Othello Jealousy

Subject: 📚 Literature
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 736
Topics: Othello, 📗 Book, 🧔 William Shakespeare
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Introduction

The fundamental issue and the primary driving force of the plot of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Othello is definitely jealousy. This statement can be drawn by analyzing various familiar scenes of the play. Evidence of jealousy as a leading issue can be discovered in the characters and events throughout the development of events in the story. This essay examines and presents different insights that are the basis for Shakespeare’s portrayal of the meaning of this tragedy.

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Representation of jealousy in Othello

One of the events that clearly reflects the subject of jealousy is when Iago talks to Othello about the status in society and states: “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on” (Shakespeare 3.3.165-167), which definitely clearly reveals this theme through the dialogue between the two characters. Iago cautions his lord against jealousy with the help of metaphor. The character also emphasizes that reputation and status repeatedly suffer from feelings of jealousy. Iago further portrays jealousy as a monster to signify the fact that jealous behavior has not made life better for anyone. When Iago makes assumptions about Desdemona’s unfaithfulness and Othello forces him to reveal his suspicions and all that he is aware of, Iago warns Othello against surrendering to desire. Apparently, Iago delivers this warning with a boastful manner. Put differently, he completely understands that the very word “envy” and the injection of an enemy sight picture will intensify Othello’s inner feelings. Iago’s embodiment of envy as a “green-looked at beast” is widely known, and his use of the shade of green derives from the Renaissance belief that green was an “unkind shade” associated with the irregularity of the humors that aroused fear and cravings.

There is another significant piece of evidence for the idea of jealousy as the primary issue in the plot, the situation that reinforces this concept when Iago states: “Trifles light as air Are to the jealous confirmations strong As proofs of holy writ: this may do something” (Shakespeare 3.3.322- 324) In this scene, the subject is represented through the way Iago delivers these words in a brief monologue where he is consulting a group of the audience about his revenge plan and arrangement to place Desdemona’s hanky in Cassio’s room. Here, the hanky refers to a simple literary metaphor of “trifle light as air”, the cloth itself inherently not carrying much meaning. In any event, being aware that Othello’s jealousy and anxiety have merely intensified, Iago draws conclusions and guesses that Othello will exaggerate the significance of the hanky, taking it as a “proof of the holy writ”, as evidence straight from the Bible. Hence, in this situation, the prevailing approach to coping with jealousy, uncontrollable incessant anger and humiliation is violence, with the assumption that the woman should be penalized for her wrongdoing, rather than enabling her to improve her behavior and take responsibility for what happened by returning to the former informal relationship.

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Furthermore, William Shakespeare conveys the particular importance of the problem of jealousy in the act when Emilia says: “But jealous souls will not be answer’d so; They are not ever jealous for the cause, But jealous for they are jealous: ’tis a monster Begot upon itself, born on itself.” (Shakespeare 3.4.159-164) As we can understand, this quote obviously reinforces the theme as Emilia declares these words to Desdemona, in an attempt to explain the fanciful idea of jealousy. Thus, the woman presents her reasoning and reveals her vision of jealousy. Although envious people can give justifications for their actions and feelings and even rationalize them, jealousy itself is a separate feeling that arises without specific reasons and preconditions, and it should not be supported. After all, jealous people are inherently negative and malicious. With Emilia’s words, Shakespeare skillfully provides metaphors to paint a picture of envy as a beast that breeds itself. Emilia’s vision is complemented by the “green-eyed monster” Iago.

Conclusion

In general, this essay provides undeniable evidence of Shakespeare’s representation of jealousy as the leading and most significant theme in the play. The author uses a variety of literary techniques and metaphors to explain this familiar feeling more clearly and vividly. In addition, the feeling of jealousy arises in the characters of the play, presenting the audience a unique vision of this problem. At long last, it is jealousy that becomes the driving force that leads to the tragedy and death of several characters.

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