Homework Help

How might Othello end without the handkerchief scene?or you can say that, what would...

user profile pic

kguide | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 20, 2011 at 8:22 PM via web

dislike -1 like

How might Othello end without the handkerchief scene?

or you can say that, what would happen if Desdemona was found innocent?This handkerchief was the main cause of all mishappening and death of Desdemona as well as Othello.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

kristenfusaro | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted January 21, 2011 at 9:55 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

In the play Othello by William Shakespeare, one symbol, the handkerchief, acts as the "ocular proof" that Othello demands from Iago before condemning Desdemona.  Othello seeks to "see" a piece of evidence that would demand he rebukes Desdemona for infidelity.  The handkerchief, originally his mother's, also serves as the filial connection between mother and son, thus metaphorically illustrating man's inability to trust women.  If the handkerchief was never a factor in the play, Othello would never receive the visual proof he was waiting for to act out his aggression towards Desdemona; however, his characterization, both direct and indirect, demonstrate to the reader that he would have responded and reacted in the same way.  His downfall began by listening to the lies that Iago was creating.  A strong character would have the ability to make his own decisions and determinations without the wrathful voice of another whispering shortcomings.  Othello, instead of directly approaching his wife about his insecurities, chooses to wait for something as small and insignificant as a handkerchief to condemn her to her death.  While symbolically important because it connects the idea of woman's destruction by the hands of man, it is relatively unimportant in that Othello would have found some other way to chastise Desdemona.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes