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Catalog of the Shakespeare Art Collection  --  Oil Paintings on Shakespearean Themes

#122 "OTHELLO"
Description of Painting - Oil on canvas 25" x 30"
by Hannah Tompkins

 

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The central figure is Othello whose features are inflamed with the fiery passion of consuming jealousy. Even the whites of his eyes are afire.

Radiating out of his fragmented head is the grim spectre of the web that intersects the head of Iago, who waits, spider-like, for his prey to succumb.

In the foreground lies the pure and sleeping Desdemona. So assured is she of her innocence in the alleged adultery, and so confident of the trust of her husband, Othello, she does little to defend herself with proof, but goes obediently to her suffocating death.

In the volcanic struggle of his confusion, Othello becomes the gull to Iago's subtle manipulations, or conversly, it is the manipulations to gull the Moor that creates the confusion. Either way, he is driven to strangle his bride.

Though the act was his, the hand was Iago's, and so it is designated in the paintings belonging to Othello but the colors identify it as Iago's.

When the whole plot of the deception is uncovered, the agony of Othello's remorse is inconsolable, but before he takes his own life he declares his eternal love for Desdemona in his last farewell:
" I kissed thee ere I killed thee.. no way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss."      (V. ii.)
FIN


Copyright © 1990 Hannah Tompkins. All rights reserved.

 

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