Notes on Othello Themes

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Othello Topic Tracking: Miscommunication

Miscommunication 1: Iago initially tells Brabantio that his house is being robbed. This cry is the first piece of intended miscommunication. He is overtly lying, or communicating misinformation to another, in order to gain personal satisfaction. Iago also tells the audience that he plans to mislead the other Venetians to believe that he loves Othello. While he deeply despises the Moor, Iago will put on an air of loyalty and love for him.

Miscommunication 2: Brabantio has trouble believing that his daughter escaped with the Moor. He believes this fact to be a miscommunication, and attempts to prove it false through the Duke's adjudication.

Miscommunication 3: Othello views Cassio's conversation with Desdemona and mistakes it an amorous exchange.

Miscommunication 4: Iago leads everyone to believe that he is honest and caring, while he is truly a conniving evil spirit. He intentionally misrepresents his feelings to everyone in Venice and Cyprus.

Miscommunication 5: Iago, once again, intentionally communicates false information to Othello about Desdemona. He implants the idea of Desdemona's disloyalty, pointing to her relationship with her father, Brabantio.

Miscommunication 6: Othello's proof of Desdemona's disloyalty lies in the handkerchief. As soon as he is misled to believe that the napkin is in the hands of Cassio, Othello immediately believes all lies and miscommunications betold him by Iago.

Miscommunication 7: The miscommunication between Desdemona and Othello, due to Iago's intentional lies, manifests in this scene as Othello strikes Desdemona. His anger results in violence because of the information discovered through miscommunication.

Miscommunication 8: Emilia tries to discover the truth behind the violence and troublesome relationship of Othello and Desdemona. Othello manifests his anger once again, this time cursing Desdemona. The cursing and insults would not occur had communication been healthy and true.

Miscommunication 9: Iago kills Roderigo in the dark, so that there will be a false attribution of guilt. He can pretend to be innocent and question others, overtly illustrating intended miscommunication. Most of the miscommunication in the play is planned, like Roderigo's murder, and not a product of happenstance.

Miscommunication 10: This final confrontation between Desdemona and Othello centers around the jealousy existing because of a miscommunication. Othello still believes Desdemona to have had an affair with Cassio. She pleads with him that she is chaste and knows nothing of the missing handkerchief. Again, the handkerchief is supposed proof of adultery, yet is truly a misplaced evidentiary prop.

Miscommunication 11: The play concludes with a final revelation of the miscommunication explored throughout. Roderigo's note explains Iago's plan, exposing the true villain of the play and source of miscommunication. All the jealousy is and was a manifestation of Iago's intent to cause miscommunication between lovers. When it is revealed, the only solution for those involved is death or pain.

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