Other Themes

Ambition

The play Othello is driven largely by its character Iago’s unchecked ambition. When the position of lieutenant was given to Cassio by Othello, Iago is deeply affected by a wounded ego.

When Othello put a check on his desire, he becomes secretly discontent. In his ambition to become what he wanted to; he plans everything.

While falsely consoling Cassio, he says, “You have lost no reputation at all unless you repute yourself such a loser.” It tells us how ambition in Iago works. The play reveals that ambition in wrong ones makes them “pull down the greatness of any subject that overtops.”

Power

In the play, one gets to see how power can reside in two opposite kind of spaces. Othello is the one who is made up of elements whose nobility suits power while on the other side, there is Iago who seeks power but he is entirely unfit for it.

His means and ends are of worst kinds. The play shows how power can be transferred but, in this case, it is tried by the lesser kind.

Othello may have the power of manly courage but Iago has a deep understanding of human minds and that knowledge is the power with which he manipulates every other person in the play. 

Identity

The age, in which the play is set, had a deep obsession with the issue of identity. From the very beginning, Iago along with Roderigo keeps poking at the character of Othello. He is racially perceived for having a different origin.

The colour of his skin is constantly evoked in order to show how his identity differs as per their society. Cassio’s identity is that of a refined courtly member.

Desdemona comes from a stately lineage but it is Othello whose identity remains that of an outsider and the only thing which has an impact upon their identity is their relationship. 

Gender

The play shows the social concept of male and female of that age. Relationship of Iago-Emilia and Othello-Desdemona may differ in terms of devotion and love but in gender perception, both males suffer from the same thing.

In the end, Emilia is stabbed by Iago and Desdemona is strangled by Othello. The sexuality of both characters remained a huge threat to males. The gender is intermixed with racial prejudices.

Othello as a moor is prejudiced as someone who is “lascivious” and full of contamination. Overall, the play deals with gender in such a way that it shows how the female gender suffers the male prejudices and jealousy.

Revenge

It is one of the various themes which can be noted in the play. Iago is seeking revenge from Othello for not giving him the position of lieutenant. Roderigo in his mean assumption of love seeks revenge from Othello for being with Desdemona.

Brabantio is inflamed with anger when Desdemona elopes with Othello. Othello at the centre of all these suffers from his own inherent vulnerability.

Iago’s whole drive is fuelled by his inhibited ambition for which he wants to revenge by taking away the love which alone keeps the chaos of Othello sane. The play shows how in revenge characters can manoeuvre beyond the calm of peace and love.