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by William Shakespeare

 Table of Contents

Othello Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory


The most dominant symbol in the play is the handkerchief that circulates throughout the play. Because Othello gave it to Desdemona as a first gift, the handkerchief functions as a token of his love...


You've probably noticed how the word "honest" shows up all over the place in Othello. By poet and literary critic William Empson's count, there are 52 uses of "honest" and "honesty" throughout the...


Every major character in the play packs up and heads for Cyprus, where we've been promised a bloody battle. And then, due to inclement weather, there is no war. We, the innocent and unknowing reade...

The Willow Song

As Desdemona is preparing for bed the night she will be murdered, she starts singing a song about willow trees. This song, supposedly sung originally by one of Desdemona's mother's servants who lov...

Cassio's Naughty Dream

Of course you're wondering about the naughty dream Cassio supposedly has one night. Before we discuss what's going on, let's recap, shall we? IAGO In sleep I heard him say 'Sweet Desdemona,Let us b...


Iago is pretty fond of making references to gardens and other kinds of foliage, wouldn't you say? The most famous moment in the play is when Iago says: Our bodies are our gardens, to the whichour w...


We had a feeling you might check here for some ideas about all the animal references in the play. Check out our "Quotes on Race" for our thoughts on this, but come right back!


The candle that Othello blows out just before he strangles Desdemona symbolizes Desdemona's fragile life. Othello draws the comparison himself – as he stands over a sleeping Desdemona with a...

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