In “Othello” by Shakespeare, animal imagery is used throughout the play to make scenes more dramatic. This tool is commonly applied in numerous amounts of his plays, and many of today’s authors still use it. Animal imagery can make the play easier to comprehend, and can show how the characters, mainly Iago, think.
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It distinguishes the characters, and also shows variation between them. To be called an animal in a derogatory way had a lot of negative meaning to it, especially because “The Great Chain of Being” had a big impact on the Elizabethan lifestyle. Iago does everything in his power to try to destroy Othello’s life for his own satisfaction, even though Othello didn’t do anything to deserve it. In Shakespeare’s play, Othello, animal imagery is a powerful tool used to further amplify the vulgar mindset on Othello’s relationship with his wife, Desdemona.
The commencement of the whole animal imagery pattern started at the moment when Othello and Desdemona’s marriage was introduced. Iago is trying to prove to Desdemona’s father that she is no longer pure by representing them as animals. “Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe.” (I.I, lines 90-91) Othello and Desdemona have two very distinct differences – race and age. By including this comparison, it reveals two crucial variations between the two characters, with Othello being black and old, and Desdemona being youthful and white. By putting a concoction of rough, bestial images in Brabantio’s mind, Iago is trying to get him to turn on Othello. This is because interracial marriage wasn’t viewed as normal, and Desdemona is also younger than Othello. He wants to make Othello appear much worse than he actually is.
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