Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Jealousy

Othello is the most famous literary work that focuses on the dangers of jealousy. The play is a study of how jealousy can be fueled by mere circumstantial evidence and can destroy lives. (In Othell...

Race

Othello is one of the first black heroes in English literature. A military general, he has risen to a position of power and influence. At the same time, however, his status as a black-skinned forei...

Gender

Gender relations are pretty antagonistic in Othello. Unmarried women are regarded as their fathers' property and the play's two marriages are marked by male jealousy and cruelty (both wives are mur...

Sex

Shakespeare's play explores some common sixteenth century anxieties about miscegenation (interracial sex and marriage) by examining the relationship between a black man who marries a white woman, a...

Marriage

Shakespeare's portrayal of marriage is pretty bleak in Othello. The play begins with a conflict between Desdemona's husband and her father, who sees his daughter's elopement as a kind of theft of h...

Manipulation

Othello's villain, Iago, may be literature's most impressive master of deception. Iago plots with consummate sophistication, carefully manipulating Othello (without any real proof) into believing t...

Warfare

Since the play's protagonist is a military general, war is always hovering in the background in Othello. But the only actual battle the play promises is avoided, thanks to bad weather. The real bat...

Hate

Hatred is supposed to have a cause, some concrete event or insult that inspires a lasting rage. But in Othello, the play's villain is motivated by a hatred that seems to elude any reasonable defini...

Identity

In Othello, Shakespeare explores factors that play an important role in the formations of one's identity – race, gender, social status, family relationships, military service, etc. Othello is...
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