her beloved.

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