Othello Sexual Desire Analysis

2157 Words 9 Pages
Sexual desire is defined as “a motivational state and an interest in sexual objects or activities, or as a wish, need, or drive to seek out sexual objects or to engage in sexual activities”, and a theme which appears to be significant in Othello, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Enduring Love. In all three, sexual desire proves to contribute in both building solidarity within relationships, and the destruction of them. For Shakespeare, sexual desire shows how concealing physical feelings can lead to the breakdown of one’s psychological state, causing the death of both the male protagonist, Othello, and his lover, Desdemona; a classic tragedy of the generation. Williams showcases an initially ambiguous outcome, where sexual desire and its effect …show more content…
In the play, much of Othello’s obsession is his masculinity and proving himself to Desdemona as the powerful soldier of Venice. This masculine need to prove himself can be seen as Othello’s ultimate flaw and one that eventually leads to his destruction. Masculinity is a common trait associated with feelings of sexual attraction, (INSERT CRITICAL VIEWPOINT) and therefore gives Iago ammunition with which to diminish Othello’s masculinity. In Act 3 Scene 3, Iago uses Desdemona’s unfaithfulness as a weapon, to diminish Othello’s reputation, and therefore his desirability to Desdemona. In line 167, Iago begins to endeavour in destroying Othello’s reputation when he says “O beware, my lord, of jealousy: It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on”. Othello’s status as a soldier showcases him as powerful, and masculine. In contrast, traits of jealousy present the opposite; the imagery associated with jealousy suggests the destructive qualities of this emotion. There is a strong sense of devouring in the word “feeds” which fits in with Iago’s description of Othello as being “eaten up with passion”. The idea of feeding on Othello suggests that jealousy will physically diminish him, as well as mentally. These lines suggest that once he becomes convinced that his wife is unfaithful, the jealousy feeds itself, leading to Othello’s …show more content…
In Othello, Iago’s interference can be seen as the principle cause of Othello’s downfall. Iago uses a symbol in Act 3, Scene 3 which manifests his intentions to manipulate Othello through language, leading him to believe of Desdemona’s infidelity. On line 322, Iago declares his plans to the audience when he informs them he will “in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin and let him find it” The significance of Iago’s prop is revealed to the audience in the following line “Trifles light as air are to jealous conformations strong”. As Iago is aware that the handkerchief is representative of both love and sexual desire, it shows that he understands that the presence of these two things in conjunction can be ultimately destructive, therefore he comprehends the significance of the handkerchief in his victim’s relationship, making him perfectly able to use something so tangibly small to create huge doubt in Othello’s head, leading him to greater doubt and create further distrust with little additional input from Iago. Furthermore, Iago’s use of a juxtaposition when referring to the handkerchief as “light” and “strong” emphasises its symbolic meaning in contrast with its physical significance, which explains why it has such a catastrophic impact on Othello and Desdemona’s relationship.. Traditionally, the house of the newly-weds would be expected

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