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Personification in Othello

Personification Examples in Othello:

Act II - Scene I

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"The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds; The windshaked surge, with high and monstrous mane,..."   (Act II - Scene I)

In a clever instance of the pathetic fallacy, the interaction between the storm and the sea is described through the metaphor of a battle. This metaphor is fitting, considering the naval battle taking place.

"Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing passion without some instruction...."   (Act IV - Scene I)

This is a subtle sentence from Othello. Once again the notion of Nature is reiterated, the suggestion being that the alleged affair between Cassio and Desdemona is unnatural. The manner in which Othello personifies Nature as a woman indicates that “Nature” is synonymous with Desdemona herself. Othello believes that Desdemona would only commit adultery by “some instruction”—which is to say, manipulation—and not by her own volition. The word pair “shadowing passion” is notably musical in its repetition of sh, n and short a sounds.

"Heaven stops the nose at it, and the moon winks;(85) The bawdy wind, that kisses all it meets, Is hush'd within the hollow mine of earth, And will not hear it...."   (Act IV - Scene II)

In beautiful imagery, Othello reiterates the theme of Nature as a means of judging human action. To illustrate how unnatural Desdemona’s actions are, Othello paints a personified picture of heaven, with the moon and the wind scorning her.

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