Othello Test Review

handkerchief The first gift that Othello gives Desdemona.Significance: As one of the dominant symbols in the play, the handkerchief symbolizes Desdemona’s fidelity. The handkerchief is spotted with red strawberries, and Othello tells Desdemona that the strawberries were hand stitched with thread that has been dyed with blood from “maidens’ hearts,” suggesting that the handkerchief resembles a white sheet that has been stained with a virgin’s blood. As long as Desdemona has the handkerchief in her possession, Othello thinks she is chaste, but the moment she loses it, Desdemona loses her chastity.
Desdemona’s “widdow” song Desdemona sings this song shortly before her murder, and it’s about a woman lamenting her lost love who has been cruel to her, but she still remains loyal to him. This song is significant to the play because it possesses eerie echoes of Desdemona’s situation, and the melancholy nature of the song foreshadows Desdemona’s death.
animals Significance: Characters such as Iago and Roderigo use animal imagery to dehumanize Othello.
gardens Iago reveals his thoughts on human nature through gardens. Significance: Iago uses his “gardening” skills to plant seeds of doubt in Othello’s mind. Iago is also the master gardener because has has great control over himself and his actions.
candle Othello blows out the flame of a candle shortly before he murders Desdemona. Significance: It symbolizes Desdemona’s fragile life. Othello says that he is going to “Put out the light, and then put out the light,” suggesting that Othello draws the comparison himself.
the clown A servant in Othello’s household who appears only twice throughout the play and delivers only 14 lines.Significance: The clown provides comic relief to offset the intensity of the previous scene and serves as a means of foreshadowing. Desdemona, Emilia and the clown banter about where a man “lies,” and the clown makes a pun on “lie” to foreshadow the lies that will be revealed.
Cassio’s dream Iago tells Othello about Cassio’s dreaming about a steamy, sexual encounter with Desdemona. Significance: Through his use of sexual imagery, Iago successfully frames Othello.
Desdemona Significance: She is significant because she represents the average woman of the 17th century who surpassed the norms for sexual mortality set for Venetian women at the time and also represents the typical Renaissance view of relationships between men and women.
Emilia Significance: Emilia serves as a foil to Desdemona in the play. Emilia demonstrates her witty, sharp tongue and her bold attitude, while Desdemona constantly declares her faithfulness to her husband and to her marriage. Emilia is also significant because she represents a progressive attitude toward the role of women and women’s abilities to have feelings.
Lodovico A messenger from Venice.Significance: Shakespeare employs him as a symbol of righteousness, discipline, and justice.
Bianca Cassio’s mistress.Significance: Shakespeare employs her character as an example of real and justified jealousy and serves as a foil to to the jealousy constructed by Iago in Othello’s imagination.
“I’d rather be a toad and live upon the vapour of the dungeon than keep a corner in the thing I love for others’ uses” Speaker: OthelloSig: Othello soliloquizes the curse of marriage when one marries an unfaithful spouse. Othello’s change from poetic verse to dark, unpunctuated imagery symbolizes the change in his character as a result of the crippling effects of jealousy.
“I follow him to serve my term upon him” Speaker: IagoSig: Iago establishes himself as a man who cannot be trusted; he justifies his treachery and follows Othello to take revenge on him.
“o beware my lord, it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on” Speaker: IagoSig: Shakespeare pairs colors with emotion; green and yellow are emblematic of jealousy, and green is always emblematic of envy. This quote is significance because it is ironic; not only does Iago goad Othello into jealousy, but he himself is jealous and resentful of the success of others.
“I am not what I am” Speaker: IagoSig: Shows that Iago is deceptive, and he puts on a false face which is significant because Iago’s outward appearance conceals his true identity.
“Men should be what they seem” Speaker: IagoSig: Iago’s statement is ironic because he is not what he seems.
“Take note, take note. O, world to be direct and honest is not safe” Speaker: IagoSig: Iago’s statement demonstrates irony; Iago is not direct or honest.
“My friend is dead, but let her live” Speaker: Iago
“I told him what I thought, and told no more / Than what he found himself apt and true” Speaker: IagoSig: Iago suggests that Othello is responsible for his misfortune; Othello did not have to accept Iago’s lies.
“I will wear my heart upon my sleeve” Speaker: IagoSig: Iago reveals a significant fact about himself; he will manipulate and act deceptively if it suits his motives, so this quote warns the audience that Iago is not to be trusted.
“My noble father, I do here perceive a divided duty” Speaker: DesdemonaSig: Desdemona demonstrates her practice of clashing with the strict patriarchal society that she lives in by defying her father through her marriage to Othello.
“Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see/She has deceived her father, and may thee” Speaker: Brabantio Sig: Brabantio provides Othello with a prophetic yet ironic warning. Brabantio warns Othello that Desdemona may not be as virtuous as she appears.
“To mourn a mischief that is past and gone is the next way to draw new mischief on” Speaker: the Duke to Brabantio, Desdemona and OthelloSig: The Duke is trying to resolve the problems between Brabantio and the young couple. The Duke suggests that it is useless to hold a grudge, and if something happened in the past, then leave it in the past and move on.
“Hell and night/ Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light” Speaker: IagoSig: Iago uses the word “hell” as metonymy for the devil. Iago’s diction of “monstrous birth” emphasizes the wickedness of his plan.
“Arise black Vengeance, from thy hollow cell!/Yield up, O Love, thy crown and hearted throne/To tyrannous hate!” Speaker: OthelloSig: Othello uses a dark apostrophe, demonstrating his little contact with rationality and the power of jealousy on his being.
“My life upon her faith” Speaker: OthelloSig: Othello’s declaration of trust is ironic. After Iago’s machinations, Othello commits suicide for what he believes is Desdemona’s lack of faith.

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