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 distinct, and clearly visible. The central theme was based on the acts that characters had taken based on their jealous feelings. The flaws within all of the characters lied within their blindness to over look Iago's lies. What made each character jealous, was what they perceived as the truth.

 

What adds to this great tragedy is that it is a love story as well. In which a man, Othello, loves excessively and passionately, however he loves unwisely. 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 lied within his inability to see past his jealous feelings, so did most of the rest of characters, no matter what social ranking they were classified in. Even from the well-developed characters, such as Othello, to the lesser figures, such as Roderigo, envy and lust were feelings all of Shakespeare's characters were accountable of holding at one time or other in the play. Within each of the characters in Othello was a level of jealousy, which Iago created by testing their pressure points for his benefit.

 

In Act 1 scene 1, Shakespeare opened up to his audience a level of jealousy that goes hand in hand with the feeling of greed. This scene being referred to is where Iago expressed his animosity for Othello. Iago was subconsciously telling the audience how jealous he was about Cassio's promotion. And at the same time Roderigo blatantly expressed his jealousy for Desdemona's love for Othello. 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...."(lines 38-39)

"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,

But seeming so, for my perculiar end;

For when my outward action doth demonstrate

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)

 

Which brings us to who Iago is in this play. Iago, being the cause of this tragedy, is an intricate and complex character, who unraveled the play with his lies. However a person must keep in mind that the direction of Iago's jealousy...

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