Order and Chaos in Othello Analytical Essay by HigherEdu

Order and Chaos in Othello
An exploration of the two prominent themes and symbolic locations in the play "Othello" by William Shakespeare.
# 146841 | 1,490 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2011 | CA
Published on Jan 19, 2011 in Drama and Theater (English) , Literature (English) , Shakespeare (Othello)

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This paper argues that "Othello" is a play filled with sharply contrasted oppositional forces that are often in the form of deep-seated human emotions. Through an exploration of Venice and Cypress, the two main symbolic locations of the play, the paper considers how characters reinforce the play's themes. For example, the writer notes that the play's move from Venice to Cypress is a move from order and rationality to lawlessness and chaos. The writer discusses that it is in Cypress that Iago's poison takes hold, where he is able to bend Othello's rational mind to feed on jealousy and revenge. The writer concludes that the two major geographic settings in the play, Venice and Cypress, are symbolically reinforced by the principle characters and events, which occur in these two locations.

From the Paper:

"Othello is fraught with sharply contrasted oppositional forces; dichotomies, often in the form of deep-seated human emotions, abound. Themes explored in Othello include the contrast between surface manner - polished social forms - and inner nature, which is portrayed as a dangerous force waiting just beneath the veneer of social convention. The most obvious example of this is Iago's practiced exterior of a plain and honest soldier, a dutiful follower of Othello, and Iago's inner self - a diabolical inner man bent on chaos, destruction, and revenge. But virtually all of the play's major characters share a dangerous inner life - all but Desdemona and Michael Cassio. Even calm, rational Othello is driven to near madness as the Serpent jealousy takes hold of him. Such oppositional forces are central to an understanding of the play. The forces of fear and chaos are prominent themes, threatening to sweep away the calm and stability of the city of Venice, a city - at least in the play - ruled and maintained by order, rationality, and law."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Shakespeare, William. Othello, ed. Alvin Kernan. New York: Signet Classic, 1986.
  • Kernan, Alvin. Othello. By William Shakespeare. New York: Signet Classic, 1986, lxiii - lxxiv.

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Order and Chaos in Othello (2011, January 19) Retrieved July 09, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/order-and-chaos-in-othello-146841/

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"Order and Chaos in Othello" 19 January 2011. Web. 09 July. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/order-and-chaos-in-othello-146841/>