By Leah Scragg (auth.)
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Extra info for Discovering Shakespeare’s Meaning
By scene ii, when the Moor and Iago emerge from the darkness, side-by-side, the iterative imagery has predisposed the members of the theatre audience to think of the action in terms of a metaphysical conflict, and Othello's appearance appears to confirm that he is the diabolical force from which the hellish nature of the play world proceeds. In short, from the opening lines of the play in which two gentlemen converse about a third, the verbal and visual imagery combine to carry the spectator forward into a species of hell - a hell in which darkness is omnipresent, animal appetites are satisfied, physical violence is threatened, confusion reigns, and the devil walks.
0, rare for Antony! 205 Eno. Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides, So many mermaids, tended her i'the eyes, And made their bends adomings. At the helm A seeming mermaid steers: the silken tackle 210 Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands, That yarely frame the office. From the barge 37 Imagery and Spectacle A strange invisible perfume hits the sense Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast Her people out upon her; and Antony, Enthron'd i'the market-place, did sit alone, Whistling to the air; which, but for vacancy, Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too, And made a gap in nature.
46-53) A number of devices are used here to evoke the claustrophobic 3. ' Imagery and Spectacle 35 darkness which descends at this point upon the play world. Both night and day are personified, Night being seen as a cruel agent of evil, who blinds compassionate, yet vulnerable, Day. Light is described, metaphorically, as 'thickening' (50) as if it is being permeated by some alien element; while the literal image of the crow contributes to the idea of blackness, not only by the colour of the bird and implied gloom of the wood to which it flies, but through the association between roosting and night.