Analysis Of Jealousy And Manipulation In Othello

1635 words - 7 pages

The power of jealousy has never had a positive impact among the people trapped within its realm. It is as an innate feeling that everyone falls into. Shakespeare sets his play, Othello, in Venice, where Othello, a black foreigner in the eyes of the Venetians, marries Desdemona, daughter of a rich politician, and becomes to feel inadequate for her. His judgment becomes impaired when he falls for the lies that Iago, his ensign, implanted. Iago’s revenge moved the plot of the play along with his trickery that occurred one after the other. This paper will discuss the role of jealousy and manipulation as a motive for the characters’ reckless actions as well as refuting race as being a major theme ...view middle of the document...

An argument that could be made against this is that Iago’s reason for revenge is petty. Iago has been known to define “motiveless malignancy” (Colderidge, 1995). Conversely, his jealousy was not motiveless. It may be petty because it was not a big deal, but he lost a prestigious spot as a lieutenant, something he believed he deserved to have and was therefore an adequate reason for revenge. In order to get what he wanted, he had to formulate a plan, a strategy endowed with the constant manipulation of Othello, Roderigo, and Cassio. He went forth with no restrictions or hesitations. He focused on his every next move in order to not be caught and to destroy Othello and Cassio. His true colors were disguised by his reputation of being an honest and loving man. Thus, Iago utilized jealousy and manipulation the most.
In past and modern societies, men are supposed to be strong, holding in their emotions in public and sometimes even in private. So when a man lets his guard down, he is opening a door for people to come in thus making him more vulnerable. An example where emotions take over was when Iago convinces Othello that Desdemona was cheating on him with Cassio. Othello and Desdemona were still in their honeymoon stage. They were still in love with each other for real reasons. Iago, acting like the evil villain he presents himself to be, tells Othello to watch Cassio and Desdemona’s interaction to see how intimate they are with each other. By doing so, he is playing on Othello’s insecurities. Initially, Othello does not see this as a problem because he had the utmost confidence that Desdemona loved him. Meanwhile, Iago begs his wife, Emilia, to steal a handkerchief that Othello gave to Desdemona as a gift and then plants it in Cassio’s room to frame him. As Iago’s manipulation persisted, Othello’s confidence fell leading to a drop in his self-esteem. This suggests that Othello has become less self-assured in himself, thus making him become paranoid. What he wants to believe and what Iago is telling him began to battle in his mind. This presents devious control and resentment at work and manipulation as a product of jealousy. When a mind is manipulated and deceived into thinking things that are not really there, it could only lead to the downfall of a person. Othello was not strong enough to withhold Iago from telling him lies, therefore causing him to become less confident about how he was as a person and a husband.
As Iago plants the seeds of jealous rage in Othello, he is also telling him that he shouldn’t worry or be jealous. For example, Iago says, “O beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger” (3.3.170-173). This only bolsters Iago’s credibility because Othello sees that Iago is trying to calm him down and that he is not trying to bring him to his demise. However, Othello is still fighting with the thoughts of...

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