What is the most disastrous human emotion? William Shakespeare s Othello makes it clear that the answer to this question is jealousy. After all, it is jealousy that drives Iago to concoct the plan, which ruins the lives of several innocent people including Othello, Desdemona, Emilia, and Roderigo. This play poses a distinct character foil between Shakespeare s vilest villain, Iago, and the honest, but easily mislead Othello. This tragedy is mostly based upon Iago s suggestion of an affair between Othello s wife, Desdemona, and the lieutenant Cassio.
As a loving, trusting husband, Othello at first does not want to believe the insinuations, but his feelings are distorted by the cunning Iago into believing his base slander. Othello s soliloquy in Act III depicts this transformation of his character from an understanding, straightforward man to an angry, suspicious, and jealous husband. The soliloquy begins with Othello complimenting Iago for his help and expert understanding of human nature.
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This fellow s of exceeding honesty, and knows all [qualities], with a learn d spirit, of human dealings. Othello truly believes that Iago is an honest and loyal friend, although the reality is quite the opposite. Othello also feels that Iago knows much about the topic of human dealings with each other. While Othello understands and is an expert at the making of war, he terribly misunderstands people and potential ulterior motives. Othello continues with, If I do prove her haggard, Though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings, I d whistle her off and let her down the wind To prey at fortune.
In this excerpt, Othello says that if he finds Desdemona is really wild and is a strumpet he shall turn her out and force her to fend for herself in the world, even if it breaks his heart. The word Jesse refers to the string that a falcon s leg is tied to in order to keep it close to its owner during hunting. In this sense, Othello is comparing Desdemona to a wild animal pulling on the Jesse, which are metaphorically his heartstrings or caring emotions.
The passage then continues with, Haply, for I am black and have not those soft parts of the conversation that chamberers have, or for I am declined Into the vale of years, yet that s not much. This is a reference to all of Othello s perceived faults. First, he is a Moor, dark in color, and generally not acceptable. Second, he admits to lack the ability to speak in an educated manner as would the chamberers, or educated courtiers. Finally, the vale of years is a sorrowful reference to Othello being much older than Desdemona.
In the next lines, She s gone. I am abused: and my relief Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage, that we can call these delicate creatures ours, And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad And live upon the vapor of a dungeon than keep a corner in the thing I love For others’ uses. Othello feels Desdemona is lost and his only relief from his anguish is to hate her with a passion. He speaks of the curse of marriage, which is that men may call these creatures (again, a reference to women being animals in nature) their own, but not their appetite to have lovers outside of the marriage.
He then wishes himself to be the lowest of creatures in a filthy dungeon than to have anything to do with Desdemona, who is used by other men as a strumpet. Instead of her name, he uses the pronoun thing, as if she no longer deserves to be called a human being. Continuing, he says, Yet this the plague [of] great ones; prerogatived are they less than the base. This destiny unshunnable, like death. Even then this forked plague is fated to us when we do quicken.
Othello seems to be saying that the plague of great leaders (pridefully referring to himself) is to ultimately have privileges less than a base illegitimate child. This, to Othello, is a fate, which cannot be altered, like death and this forked plague, or cuckold s curse is predestined when a man is born This soliloquy sets the emotional tone for the remaining portion of the play. Othello exhibits several emotions while speaking these lines. Intense sadness is portrayed in the jesses were my heartstrings line.
He deeply loves Desdemona, and yet he must hate her because of what he perceives she has done to him. His anger is reflected in the lines must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage and there is self-hatred when he says he would rather be a toad, or when he is recounting his faults. Pride is displayed as he speaks of himself as a great one, but it is extinguished when he thinks of what Iago has hinted Desdemona has done. Othello is woefully sarcastic as he says, Prerogativd (privileged) are they less than the base because one would normally think the opposite.
The relevance of this passage is to show the transition from Othello s usual, calm, collected, and honest persona to a self-hating, jealous, sad, angry, and spiteful man. It is the point of no return for Othello, leaving no doubt in the reader s mind the reason behind Othello s subsequent decisions involving himself and the other characters in the play. This allows it to be smooth and flowing from one state of Othello s mind to another. These lines show how deeply Iago has influenced Othello with his innuendoes regarding Desdemona s infidelity.
