Jealousy, Love And Betrayal In Othello By William Shakespeare

2187 words - 9 pages

Examine the role of jealousy, love, and/or betrayal in Othello. You may want to pick one character (Iago or Othello perhaps?) and focus on one issue.(O) 15
The role of jealousy, love and betrayal play a major role in The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice. The entire play is based on the human interactions of the characters as related to Othello and Desdemona. The characters’ personalities, their social status, and their relationships to each other control the story line and their fate in the play. Othello is portrayed early in the play as an outsider with animalistic characteristics by Iago and Roderigo because of jealousy. “Your heart is burst; and have lost half of your soul/Even now, now, very now, an old black ram/Is tupping your white ewe”.(531) Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, accuses Othello of using witch craft on his daughter. “If she in chains of magic were not bound/ Whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy/ So opposite to marriage that she shunned…” (535) This point is important because Othello must defend himself not only to Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, but to the entire Venetian Senate. “And till she come, as truly as to heaven,/ I do confess the vices of my blood./ So justly to your grave ears I’ll present/ How I did thrive in this fair lady’s love, / And she in mine.” (539) Othello proves himself to be an intellectual hero early in the play. He has worked hard to gain respectability and power, but because he has a different background, is from another country, is dark-skinned and is older than Desdemona, he becomes jealous very quickly of Cassio. Cassio is from the same social class, is compatible with Desdemona and is a young handsome man. Iago has also convinced Cassio to seek favor with Desdemona, which puts them together on several occasions. Othello’s jealousy stems from his insecurities, but the plot becomes solid when Cassio and Desdemona meet alone and the handkerchief is missing . Although their meetings are totally innocent, no one can prove that.
Iago is Othello’s ensign, a fairly low position, and he was passed up for the position of lieutenant by Othello. Iago has the ability to get to know people’s insecurities and flaws. He skillfully uses this knowledge to under-mind and to manipulate them to get what he wants. Iago has a deep desire to destroy Othello and he will go to great lengths to do it. The exact reasons Iago hates Othello is not fully explored. He does in passing resent that Othello did not give him the lieutenant position and he also thinks that Othello had an affair with his wife. Although men have killed for both of those things, Iago does not give the impression in the play that those acts are the motive for his hatred. Iago seems to get great pleasure out of deceiving people and he enjoys creating chaos and pain. He shows signs of being jealous of Othello’s power, possibly because he resents Othello’s racial differences. “But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier/ To the...

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