Othello and Macbeth

A discussion of the power of the language used in Shakespeare’s plays, Othello and Macbeth.

The writer examines the power of language in showing cause and effect in literature. For example, the writer shows how, through silence, Shakespeare is able to portray just as much, and sometimes more, than during dialogue. The paper includes many direct quotes from both plays.

Language and Power in Othello
Iago and the Addiction of Equivocation
Othello: Contagious Profanity and Failing Syntax
Speech, Paradox, and Fleeing Destiny/Identity
Conclusion on Othello
Magic Words and the Equivocation of Witchery
The Characterization of Macbeth: The Contagion of Power and Prophesy
Language and Prophecy in Macbeth
Lady Macbeth: Language for Self-definition and Self-destruction
Conclusion on Macbeth
Othello and Macbeth stand out as two important works among a small handful of Shakespeare’s best plays. They have remained among the most popular and powerful of his works in no small part because of their profound emotional content and strong dramatic story. In these works, as in Hamlet or King Lear, Shakespeare seems to transcend the merely theatrical, presenting his audience with a work of such mythical intensity that one might almost consider it revelation. In Shakespeare’s finest works, one has a sense of mythological import it is for this reason that subsequent generations of writers have held Shakespearian allusions on par with references to ancient Grecian mythologies or even biblical symbolism, and that his work has truly shaped the course of literature since his time.