The syntax of the soliloquy seems to be more prose than rhyme, leaving the reader to follow the punctuation for the most help in reading the passage. The soliloquy is the end of the corruption scene. Iago has carefully planted the seeds of jealousy. Othello s insecurity becomes the theme that weakens his resolve to not doubt Desdemona s fidelity to him. He doubts her love of him because of his misconception of himself as unattractive, poorly spoken, and old, thus believing in her guilt. Othello s picture of himself directly influences how he sees Desdemona s love, though there should not be confusion between these two things at all.
In truth, this is one of the most well-spoken and complex soliloquies in the entire play. Othello s Jealousy In Shakespeare s Othello we are introduced into a web of a world entangled with lies, jealousy, and ultimately tragedy. We observe as Iago single-handedly destroys the matrimony shared between Othello and the beautiful Desdemona. He does so with a flurry of deceit and trickery, playing upon one of the strongest human emotions, that of jealousy.
I ago offer a story of betrayal to his master Othello, which ensnares his soul in a jealous rage of infidelity and honesty. Iago convinces his master that his beloved wife, Desdemona, is false in her virtue and with his right-hand man Cassio nonetheless. Iago offers many proofs to his lord, most of which are deceitful, but alas some that only work to spark the flame of jealousy in Othello. We shall examine each one and unravel Iago s plan to dethrone his lord Othello, the Moor whom he despises so much.
We first find Iago sparking the flame of jealousy in Othello s brain when he asks of the honesty of Cassio, as well as Desdemona. Iago sly as he may be begins Othello to suspect that Desdemona and Cassio may share a love for one another. He offers that he has seen them whispering to one another and laughing amongst themselves as if to inquire a flirtation amongst them. Othello doesn’t seem to believe such things because he knows they are friendly and that he trusts the integrity and honesty of them both. This first isn’t really proof but just a beginning in a clever plan to enrage Othello.
It is credible since Cassio and Desdemona are friendly and is only used, once again, as a spark to begin the fire. Iago s words burn into Othello s brain as he begins to become jealous and suspect things. At a time when he is extremely upset about thinking about such things Iago enters and begins to feed him more proofs. Iago tells Othello that one night when he was sleeping by Cassio, he being one to talk in his sleep, Cassio grabbed him and began kissing him and confessing his love for Desdemona. Claiming that he was upset that she had married the Moor.
Iago went a step further and planted a handkerchief in Cassio s room, one that Othello had given Desdemona as a gift, and proclaimed that he saw Cassio with such a handkerchief. Othello s jealousy began to rage as we see his anger and thoughts become impure. This proof holds credibility in that Cassio did possess the handkerchief but knew not of its origin or meaning. But it is truly false since Iago planted it in Cassio s room to merely look as if it were given to him.
Finally, Iago takes the final step in turning Othello s flame of jealousy into a burning pit of hell in his soul. Iago tells Othello that Cassio had told him that he lay with Desdemona, and furthermore tricked Othello into overhearing a conversation of Cassio explaining his relations with another woman. We find Othello to be consumed with rage and jealousy, as he sees no other alternative but to have them both murdered. Iago s final proof is not credible at all since it is a lie, but his trickery has and cleverness has made it seem to Othello that everything Iago has spoken is truth.
The proofs we have been presented with truly hold no credibility what so ever, but when used by a devilishly clever man as Iago, they appear to be truthful in every sense of the word. I find that credibility can be deceiving, especially when one whom you trust so much is the very one who is deceiving you. I find no credibility in any of Iago s proofs but then again I am the reader and know all, whereas if I weren’t I may have been deceived myself, just as tragic Othello was.
I find also that Iago may have been credible in one respect, that he knew the grasp that jealousy could have on a man’s soul and exposed this in Othello. For at first he began Othello s suspicions by telling him what he really saw, that Cassio and Desdemona were friendly, and built upon that a web of deceit that ensnared Othello s body and soul. This tragedy ultimately brings out the credibility of one proof, that being that jealousy is one of the strongest human emotions, and just like hate, it can consume you too.
