The Cuckold, or "Horned Devil": A cuckold
is a man whose wife has been unfaithful. In Shakespeare's day, cuckolded men were thought to grow
horns when their wives cheated on them. Othello believes that he is a Cuckold, and becomes like
a devil in personality, even though his wife has been faithful.
Animal metaphors: many animal metaphors are used in Othello. "Tupping," for one, is the copulation
of sheep, and Iago uses that metaphor when talking to Brabantio about Othello and when talking to Othello
about Cassio and Desdemona. Along with the line "making the beast with two backs," these metaphors
are designed to dehumanize and to elicit an emotional response. Also, the common phrase "Croccodile
Tears" comes originally from Othello. It's original meaning was "tears not cried in honesty,"
or "tears cried for deception."
Othello's Headaches: Othello begins to have painful headaches when he starts to believe that Desdemona
has been unfaithful to him. These headaches represent his inner pain with his feelings for Desdemona,
which are of deep love, and his belief that she has been untrue.
Fair Desdemona: Desdemona is always characterized as "fair," meaning "light-skinned." The light skin
of Desdemona represents a pure body, mind, and soul as well as great beauty. Even when Othello
kills her, he cannot bear to destroy her beautiful skin, and so he suffocates her instead.