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Throughout Shakespeare’s play, Othello, the major theme of jealousy is explored in detail through the main characters Othello and Iago’s actions. In the tragedy Othello, Shakespeare focuses on how jealousy affects Othello and the other major characters to result ultimately in their destruction. The theme of jealousy is evident throughout the play as it motivates the characters’ actions and suggests alot about the impacts, effects and nature of jealousy itself. In Shakespeare’s Othello, jealousy is portrayed through the major characters of Iago and Othello.
It acts as a poison administered by Iago’s words to Othello which causes him to transform from an honest noble general into a vengeful murderer. Jealousy is the “Green eyed monster. ” Initially Iago is seen as “most honest” by his friends, but in fact he is truly the opposite. His feelings of jealousy consumes him and uncovers his actual self. Roderigo is the only person in the play that knows he is not the honest friend he pretends to be. Iago tells Roderigo that he is “not what he is”, a statement meaning he is not who is pretending to be in front of Cassio, Othello and Desdimona.
He becomes possesed by this jealousy because he is angry that Othello chose Michael Cassio for the position of lieutenancy instead of himself. He also believes that Othello has “Done his office” or slept with his wife Emelia. These two reasons cause Iago to “Hate the Moor”, and ultimately plot his revenge against him. Iago hints to Othello that his wife, Desdemona, has been unfaithful to him and is having an affair with Cassio. This causes Othello to begin suspecting such things have occured and the poison begins to take affect. However, Although Othello has complete trust in Iago’s honesty, he will not believe him without solid evidence.
Because of this Iago presents Othello with the proof of a handkerchief that Iago says he saw Cassio wipe his beard with, and Cassio’s sleep talking. Othello is completely possessed with jealousy and because of this believes Iago even though his proof is very minimal. He immediately decides that Cassio and Desdimona must die. One can tell that Iago’s jealousy has corrupted Othello. Earlier in the play Othello describes desdimona as “wondrous” and Heavenly” after Iago brings him evidence of her betrayal he describes her with wordssuch as a “haggard” or “lewd minx” and even “whore. This seems to prove the great effect jealousy has had on othello and how fast it has truly corrupted his character. Othello’s jealousy destroys his love through his hatred. Consequently, Othello has decided he must kill Desdemona. Even though Desdemona tries to tell him the truth, Othello is completely irrational and refuses to listen to her. Emilia, Iago’s wife is also affected by jealousy. She tells Othello that she found the hankerchief and gave it to Iago, thus revealing that he planted it in Cassios room himself and is responsible for the whole bloody mess.
Blind with rage Iago stabs Emilia from behind, murdering her. Othello then seriously wounds Iago but does not kill him. He states the he will not kill Iago because it is “happiness to die”. Instead. As the truth sinks in about Iago’s deceipt Othello realizes that by believing Iago he led to the deaths of Roderigo, Desdemona, and Emilia. Because of this he then kills himself as an attonement for his sins and dies next to his wife Desdimona. Thorughout Othello Jealousy is seen almost like a disease that drives one to the point of madness.
This is seen through how Iago corrupts others with his jealousy like a disease and how it motivates him to commit horrible deeds. The impact it has on a persons personality is seen clearly through the character Othello who changes drastically from a noble honest, man into a spiteful, vengeful monster. This suggests how much of an impact Jealousy can truly have on a persons nature and how we must try to avoid the corruption of jealousy at all costs. Because of these examples its safe to say that,Obviously, jealousy does cause people to change in horrific ways.
Author: Brandon Johnson
Jealousy Othello Essay
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