The Nature Of Jealousy In Othello

652 words - 3 pages

William Shakespeare’s illustrious play Othello illustrates that the destructive nature of jealousy inevitably leads to desolation as it obscures reality, consumes the mind, and damages relationships. Jealousy is a prominent theme in this tragedy as it motivates many of the characters’ actions, and suggests a lot about the impacts and essence of jealousy itself. The play’s antagonist, Iago, is the first character to exhibit jealousy, which in turn spawns thoughts of retribution that prompt him to generate a plan to seek revenge on all those that he feels have wronged him. Throughout the play, Iago articulates his jealousy of both Othello and Cassio. He reveals that he is jealous of Cassio for securing the position of lieutenant, which Iago feels he was more deserving of, and jealous of Othello not only for his powerful position, but also because of his suspicion that Othello has slept with his wife, ...view middle of the document...

The whole tragedy stems from Iago’s manipulation of the truth in order to elicit feelings of jealousy in Othello. Iago’s own jealousy empowers him to instil the same feeling within Othello’s mind, which leads to his eventual downfall. The first occasion that doubt is planted in Othello’s mind is Brabantio’s warning, “Look to her Moor, if thou hast eyes to see: / She has deceived her father and may thee” (I.iii, 289-290), which allows Iago to take advantage of Othello’s jealous nature, “She did deceive her father, marrying you” (III.iii, 208). Iago slowly plants more and more doubt of Desdemona in Othello, and soon has the outcome he was hoping to attain; Othello is overcome with jealousy. Although Othello incessantly denies his jealousy, his mind is consumed with the thought that he was betrayed by Desdemona’s unfaithfulness. He speaks to Iago when he says “No, Iago, / I’ll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;/And on the proof, there is no more but this:/ Away at once with love or jealousy”(III. iii, 191-194). Like a virus, jealous propagates itself within Othello’s mind, so as soon Iago plants a jealous thought, everything Othello sees supports the idea that Desdemona has been disloyal to him. Therefore when Iago presents Othello with compelling “evidence” that Desdemona is untrue with the loss of her handkerchief; Othello is so consumed by rage and jealousy that he can no longer be convinced that Desdemona is, in fact, faithful. Though Desdemona unrelentingly denies being unfaithful, Othello is not convinced, and murders her, in an attempt to punish her for her actions. Once the truth finally comes out that Othello was misled and manipulated for Iago’s own personal agenda, Othello commits suicide and in his death speech he says that he was “one not easily jealous but, being wrought/ Perplex’d in the extreme” (V. ii, 342-343). Overall the tragedy Othello demonstrates the destructive power that jealousy can have over people, and the catastrophic repercussions that may befall when a person exploits the jealous nature of another.

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