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The Beast With Two Backs: Sex, Death, and Violance in Othello - Essay Example

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The beast with two backs: Sex, Violence and Death in Othello Bradley (1992) dubs Othello as a “painfully exciting and the most terrible “play of Shakespeare. The bard in his plays depicts the deadly nature of the passions which contain the root of violence in them…
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The Beast With Two Backs: Sex, Death, and Violance in Othello
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Download file to see previous pages Love described in terms of sex The depiction of love in the play has been conjoined with the crude implications to sex . Iago from the very beginning considers the love affair between Othello and Desdemona an amorous bond with interracial overtones. The imagery alludes to the interracial sex and the shows love as connection between the two characters who are doing nothing else but satisfying their appetite. As if he pluck'd up kisses by the roots That grew upon my lips: then laid his leg Over my thigh, and sigh'd, and kiss'd; and then Cried 'Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor!' ( III.iii. 56). Sex and Bestial Imagery The passion of sex has been treated as a very low passion in the play and has been described with the help of bestial imagery. Iago and some other characters show abhorrence towards interracial sex .The interracial union between the Moor and Desdemona has been taken as a defilement, an evil that should not be permitted. Iago inflames Desdemona’s father through his obvious allusion to interracial sex: Even now, now, very now, an old black ram Is topping your white ewe. Arise, arise; Awake the snorting citizens with the bell, Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you ( I.i. 84-88) Brabantio is bent upon breaking any possible connection of his daughter with the black man as he thinks that the Moor will have corrupting influence on his daughter. Iago calls Othello “ a Barbary horse” thus evoking the symbol of savagery and bestiality. This concept has further been highlighted through the words that Othello and Desdemona through their sexual contact are actually “ making the beast with two back”( I.i. 117-118). The analogy depicted in these lines portrays sex as an animal desire. Violence in the play The theme of sexual jealousy is connected with the acts of violence and Bradley (1992) declares that inclusion of such scene of violence have made the play shocking for the audience and the reader. The sexual jealousy leads the main character to commit violence against those who have evoked this emotion in the protagonist. His torture of innocent Desdemona is the worst example of the violence in plays. The extreme of sexual jealousy results into the death of Desdemona. Such incidents could not be taken as tragic rather these incidents could be termed as offensive and shocking. In his book Bradley ( 1992) alludes to many acts of violence and savage behavior in Othello . One such event of violence which actually is the result of the recent contempt that Othello has developed for his wife due to her imagined promiscuity, is the striking of Desdemona. This act of striking of Desdemona is quite pathetic and it offends Lodvico who declares, “My lord, this would not be believed in Venice,/ Though I should swear I saw't: 'tis very much:/ Make her amends; she weeps” ( IV.i. 260-263). Violence appears in the three forms in the play: physical, mental and verbal. The source of violence in the play is sexual jealousy. The passion blinds the main character’s thinking capacity and he deals with his female counterpart violently. All sorts of torture have been inflicted on Desdemona. She has been struck wildly by her husband even before the envoys. Sex is not the only source of violence in the play. When the characters lose their temper in the play they resort to broils. Cassio involves in a fight with Roderigo and exclaims, “A knave teach me my duty! I'll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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