Extreme Jealousy In Shakespeare's Othello, The Moor Of Venice

2449 words - 10 pages

Extreme Jealousy in Othello, the Moor of Venice

   Aristotle's Poetics laid out the definition of tragedy: unlike comedy, the purpose of tragedy is not merely to instruct and delight an audience. Rather, its aim is to allow a cathartic release as a result of the heightened emotional state caused by the events of the tragedy. This idea assumes that the average person can experience these intense emotions vicariously. In Psyche and Symbol in Shakespeare , Alex Aronson contends that the characters in Shakespearean tragedy have the power to affect us because they tap what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious , the "omnipresent, unchanging, and everywhere identical condition or substratum of the psyche per se" (14). Othello, the Moor of Venice, attempts to achieve the requisite level of harrowing emotion by treating the audience to a spectacle of passionate delusional jealousy and the murder that follows. The playwright, according to Rolf Soellner, framed his Moorish general?s fall in terms of Passion warring with Patience (both 'the will' and rationality of action) -- drawing on the prevalent Senecan and Stoic conventions of the baroque period in which he was writing (239-58). Unfortunately, the modern tendency to 'psychoanalyze' the words and actions presented in Othello reduces the audience?s experience from cathartic to metaphoric. In either case, the Moor?s over-reaction can be viewed as a lesson counseling against indulgence in the excesses of emotion without a balancing leaven of self-control.

As most of Othello ?s fictional characters have been psychoanalyzed in absentia , I hoped to find a reasonable psychological explanation for Othello?s breakdown. The journal American Imago (co-founded by Freud) has published numerous articles diagnosing the fictional general, his wife and his nemesis Iago according to psychoanalytic conventions. The diagnoses, however, are primarily obvious -- Othello idealized Desdemona to an unhealthy degree (Reid 287) -- or perverse -- Othello strangled Desdemona, rather than poisoning her, because of a sexual sado-masochistic transference involving 'smothering' while suckling at the mother?s breast (Faber 176-78). Misogyny, castration complexes, and disembodied superegos abound. The most striking thing about the critiques, however, is that the character is inevitably discussed as if he possesses an independent existence ... to the point that a childhood is 'reconstructed,' and conjectured attitudes are treated as established fact on the strength of the words and actions presented in the script. It is true that the main character has become so synonymous with delusional jealousy that "Othello syndrome" is an accepted psychiatric diagnosis; it is, however, important to recall that "one cannot -- or should not -- talk about literary characters as though they were literal, photographic portraits completely faithful to some 'external' reality" (Holland 302). A discussion of passionate jealousy should,...

Find Another Essay On Extreme Jealousy in Shakespeare's Othello, the Moor of Venice

The Tragedy of Othello the Moor of Venice Analytical Essay

736 words - 3 pages which causes misconceptions in Emilia’s relationships thus revealing the over bearing power Iago has over Emilia. The attempt to demote the role of women in the household shows weakness in the relationship between Emilia and Iago. This misconception reveals the power Iago has over Emilia. Works Cited Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Othello The Moor of Venice. New York: Signet Classic, 1963. Print.

Othello, The Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare

783 words - 4 pages The play “Othello, The Moor of Venice ” by William Shakespeare, tells the story of the tragic downfall of Othello. In this play, love, loyalty, and honesty are the most important emotions that keep the world prospering, and when those are questioned or lost, chaos takes over. Othello has been tricked to believe the worst about his wife, Desdemona. Then Othello becomes corrupted by jealousy, and he takes that emotion to the extreme. The truth is

Othello, the Moor of Venice, by William Shakespeare: Long Essay

2637 words - 11 pages Question: Drama often examines the way individuals struggle to dominate and/or manipulate each other. Discuss the techniques and themes used in Othello, which draw our attention to the power shifts between the characters.Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare and believed to have been written circa 1603. The play is centrally focused on four characters; the protagonist Othello, a high ranking Venetian general

Jealousy in William Shakespeare's Othello

2106 words - 8 pages Shakespeare has an exceptional ability to compose plays full of deceit, trickery, murderous revenge, and jealousy. In Othello, one of his most recognized tragedies was consistently evolving around the central theme of jealousy. Jealousy in Othello is what the play was founded on. One of Shakespeare's most credible characteristics in his writing is his ability to compose a play in which has a story that originates, and strides on lies. As

