Jealousy as an Emotional Theme of Othello

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William Shakespeare (1564-1616) an English playwright actor and poet who wrote one of the most famous tragedies Othello. Shakespeare is commonly known to write plays about love, death, revenge, jealously and murder in which all of these factors portray in the play of Othello(Brightkite). Othello has been defined as “tragedy of character” which tragedy is defined as “downfall, suffering and defeat”; whereas, character is defined in how the character the “Moor”(biography) has a fatal flaw combined in a dark twisted mental problem that is portrayed in the “Moor.” I believe the emotional theme of the play “Othello” is jealousy because Othello gives a promotion to Cassio that was “destined” for Iago, Roderigo wanting to be Desdemona with the help of Iago, and lastly Iago being manipulative and malicious into destroying Othello(Antiessays).

Iago, the Antagonist in the play, is a sadist filled with jealously and envy that causes him to do unbearable, horrifying and manipulative things to his fellow comrades in despite of revenge(chestnotes). Iago who is a third- ranking officer in Othello army who hopes of being promoted to lieutenant(Antiessays)t. Iago is filled with anger and vengeance once he knows that his promotion had been passed over to a less experienced soldier, Cassio.

“One Michael Cassio… that never set a squadron in the field, Nor the division of a battle” (Shmoop). Iago claiming his hatred towards Othello due to the fact Othello passed over the promotion to “One Michael Cassio” as lieutenant(Antiessays). In the eyes of Iago, Cassio is no fit for the position of lieutenant in which in fact is less experienced than him and spite the face that he has been loyal, brave, and very experienced and Othello ignoring him by passing him over the promotion he wants vengeance.

He also claims that he is more qualified for the position of lieutenancy. “Othello see Iago as a man who cannot stop being at war, and for this reason, Iago could not replace Othello if the general were to be killed or wounded” according to Shakespearean critic Harold Bloom. Iago decides to portray his anger into destroying Othello’s life and marriage even if others are harmed in the process. Iago, with a deviating mindset he plans to get Cassio drunk because he knows Cassio is a mean drunk, and will eventually be getting into a fight(Shmoop). He wants to get Cassio in trouble with Othello.

After accomplishing his plan to get Cassio drunk, Cassio then ends up in getting in a fight with Roderigo another soldier, and then leading into another fight with Montano which implicates Cassio stabbing Montano, who indeed is just trying to calm down Cassio(Shmoop). Othello comes out angry and fires Cassio for making such a scene. As a punishment of Cassio getting into a fight he unfortunately gets kicked off the military service. Othello tells Cassio that “Cassio I love thee.. but never more be a officer of mine” (II.iii.241-242).

After being excluded from Othello’s military service, Cassio is eager to find a way to get into Othello’s good grace. He then goes to talk to Iago about what he could do to achieve getting into Othello’s good grace, Iago tells Cassio to persuade Desdemona to help him get his position back because Iago knows Othello is devoted to Desdemona and will listen to his wife. Shortly, Desdemona agrees into helping Cassio saying “ Be Thou assured, Good Cassio, I will do all my abilities in my behalf” (III.iii.1-2). Iago will make the Moor think that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. Meanwhile Iago finds Desdemona lost handkerchief and puts it in Cassio’s room Making it surreal enough to plant in the head of The Moor that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair(Shakespeare).

In the contrast, Cassio finds the handkerchief, not knowing who the handkerchief belonged to so, he then gives it to Bianca who he is fond of. Othello’s asks Desdemona’s unfaithfulness in regards of where the handkerchief was, that Othello gave Desdemona.(Enotes) In desire of ruining Othello, Iago tells Montano Governor of Cyprus (where the play is taken place) that “Cassio is a wonderful soldier, he fears that Cassio may have to much responsibility for someone with such a serious drinking problem.”.

