Identify two ideas that "Othello" presented. How were they presented?

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lizbv eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One idea, or theme really, that underlies the  plot is that of the effects of insecurity/lack of confidence.  Othello, being much older than Desdemona and not considered a handsome man, allowed these insecurities to get the best of him.  If he had been more confident in himself and his deserving of Desdemona's loyalty and love, then perhaps he would not have so easily allowed Iago's tormenting lies to penetrate his thoughts and make him question his wife's fidelity.

Another idea that runs through is the importance of reputation.  Iago and Othello have a discussion earlier in the text (Act II) regarding their opinions of reputation, stating first that a man's reputation is the "immediate jewel of [his] soul", while the other says "Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving".  These show two constrasting views on this topic, however the second one seems to be proven in the text.  The second statement suggests that a reputation is out of its owner's control, instead being something created by others regardless of the owner's actions.  This proves true in the text because Iago is the one who controls Cassio's and Desdemona's reputations as he pollutes them with lies he tells to Othello.