The Significance of the Missing Handkerchief

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The Significance of the Missing Handkerchief

In the play of Othello written by William Shakespeare, symbolism is expressed all throughout the reading but it is the importance of a solemn handkerchief in which ties the story all together. The handkerchief throughout the story plays huge roles, depending on who’s possession it is in, the mood within the story shifts.

Iago, a bitter man, gets introduced early on in the play and appears to be upset with Othello for being passed up on as a lieutenant in the army. Also assumption were made that Othello has slept with his wife, It is thought abroad that ‘twixt my sheets / He has done my office and in return has the idea of a wife for a wife (pg 53). I believe that the importance in that quote is to give the reader a sense of feeling as to how angry Iago must have felt. In his his mind for another man to sleep with his wife is bad news, but more interesting enough he believes that it is as if somebody just came into his home and made themselves comfortable. So in order to get back at him he tries to use Desdemona’s handkerchief against them.

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Being that it is a prized possession it adds that much more suspense when Desdemona loses it or gets her possession stolen from her. Like any man should react, when Othello spotted Cassio (the man who was awarded lieutenant over Iago) with the handkerchief in his possession, he was outraged. He began to question Desdemona’s loyalty. A quote that stuck out was, Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed (pg 130).   In which Othello then replies to Iago with, By heaven, I’ll know thy thoughts (pg 130). Before the handkerchief went missing everything was green, not a problem in sight. After it had gone missing,

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