So much ado, so much stress, so much passion and repetition about an Handkerchief? Why was not this called the Tragedy of the Handkerchief? […] Had it been Desdemona’s Garter, the Sagacious Moor might have smelt a Rat: but the Handkerchief is so remote a trifle, no Booby, on this side of Mauritania, could make any consequence from it.
Judged by this reasoning, it is no wonder that Othello is driven to distraction and illness, bringing on a fit of epilepsy, by something as seemingly trivial as a handkerchief. Its very triviality highlights the infectious, irrational nature of jealousy and in so doing, highlights the weak foundation of this tragedy: which is, in its essence, that a piece of mundane fabric can destroy even the most loving of relationships. Such is the fragility of the tragic hero. Share your thoughts on the following questions in the Comments:Trifles light as air
Are to the jealous confirmations strong
As proofs of holy writ.
- Why does Shakespeare use the handkerchief as a catalyst for Othello’s jealousy?
- How does the context of war and Othello’s military prowess affect his ability to be influenced?
Othello: In Performance
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