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During the Renaissance period, the idea of prophecy was widely accepted and practiced. In The Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare, a prophecy was used to predict Leontes’ fate and Hermoine’s infidelity. People of the Renaissance enjoyed the idea of the universe and the stars deciding their fate, life paths, decisions, etc. One of the most monumental moments in the Renaissance occurred when astrologers predicted the end of the world, causing mass hysteria. This uproar caused fear across the globe, with professional astrologers, scholars, and other people of prestige, staking their reputations and careers on this allegation. Of course, it did not come true. After this, people’s reliance on astrology greatly dwindled. There were also many apocalyptic predictions that did not come true. Prophecies like these were constantly predicted, and each time, everyone went ballistic. The four humors were based off of the four elements, and they are also similar to zodiac sign elements. A choleric person’s traits are similar to fire signs, a phlegmatic person shares characteristics with air signs, a melancholic person would be similar to water signs, and a sanguine person has many earth sign traits. This would make sense, considering that both the humors and zodiac signs in general are based on nature. The general traits of the four zodiac elements include:

Fire: Passionate, driven, short-tempered 

Earth: Logical, confident, hardworking 

Air: Witty, attention seeking, intelligent

Water: Emotional, intense, charismatic 

Zodiac Signs in Othello

As an astrology lover, I have associated many different characters in Shakespeare’s plays with specific zodiac signs. This is mostly based on their actions, words, and overall energy. Here are a few of my favorites from Shakespeare’s Othello (not in any specific order)!

Iago: Virgo

I have given Iago the sign Virgo for various reasons. Although he is an extreme troublemaker, he is exceedingly methodical when planning his antics. From what I have gathered from his character, he does not plan the various conflicts in Othello haphazardly. Virgos are earth signs, so they crave logic, even if it’s while doing something with malice. 

Emilia: Scorpio 

I believe Emilia shares many Scorpio traits. She is outspoken and assertive, yet emotional as well. She demands certain expectations from people and does not respond well when those expectations are not met. She is extremely passionate about her morals and does not care if she goes against the crowd. 

Othello: Libra

I assigned Libra to Othello because he is easily manipulated by others and also craves attention from his loved ones. Libras in general love attention. Although Othello is not explicitly attention-seeking during the play, one could argue that his passion for murdering Desdemona could root from her not giving him her complete attention. The thought of her sleeping with somebody else and not giving him attention is, what I believe, what sends him over the edge.

Sarah Mengel

Kutztown '23

Junior English major with a minor coffee addiction :)
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