Othello is indeed full to bursting with various images of nature, animals, storms and Heaven and Hell, all of which enhance our reading of the play. They are not only useful in a practical way but are also often symbolic of other things. Without these images, Othello wouldn't have the same effect on readers nor would it be as powerful a play. The references to these images have huge impact on the reader, in my opinion, and they only add to the mood and tone of the play. Without doubt, Shakespeare uses imagery intelligently and with great effect in his play Othello, illustrating the personalities of characters and their opinions of the other characters around them.
Imagery of animals is used frequently throughout the play, describing the opinions of the characters regarding their friends and enemies. Iago describes Othello using animal imagery from the very start of the play. He calls him a ˜Barbary horse' (1i),' an old black ram' (1i) and tells Brabantio that Othello and his daughter are ˜making the beast with two backs' (1i). The impact of these references to animals is the dehumanisation of Othello, making him out to be no more than an animal lacking in human sophistication and driven by lust. They are suitable quotes because they allow us to see how Iago really feels about Othello. Clearly, he hates him as he frequently compares him to animals.
Othello's language shifts as Iago's corruption begins to eat away at his mind, and he too begins to use animal imagery to describe his feelings towards Desdemona. For example, as he describes his suspicions about Desdemona's fidelity and what he will do if these suspicions are indeed true, his language adopts the tone of a falconer: .
˜If I do prove her haggard, .
Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings, .
I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind.