To desdemona the handkerchief symbolizes othellos

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the handkerchief to manipulate him. To Desdemona, the handkerchief symbolizes Othello’s love for her because it was the first gift she received from him. Iago uses the handkerchief to manipulate Othello which becomes a symbol of Desdemona’s faithfulness to him and her chastity. The handkerchief was used as evidence of Desdemona’s adultery and disloyalty. Feeling hurt and betrayed, he uses it against Desdemona and explains that the handkerchief was made by a female prophet and his mother gave to his father because it had powers so that he would remain faithful to her. Othello is tricked into killing Desdemona when Iago deviously planned the murder of Rodrigo which fooled him into thinking that is was the death of Cassio. When Emilia informs Othello of the news, she discovers Desdemona dying. Othello admits to killing his wife and Emilia is in disbelief because Desdemona was so pure, exclaims, “O, the more angel she, And you the blacker devil (Shakespeare 1998, 119)!” This displays racism as Emilia calls Othello a devil but uses black as a derogatory term. Othello explains his reasoning, that Desdemona committed adultery. This shows that no matter how great of a person he was in the beginning, he
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fell into the trap that Iago set for him and became a bad person because he trusted Iago instead of his own wife and ended up killing her. When he discovers Iago’s plan and that Othello was at fault, he says to the witnesses, “Set you down this. And say besides that in Aleppo once, Where a malignant and a turbaned Turk Beat a Venetian and traduced the state, I took by th’ throat the circumcised dog And smote him—thus (Shakespeare 1998, 127).” Othello’s farewell speech before he stabs himself reminds the readers of his high status that made him well known in Venice. At the same time, he describes killing himself as if he was killing a Turk, making himself sound as if he was a danger to Venice and with this, is telling the readers that he was and will continue to be an outsider. His unfortunate ending was his last act of service to Venice; killing his last enemy, himself. Othello gets what he wanted to a certain extent but in the process of destroying Desdemona, he destroys himself. Othello relates to Manning’s The African Diaspora . The time in Othello is 1489-1571, time when the Ottomans were expanding, “From 1512, the Ottomans expanded greatly and become the dominant power… (Manning 2009, 71) and in 1571, the Ottoman Turks brought Cyprus under its control. In Othello , Cyprus is the enemy of the Venetians which connects to how Othello faced his last enemy in the end.
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  • Spring '10
  • MCCAULEY
  • Othello, Desdemona, OTHELLO Othello

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