On a street in Venice, Italy, Roderigo, who is in love with Desdemona goes to Iago for help. Iago tells Roderigo “ Let us be conjunctive in our revenge against him. If thou canst cuckold him, thou dost thyself a pleasure, me a sport” (I.iii.319-324) implying that they can get revenge, and if that Roderigo seduces Desdemona he could make a fool out of Othello, but in order to do that Iago tells Roderigo to pay him. Not to be fooled Iago is manipulative and takes Roderigo into his confidence from the beginning so that Roderigo is fooled into thinking that Iago respects him and understands how much he loves Desdemona. Roderigo being rich has been paying Iago a lot of money to help him in his chase after Desdemona, but see’s that nothing has changed. Roderigo finds out that Desdemona had married Othello which makes Roderigo freak out.

Roderigo’s reason for having hatred towards Othello is because he is jealous that Othello had married Desdemona. After finding out that Othello and Desdemona had married, Iago and Roderigo go to the senator’s house, Brabantio, Desdemona’s father. Iago and Roderigo then tell Brabantio outside his house saying that Othello and Desdemona are having sex(antiessays), he describes Othello by saying “An old black ram is tupping your white ewe” (1.1.88-89), Iago also adds that “Your daughter and the Moor are making the beast with two back” (1.1.118) indicating a comparison to evoke purity to Brabantio. Roderigo’s infatuation with Desdemona keeps Roderigo believing Iago’s lies that in fact lead to Roderigo’s death(Brightkite).

Iago tells Roderigo to kill Cassio in that case he will have Desdemona but turns out Cassio ends up killing Roderigo(Pratap). Iago thinks of Roderigo as a fool “ Thus do I ever make my fool my purse, For I mine own gain’d knowledge should profane, if I would time expend with such a snipe. but for my sport and profit”( Chestnotes). Iago basically states that he wouldn’t spend as much time on a foolish person, but is only doing it for his profit.

Iago’s main goal is to ruin Othello’s life mainly dealing his marriage with Desdemona. Desdemona drops the handkerchief Othello had given her and Emilia, Iago’s wife finds it giving it to Iago himself so that Iago can plant it in Cassio’s room. After Iago tells Othello about the missing handkerchief, Othello then goes to Desdemona asking where the handkerchief is, the one he gave her on their honeymoon questioning her infidelity. I ago understand how important that handkerchief is to Othello because it was his first gift to Desdemona, and it was given to Othello by his mother. Iago is making him believe that Cassio and Desdemona lay together.

Iago comes to Othello making up conversations knowing that it will hurt Othello, Iago tells Othello that he heard Cassio say the following to Desdemona “Sweet Desdemona let us be wary; let us hide our loves” then Iago coming up with fulious made up conversations “ O sweet creature! And then kiss me hard, As if he plucked up kisses by the roots That grew upon mu lips… cry cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor!” (III.iii.430-436). Making him believe, Othello filled jealousy couldn’t believe such words, but not to get mistaken Iago told Othello but it was only a dream. Creating a suspicion in Othello that something had to have happen between Cassio and Desdemona. “I’ll tear her all to pieces” (III.iii.442-443), Othello filled with anger cant bear the thought of his lovely wife being unfaithful to him and Desdemona lying to his face.

Othello now wanting to kill Cassio “ One is too poor, too weak for my revenge, now do I see ‘tis true. Look here, Iago, all my fond love thus do I blow to heaven.. ‘Tis gone.” (III.iii.450-455). All the love Othello had felt for Desdemona is all gone, welcoming hatred and vengeance towards those two. Othello now uncontrollably wants blood, desperately wanting vengeance(Brightkite). He demands Iago to kill Cassio, and to tell him when he has killed Cassio. “My friend is dead, ‘Tis done at your request. But let her live.” (III.iii.481-485). Othello not feeling not one drop of love he still wants her dead. He tells Iago to get some poison ready, but Iago recommends straggling her.

In Conclusion, Iago is jealous of Cassio for getting a promotion and is Iago who is not getting it. Iago does everything to make Cassio look bad in front of everyone. By also manipulating Roderigo to destroy Othello. he goes out of his way to produce jealousy in Othello by basically leading to Desdemona death and creating a mental health problem in Othello. As you can tell Iago is the main production of jealously and the action of the characters.


Cite this paper

Jealousy as an Emotional Theme of Othello. (2021, Apr 07). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/jealousy-as-an-emotional-theme-of-othello/

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