Shakespeare's Othello and Uncontrolled Jealousy

1874 words - 7 pages ”: Othello has suffered less in its modern interpretation than any other of Shakespeare’s tragedies, it would seem. So insistently did Shakespeare keep this tragedy unified about the theme of jealousy and the central victims of the passion, so obviously did he mould his plot about the black Moor and the cunning Iago and the victims of their jealousy that no interpreter has been able to ignore the obvious intention of the author. Yet if we study the

Compare and Contrast - Stereotypes in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice and Othello

2075 words - 8 pages In both of Shakespeare’s plays, "Othello" and "The Merchant of Venice", there are several instances in which the non-white and non-Christian characters are marginalized and are often the victims of prejudice and outright racism. This occurs in both "Merchant of Venice" and "Othello" particularly through the use and power of language and terms of reference. What is most fascinating about this seeming racism and bias against these characters

Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice and Othello: Shylock vs Iago

2075 words - 8 pages The Merchant of Venice and Othello: Shylock vs Iago        Shakespeare's use of timeless themes make his works relevant to the modern reader.  His two plays "The Merchant of Venice" and "Othello" deal with the seeking of revenge and forbidden love.  In "The Merchant of Venice," Shylock, the main character, is a Jew who loans money and charges interest.  Shylock has an enemy named Antonio who also loans money to people, but without

The Moor in Othello

1478 words - 6 pages The Moor in Othello        Who can resist empathizing with the unfortunate protagonist in William Shakespeare’s Othello? He is so noble, and yet so victimized by the cunning Iago.   Is it his “gullibility” which leads to his downfall? Morton W. Bloomfield and Robert C. Elliott  in Great Plays: Sophocles to Brecht posit the “lack of insight” of the hero as the cause of his tragic fall:   Othello’s lack of insight, cunningly

(Shakespeare's Othello) How important do you think Venice is, in the play Othello? The last paprgraph certainly needs work. I wrote this last year, and received a C for it, which is mediocre

519 words - 2 pages How important do you think Venice is in the play Othello?The first three scenes of Othello by William Shakespeare take place in Venice. These first few scenes set the pace of the whole play; therefore they hold the key to the importance of Venice in the play Othello.The play opens in mid conversation, under the cover of nightfall. This indicates that in Venice there is some underhanded work taking place. It is in fact two officers of the

The Nature of Jealousy in Othello

652 words - 3 pages 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.

The Theme of Jealousy in Othello by William Shakespeare

2054 words - 8 pages The Theme of Jealousy in Othello by William Shakespeare Othello is a unique tragedy in that it focuses on the destruction of love through sexual jealousy. Jealousy is not inherited in a person, but developed from the fatal factors of their character. Othello is plagued with his ego and pride which contributes to his demise. Othello is, however, a truly romantic character because he is very passionate and full of deep feelings

Similar Essays

Shakespeare's Othello, The Moor Of Venice

1114 words - 5 pages result in tragic results and the characters in “Othello, The Moor of Venice” prove this. The characters in the tragedy masterpiece exhibit the human flaw of revenge in severally. They go at each other, revenging and avenging things they deem to have been wrongfully done against them. Othello, the main character of the book goes out to avenge the actions of infidelity that he has heard his wife has committed. Iago also seeks revenge severally in

Othello, The Moor Of Venice Essay

1322 words - 5 pages ; therefore, Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragedy. Works Cited Catherine Bates, "Weaving and Writing in Othello," in Shakespeare Survey, Vol. 46, edited by Stanley Wells, Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 51–60. Dreher, Diane. "Shakespeare's Cordelia and the power of character." World and I Apr. 1998: 287+. Fine Arts and Music Collection. Web. 11 Dec. 2011. Newton, K.M. "Othello: Overview

Jealousy In Shakespeare's Othello Essay

1638 words - 7 pages Jealousy in Othello                 Shakespeare is known for his exceptional ability to compose plays full of deceit, trickery, revenge, and jealousy. The play Othello, evolves around the theme of jealousy.   One of Shakespeare's most credible characteristics in his writing is his ability to compose a play in which has a story that originates, and strides on lies. As theses lies were unraveled the central theme of his play became

Jealousy In Shakespeare's Othello Essay

749 words - 3 pages Jealousy in Othello   Shakespeare’s play, Othello is mostly concentrated upon one particular evil. The action concerns sexual jealousy. And although human sinfulness is such that, jealousy ceaselessly touches on other forms of depravity, the center of the interest always returns in Othello to the destruction of the love through jealousy, so for that reason in this essay I'm going to talk about the jealousy in which almost everybody