Symbolism is a literary device that is often used. It is frequently used because it is not only easily recognized, but also because it allows for a fuller understanding of the story/play. Furthermore, it is used in order to represent topics or characters that would otherwise be difficult to develop. Imagery is another very powerful tool used when developing a plot. In the tragedy of Othello the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare symbols and imagery are not only useful during plot development but also a major focus. .
There are many examples of imagery and symbolism throughout the play Othello. A great deal of emphasis is put on religious imagery, especially that dealing with demons, monsters and the devil. Iago personifies the devil in the play. For example when he states in Act I "devils will the blackest sins put on.suggest at first with heavenly shows as I do now." Iago himself is the very first one to recognize his wickedness. Unfortunately, the other characters realize it only after the consequences are irreversible. .
Iago not only causes chaos between characters, but he brings about inner corruption as well. He went so far as to cause Othello to hate Desdemona, something that seemed nearly impossible. Furthermore, his perception of Desdemona goes from "the divine Desdemona"" to "monstrous, monstrous!" Imagery of hell and damnation also recurs throughout, especially toward the end of the play. When Othello becomes preoccupied with the religious and moral judgment of Desdemona, and after he has learned the truth about Iago, he refers to devils and demons several times in Act V. .
Another example of imagery is that dealing with jealousy. For example, Iago tells Othello to beware of jealousy, the "green-eyed monster which doth mock/ The meat it feeds on" (III.iii.). Ironically enough, Iago is describing himself. Not only does he personify the devil but he personifies evil and jealousy as well.