Thesis Statement: In the play Othello, William Shakespeare uses the idea of Hell and the Devil to emphasize and help the reader understand the implications of certain occurrences, the maliciousness of particular ideas, and the undeniably evil ways of all human beings.


“I have it, it is engendered. Hell and night must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light” (1.3,444-446)

In this instance, Shakespeare uses the idea of Hell in Iago’s dialogue to emphasize the vileness of his plan to bring Othello to his ultimate destruction. This is a commonly used theme in Othello and nearly all of Shakespeare’s tragedies and represents the true malevolence of character’s thoughts and intentions. The evil nature of Iago’s plan becomes evident when you learn of his goal to ruin the lives of more than four people through death or rejection. Iago’s evilness is directly related to the negative and vile nature of Hell and entities such as the Devil.


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“You are pictures out of door, bells in your parlors, wildcats in your kitchens, saints in your injuries, devils being offended, players in your huswifery, and huswives in your beds.” (2.1.122-125)

The idea of servitude and Satan is prevalent in Iago’s perception of woman and their roles in his life. Iago believes that while they may be kind and regretful after hurting someone, but when they are injured or hurt, they retaliate viciously and without remorse. Also, Iago strongly thinks that women have no real purpose outside of servitude and being a housewife, and truth they are merely tools of pleasure for men to use, as they are a man’s property. Iago’s view of women is key in understanding why he is so vengeful and lacks the guilt in his actions when manipulating Othello and hurting his wife.


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“Devil!” (4.1,268)

The idea and portrayal of women as Devil’s by other men is very prominent throughout the entirety of this play. Most notably, When Othello slaps Desdemona he calls her a Devil and essentially decides at this point that he must go through with his plan for vengeance and retribution. His calling Desdemona a Devil is a critical turning point in this play and shows that he truly believes that she is no longer sweet and innocent, but a mischievous conniving villain. The Devil symbolizes evil, lies, and sin and accurately represents Othello’s feelings towards Desdemona.


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