Color Images in Othello.Color Imagery in Othello Imagery, as specified by Webster’s Dictionary, is making use of vivid metaphorical language to represent things, actions, or concepts. In Othello, Shakespeare uses colors to represent concepts or to set the mood for the scenes taking place. Using such color images enhances the play, causing the reader to look past the mere words and look for the much deeper significance behind the scenes. The primary colors that Shakespeare uses are black and white; however, some importance is represented through the use of green and red likewise.
Throughout history, the color black has actually constantly been used to set the state of mind for evil and deceit. In Othello, Iago, the antagonist, construes most of his evil strategies in the dark of night. The play even opens at night as Iago starts his wicked computing (1. 1). The play also ends during the night as Othello smothers his innocent better half and, later, eliminates himself. In a soliloquy, Iago states “When devils will the blackest sins put on,/ They do recommend in the beginning with heavenly programs,/ As I do now” (2. 3. 15-317) and finishes with “So will I turn her [Desdemona] virtue into pitch” (2. 3. 324) This speech, using the meaning implied by the color black, allows Iago to make known his destructive intents. Convinced, through Iago’s computing, of Desdemona’s impurity, Othello announces that “her name, that was as fresh/As Dian’s visage, is now begrim ‘d and black/As mine own face” (3. 3. 387-389). Shakespeare’s primary character is the black Moor Othello. Here, black is not utilized to suggest a sense of evil. In one aspect, it reflects the racism throughout the times of Shakespeare.
Utilizing a black character permits Shakespeare to put racial stress into his play, putting an even higher weight upon the rifts that are produced among the other characters. Throughout the play, several racial slurs are made against Othello’s race, particularly Iago’s railings versus him to Desdemona’s dad Brabantio: “Because we pertain to do you service and you think we are ruffians, you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse” (1. 1. 109-111) and “I am one, sir, that comes to inform you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with 2 acks” (1. 1. 114-115). Othello’s black skin also separates him from the other characters, enabling Iago to work his evil deeds without fear of Othello finding them. The color green is utilized primarily in referral to plants. Plants, in Othello, look like characters in the play being items of specific inescapable natural forces which, if left uncontrolled, will grow wild. Iago, who considers himself a good garden enthusiast of himself and others (1. 3. 319-322), cultivates his conceits that they may grow into dangerous weeds.
Shakespeare likewise makes use of the color green to represent the jealousy that grows in Othello as Iago’s schemes unfold. Iago, pretending to be a sincere and buddy, alerts Othello of jealousy: “It is the green-ey ‘d beast which doth mock the meat it feeds upon” (3. 3. 167-168). It is among the greenery of the garden that Othello’s jealousy is very first stimulated when he sees Cassio with Desdemona (3. 3. 36). In Othello, the color white is utilized most thoroughly to signify the virtuosity and innocence of Desdemona, the gorgeous partner of Othello and the falsely-accused victim of Iago’s destructive lies.
Numerous references are made to Desdemona’s “reasonable” skin, always a sharp contrast to her husband’s black skin (1. 1. 120; 1. 2. 66; 3. 3. 480). Towards the conclusion of the play, Desdemona asks her maid and buddy Emilia to make her bed with the white wedding sheets (4. 2. 105) and even demands of Emilia, “If I do pass away before thee, prithee, shroud me/In one of those very same sheets” (4. 3. 223-224). It is upon these extremely sheets that Othello smothers Desdemona, not wishing to shed her blood for fear of scarring “that whiter skin of hers than snow,/ And smooth as monumental alabaster” (5. 4-5). Shakespeare seemingly wanted to stress Desdemona’s innocence and purity by using the color white as much as possible. Making use of so much white to depict the pureness of Desdemona includes an incredible weight to the disaster of the play; for, the audience, having actually undergone a lot symbolism of Desdemona’s virtuosity, can not assist however be moved to tears at her regrettable death at the hands of her own partner for crimes she had actually not committed. Shakespeare does not make a tremendous usage of the color red. It is primarily represented in the reference of blood.
Similar to almost all literary writings, the use of blood is indicated to speak of life and death, mainly of the latter. As Othello goes by after Iago has stabbed Cassio, he hears Cassio cry out and assumes that he is passing away. Satisfied that Iago has actually served justice upon Cassio, he sets his mind to eliminating Desdemona stating, “Minion, your dear lies dead,/ And your unblest fate hies: strumpet, I come./ Forth of my heart those charms, thine eyes, are blotted;/ They, bed, lust-stain ‘d, will with desire’s blood be spotted” (5. 1. 33-36).
Although he truly does not intend on shedding her blood, the reference to it allows the audience to completely recognize his determination to eliminate her. In regards to utilizing the color red to suggest life, Shakespeare uses the symbol of a rose. As Othello participates in the space in the last act of the play and makes his long speech prior to killing his falsely-accused partner he mentions, “When I have pluck ‘d the rose,/ I can not offer it crucial development again,/ It requires need to wither” (5. 2. 13-15). Color images in Shakespeare’s Othello adds weight and suggesting to the play.
Many can check out or view the play and simply enjoy it for its words and literary value. Other readers or members in the audience delight in searching much deeper into the imagery, whether it be plant, animal, or color, to find the surprise morals or meanings of the play. Not only do the colors make the play more aesthetically exciting, but they permit the browsing audience to include a much deeper significance, maybe even a personal meaning, to the play. Work Pointed Out Shakespeare, William. Othello. Literature and the Writing Process. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. Sixth ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice, 2002. 830-915.