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Essay about Jealousy in Shakespeare's Othello

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Jealousy in Othello

Shakespeare is well for his ability to compose plays full of deceit, revenge, and jealousy. Othello, one of Shakespeare’s most recognized tragedies, was consistently evolving around the central theme of jealousy. As these lies are unraveled the central theme of his play became distinct, and clearly visible. Furthermore the theme of jealousy goes hand in hand with love, as often is the case in real life. Love consumes all those who take part in it, and in Othello's case his flaws lie in his loving Desdemona so blindly. It is for that single reason that Iago knows that such a naïve man as Othello, who loves his wife so blindly and unrealistically, can be corrupted.

Just as Othello's flaws lie within his…show more content…

These two are the most common types of jealousy and envy that we know and express.

"O sir content you.

I follow him to serve my turn upon him…."(lines38-39)

"It is as sure as you are Roderigo,

Where I the Moor, I would not be Iago.

In following him, I follow but myself.

Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,

…The native act and figure of my heart

In complient extern, tis not long after

But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve

For daws peck at; I am not what I am." (lines 53-62)

Iago being the mainpulator of this tragedy, is an intricate and complex character, who unravels the play with his lies. However a person must keep in mind that the direction of Iago's jealousy is not only against sexual love, but against love itself in all manifestations. Iago, being the villain of this tragedy, appears to have a desire to reach out and destroy the loving, as well as the good in everything. For example, after he unsuccessfully tried to enrage Barbantio with Othello and Desdemona's secret, he began the endless web of lies. As a result of all of Iago's lies, each character gains a false feeling of jealousy. What is meant by the phrase "false feeling", is explained in Emilia's response to Desdemonas cries:

"But jealous souls will not be answer'd so;

They are not ever jealous for the cause,

But jealous for they are jealous: tis' a monster


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Human Frailty In Othello Essay

Human Frailty in Othello

    Tragedy is an intrinsically human concept; tragic heroes are damned by what they themselves do. Othello is not so much felled by the actions of Iago, but by a quality all people possess-- human frailty. Accordingly, Othello is not a victim of consequences, but an active participant in his downfall. He is not merely a vehicle for the machinations of Iago; he had free agency. Othello's deficiencies are: an insecure grasp of Venetian social values; lack of critical intelligence, self-knowledge, and faith in his wife; and finally, insecurity-- these are the qualities that lead to his own downfall.

    Othello is the Cultural Other in Venetian society, and while he is very learned, it is probable that he is not fully aware of the social and cultural mores that govern Venice. As a Moor, Othello was reared outside Venice, and thus remains separate and exoticized.  Although a great military man, and accepted by the elite of Venice, there is still a foreign-ness to him. The characters in the play, for the most part, call Othello "the Moor" (1. 1. 37, 1. 1. 161, 1. 2. 56). By calling Othello "the Moor," his proper name is taken away and he is left as an object. He is only accepted because of his military prowess, and seems to be used almost as a commodity; he is sent to Cyprus, with little warning--almost at the whim of the Duke. It is only because he is valuable to Venice that he is not punished for marrying the white Desdemona; Brabantio's anger is a clear indication that miscegenation is not an acceptable practice. Therefore, being a stranger to Venetian society, even a vague inkling that he is only a body used to fight may lead to insecurity that only exacerbates the deep-seeded, pre-existing insecurities. It is his deep insecurity which allows Iago to so completely exploit him. Iago's explicit imagery of hypothetical scenes between Cassio and Desdemona hit the mark-- Othello becomes incensed and also reminded that he is older than Desdemona (3. 3. 400-401).

    He lacks the critical intelligence to doubt Iago, because Othello feels his masculinity is damaged by even the mere suggestion that he has been cuckolded. His insecure grasp of social and human values results in placing his faith in Iago, over his supposed beloved. His immature romanticism allows passion to override his critical intelligence (as evidenced by his epileptic fits, triggered by superfluous emotion), and results in blindness to the pitfalls that surround him. In the Anthony Hopkins film version, Othello is foaming at the mouth, and seems to get progressively more insane. By the middle of the play, Othello has already believed his newlywed wife has been unfaithful to him; his only "relief must be to loathe her" (3. 3. 266-267). He strikes his chest, and it hurts his hand, so hardened is his heart. He believes Iago so fully, that "all [his] fond love thus do I blow to heaven/ 'Tis gone/Arise, black vengeance, from hollow hell;" this...

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