In Othello, what are some quotes with language techniques that I could apply to multiple themes? I have an essay soon and I don't know what the question could be about. So I'd really appreciate if I could get some quotes that could apply to jealousy and race, for example.
Thanks for reading, much appreciated.
Language techniques allow a writer to engage with his reader or audience. An emotive or persuasive style, a particularly descriptive passage or the use of rhetorical devices in order to provoke a reaction all contribute to establishing the writer's purpose and intention in terms of the plot and the themes.
The themes in Othello revolve around betrayal which stems from Othello's jealousy and how Iago is able to manipulate Othello into believing the opposite of what is true (appearance versus reality). Add to this Othello's insecurities because he is a Moor and Iago's blatant, discriminatory and racist remarks which provoke Brabantio, Desdemona's father, and the audience is drawn into Iago's dark schemes; ever hopeful that Othello will recognize Desdemona's virtue and Iago's treachery.
In terms of language techniques that support the themes, when Iago tells Brabantio that Othello and Desdemona are together, he uses animal imagery to great effect. It is offensive and very visual and certainly racist when Iago says, "an old black ram is tupping your white ewe" (I.i.90). This certainly contributes to the appearance versus reality theme.
Dramatic irony supports these themes and is used to great effect as the characters share their secrets with the audience while the other characters remain unaware that "honest Iago" (I.iii.294) is anything but that. Iago warns Othello to "beware my lord of jealousy; It is the green-ey'd monster..." (III.iii.170) but the audience knows that he is the one who is setting up Desdemona and will ultimately provide the "ocular proof" (364) which will finally convince Othello of Desdemona's betrayal.
Foreshadowing, as a language technique, also supports the theme of betrayal and it adds to the irony as it is Iago's very disloyalty which intensifies Othello's betrayal of Desdemona. It is ironic because Desdemona is the one accused of the ultimate betrayal against her husband whereas she is the most virtuous of all and cannot imagine being unfaithful. In Act I, scene iii, Desdemona's father warns Othello that Desdemona "has deceived her father and may thee" (293) and much later in Act IV, scene iii, Desdemona sings the "willow" song which is most prophetic. She ponders to Emilia how any woman could or would ever betray her husband.
Shakespeare takes many opportunities to reveal how communication and misunderstanding is key to everything in Othello. Use these explanations and quotes and the links below to help you define the themes in terms of some of the techniques of irony, foreshadowing, imagery and other figures of speech which contribute to the reader's enjoyment of this tragedy.