Essay Example on Cassio & Bianca: An Apology, Assurance, and Jealousy

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  885 Words
Date:  2022-12-29

Bianca and Cassio's Conversation: Jealousy, Contrasts, and Symbolism

The conversation between Bianca and Cassio ensues after Bianca, and a prostitute accuses Cassio of not seeing her enough. He apologizes claiming that he has been occupied with anxious thoughts. He then asks Bianca to make a replica of a handkerchief he hands to her. Bianca, presuming the cloth to be a gift from a woman, accuses Cassio of sleeping with another woman (Shakespeare & Sanders, 1984). In response, Cassio assures her that her jealousy is without cause. Bianca wants to stay longer with him, but he says he has to find Othello and that they could only meet later. This Bianca accepts begrudgingly.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Bianca's jealousy serves as a contrast for the resentment that Othello feels for Desdemona (Shakespeare & Sanders, 1984). It is also an indication that women are also prone to this feeling as opposed to a prior judgment by Emilia attributing it only to men, earlier in the same scene. Bianca is also depicted as a contrast to Desdemona because she is a prostitute while Desdemona is a virtuous wife. However, due to Bianca's feelings for Cassio, the contrast is complicated.

The Significance of the Handkerchief: Central Symbol and Irony

The handkerchief features in their conversation as it does throughout the play (Shakespeare & Sanders, 1984). It is one of the central symbols of the unfolding story. In some instances, it represents Othello's unique and mysterious heritage, and to him, it also represents Desdemona's chastity. It can, therefore, take different interpretations depending on the circumstance and its carrier. When Iago places the handkerchief in Cassio's lodging, it indicates a conviction of Desdemona's unfaithfulness (Shakespeare & Sanders, 1984). When it is found in Bianca's hands, who is a whore, it is an illustration that Desdemona has lost her virtue according to Othello because she lost the handkerchief which was a symbol of that virtue.

The conversation between Bianca and Cassio comprises of dramatic irony. This is because the accusations and the jealousy indignations are expressed for things that did not happen. Bianca accuses Cassio of not seeing her enough because she suspected he had a new lover. This suspicion is confirmed when Cassio asked her to replicate the embroidery of a handkerchief (Shakespeare & Sanders, 1984). This accusation is invalid because Cassio did not even know the owner of the handkerchief. This is similar to other indignations in the scene, for example, Othello's jealousy about Desdemona and also accuses her of being unfaithful to him which turns out to be wrong.

Cassio's Casual Treatment of the Handkerchief: Symbolism and Character Analysis

Cassio treats the handkerchief in a very casual manner; he asks his mistress to replicate it for him. This presents dramatic irony because the audience understands and appreciates the significance of the handkerchief while Cassio seems not to. Bianca's replication of the beautiful embroidery on the handkerchief is symbolically used to allude to the flawed love Othello has for Desdemona as indicated by the fact that it can easily be copied when another person asks (Shakespeare & Sanders, 1984). Also, because the white handkerchief and the red embroidery on it allude to the bride's indication of broken virginity on the wedding night, Cassio giving it to Bianca to make a copy is viewed as mockery because she already lost her virginity and she is a prostitute. This is despite her confessing that she has feelings for Cassio. This conversation goes to emphasize Cassio's character and his attitude towards Bianca.


Shakespeare, W., & Sanders, N. (1984). Othello (The New Cambridge Shakespeare).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Essay:

How does the conversation between Bianca and Cassio illustrate the theme of jealousy in the play?

The conversation between Bianca and Cassio highlights the theme of jealousy. Bianca accuses Cassio of not seeing her enough and suspects that he has a new lover. This mirrors Othello's jealousy towards Desdemona. The scene also challenges the notion that jealousy is exclusive to men, as Emilia suggests earlier. Bianca's jealousy serves as a contrast to Desdemona's virtuous love for Othello, but it also complicates the contrast because of her genuine feelings for Cassio. Overall, the conversation between Bianca and Cassio showcases how jealousy affects different characters in the play.

How does the handkerchief symbolize different things throughout the play, and what role does it play in the conversation between Bianca and Cassio?

The handkerchief is an integral symbol in Othello and Desdemona's story; its meaning changes depending on circumstances and carrier. Iago uses Iago's possession of Desdemona's handkerchief as evidence against her unfaithfulness to Cassio; in Bianca and Cassio's dialogue about Othello losing faith due to Bianca being prostitute, it symbolizes her moral degradation according to Othello. All these associations add depth to this evolving tale while shaping characters actions and beliefs accordingly.

How does Cassio's treatment of the handkerchief contribute to dramatic irony and reveal his attitude towards Bianca?

Cassio's casual treatment of Bianca's handkerchief creates dramatic irony. While audiences understand its symbolic meaning for Othello and Desdemona's relationship, Cassio does not realize its symbolic value; therefore, when Bianca approaches him asking to replicate its embroidery without realizing its symbolic importance; his request serves to mock Bianca as she is already prostitute despite their feelings towards each other; Cassio treats Bianca casually by treating this handkerchief indifferently further underscoring his character development within Othello/Desdemona play.

Cite this page

Essay Example on Cassio & Bianca: An Apology, Assurance, and Jealousy. (2022, Dec 29). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism