The true friendship was Emilia's for Desdemona, shown when she stood up witness for the honor of her dead mistress, against Iago, her lying husband, and was killed for it.Appearance and Reality Appearance and reality are important aspects in Othello.In order to survive the combined onslaught of internalized prejudice and the directed venom of Iago, Othello would have had to be near perfect in strength and self-knowledge, and that is not fair demand for anyone.
Explore the different themes within William Shakespeare's tragic play, Othello.
Themes are central to understanding Othello as a play and identifying Shakespeare's social and political commentary.
Types of love and what that means are different between different characters.
Othello finds that love in marriage needs time to build trust, and his enemy works too quickly for him to take that time.
Othello, however, is not aware how deeply prejudice has penetrated into his own personality.
This absorbed prejudice undermines him with thoughts akin to "I am not attractive," "I am not worthy of Desdemona," "It cannot be true that she really loves me," and "If she loves me, then there must be something wrong with her." These thoughts, inflamed by Iago's hints and lies, prevent Othello from discussing his concerns and fears directly with Desdemona, and so he acts on panicked assumption.Once again, he speaks with calm rationality, judging and condemning and finally executing himself.Prejudice Iago's scheme would not have worked without the underlying atmosphere of racial prejudice in Venetian society, a prejudice of which both Desdemona and Othello are very aware.Shakespeare's Desdemona copes with prejudice by denying it access to her own life.Her relationship with Othello is one of love, and she is deliberately loyal only to her marriage.Iago has noticed Othello's tendency to insecurity and overreaction, but not even Iago imagined Othello would go as far into jealousy as he did.Jealousy forces Othello's mind so tightly on one idea, the idea that Desdemona has betrayed him with Cassio, that no other assurance or explanation can penetrate.Othello demands of Iago "Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore, be sure of it, give me the ocular proof" (Act 3, Scene 3).What Iago gives him instead is imaginary pictures of Cassio and Desdemona to feed his jealousy.Upon seeing that she was innocent and that he killed her unjustly, Othello recovers.He can again see his life in proportion and grieve at the terrible thing he has done.