Analysis: Steaminess Rating
Exactly how steamy is this story?
There's no sex on stage in Othello (and scholars debate whether or not Desdemona and Othello ever even consummate their marriage), but the entire play is preoccupied with, well, sex. Thanks to Iago, Othello's unfounded jealousy hinges on the idea that Desdemona has cheated on him, which leads Othello to strangle his wife…in her bed. The play is also chock-full of erotic imagery, like the vivid description of Desdemona's handkerchief (a white napkin embroidered with red strawberries, which happen to be made with thread that's been dyed with virgin's blood), which is a visual stand-in for Desdemona's soiled wedding sheets. Iago even comes off as an aspiring pornographer when he describes a steamy dream Cassio supposedly had about Desdemona. Want more? Of course you do. Check out our "Quotes" for the theme of "Sex."