Discuss the significance of the handkerchief to the tragedy of Othello.

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The handkerchief was the first gift Othello gave Desdemona and is a token of his love for her. According to Othello, the sacred handkerchief belonged to his mother and was given to her by an Egyptian sibyl. His mother instructed him to give the handkerchief to his wife and Othello believes that it represents marital fidelity. Desdemona cherishes the handkerchief and takes it with her wherever she goes.

Unfortunately, Desdemona unknowingly drops the handkerchief and Emilia discovers it. Emilia knows that her husband has been asking for the handkerchief and proceeds to give it to him. Iago then uses the handkerchief to his advantage in his scheme to destroy Othello. Iago places the handkerchief in Michael Cassio's room and tells Othello that he saw Cassio wipe his beard with Desdemona's handkerchief.

Iago continues to manipulate Othello by having him witness Cassio giving Desdemona's handkerchief to Bianca, which...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 453 words.)

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