Othello Rhetorical+Literary Devices

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

logos appeal to reason

Othello convinces Roderigo that Desdemona and Cassio are sleeping together, and later that he should kill Cassio.


appeal to emotion

Iago knows Othello loves Desdemona, so he will get particularly upset about her infidelity.


Appeal to character

“You know I love you”
Using Cassio’s reputation

Animal/sexual metaphors


hinting to things

“She did decieve her father…”
“Beware of jealousy”
“Men should be what they seem”

Animal/sexual images
Iago repeats Othello’s words to cast doubt


language that appeals to the senses

Animal/sexual references to Brabantio, Othello

connotative language

implied meaning

Animal/sexual words: topped and cope

well-placed silences

on stage w/o speaking

Slap scene
Talked about by Desdemona, Emilia

leading/rhetorical questions

Did Cassio and Desdemona…

“Honest, my lord?”


…, lets sentence/thought trail off

Says bad things about Desdemona, then stops and excuses himself


calling attention to something by saying it’s not important

“Leave it to time”
“But for a satisfaction of my thought”


a contrast between expectation and reality

“I have a conscience”
“You know I love you”
“Cassio’s my worthy friend”


litote, deliberately less intense statement than meaning

“Scattering and unsure observance”
“I see this hath a little dashed your spirits”
“He is much changed”


directly addressesing an absent or imaginary person, or some abstraction

“Arise, black vengeance”


speech to oneself

Iago’s speech as he plans to “turn goodness into pitch”
Othello’s speech as he prepares to kill Desdemona


where the conflict reaches a turning point

Othello believes Iago, they decide to kill Desdemona and Cassio


the use of hints and clues to suggest what will happen later in a plot

The Willow Song
Desdemona: “Shroud me in these sheets”
Othello: “Chaos is come again”

blank verse
unrhymed iambic pentameter

iambic pentameter
a poetic meter that is made up of 5 stressed syllables (feet) each followed by an unstressed syllable


a comparison without using like or as

Jealousy as the green-eyed monster


a comparison using like or as

The thought of Emilia and Othello together gnaws like a poisonous mineral at Iago’s innards


the act of attributing human characteristics to abstract ideas etc.

Jealousy as green-eyed monster

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