In Shakespeare’s Othello, Iago plots Othello’s destruction when he is passed over for a promotion. Iago tells Othello that Desdemona has been unfaithful to him and provides circumstantial evidence for this. Othello becomes full of anger and jealousy and kills Desdemona. Othello later finds that Desdemona was not unfaithful and commits suicide. Jealousy appears many times in several characters of Othello. Jealousy leads to the ultimate downfall of several characters in Othello such as Roderigo, Othello, and Iago.
Roderigo shows jealousy throughout Othello and is eventually killed by Iago, as a result. Roderigo is enlisted by Iago to help him in his plot to ruin Othello. Roderigo was a possible suitor for Desdemona until she married Othello on her own. This fills Roderigo with jealousy toward Othello. For this reason, Roderigo is eager to help Iago with his plan. He first helps Iago is telling Brabantio of Desdemona’s secret marriage to Othello.
Roderigo rudely wakes Brabantio one night saying, “What, ho, Brabantio! Signior Brabantio, ho!” (1.1.78). He then provides assistance to Iago by starting a brawl in which Cassio wounds another man. As a result, Othello relieves Cassio of his command. Roderigo’s jealousy finally catches up with him when Iago asks him to kill Cassio.
I go tell him that Desdemona will sleep with him if he will kill Cassio. Roderigo’s selfishness is apparent and he attempts to kill Cassio. His attempt to kill Cassio fails when his mail shirt saves him. In the process, Roderigo is also wounded. Iago comes along later and finishes him off. Although he is not the only victim of jealousy in this play, Roderigo is eventually killed by this emotion.
Othello is also a victim of jealousy in this play. He is overcome with jealousy when Iago tells him of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness. Othello falls right into Iago’s trap when he hears this news. Othello trusts Iago too much and becomes easily convinced of this accusation. All he can think about is getting revenge on Desdemona. Because of his jealousy, Othello is easily swayed into believing Iago’s flimsy evidence. Once presented with this evidence, Othello becomes furious with Desdemona.
He ultimately decides that Desdemona must die and makes no attempt to speak with her about the accusation. He says to Iago, “Get me some poison, Iago, this night. I’ll not expostulate with her, / lest her body and beauty unprovide my mind again. This night, Iago!” (4.1.186-87). This clearly expresses his rage and jealousy once finally convinced of Desdemona’s actions. Othello’s mind is taken over by jealousy and he becomes irrational. He states, “I will chop her into messes! Cuckold me!” (4.1.182). In the end, he realizes that jealousy gets the best of him, although it is too late.
Iago is the most jealous character in Othello. His jealousy results in the death of almost all the characters in this play. Othello passes over Iago for promotion and Iago becomes furious. Iago develops an elaborate plan that will eventually bring him revenge on Othello. He starts out by recruiting Roderigo to help him. They break the news to Brabantio that his daughter secretly married Othello. He says to Roderigo, “Call up her father / Rouse him.
Make after him, poison his delight” (1.1.68-69). Iago’s determination to bring down innocent people to get to Othello is displayed here. His next task is approaching Othello to tell him that Desdemona has been cheating on him with Cassio. Jealousy spreads to Othello as Iago’s plan starts taking effect. To provide evidence for this accusation, Iago plants a handkerchief of Desdemona’s in Cassio’s house.
Othello’s anger and insecurity allow him to be persuaded very easily by this flimsy evidence that he believes proves Desdemona’s guilt. In order for this plan to work out, Iago had to kill his wife, Cassio, and Roderigo. Much like Roderigo and Othello, Iago’s’ jealousy catches up with him and he is tortured to death for the murder of his wife.
Jealousy is an everpresent trait in Othello. It consumes several characters and eventually brings them to their untimely death. Roderigo’s jealousy brings about his own murder, Othello’s jealousy forces him to commit suicide, the ultimate act of selfishness, and Iago’s jealousy affords him death by torture. Unfortunately, the wicked emotion, jealousy, not only resulted in the deaths of three of Othello’s main characters, it caused the untimely deaths of innocent characters as well.
Jealousy is a green-eyed monster. Jealousy can corrupt a person into a monster. In the play Othello, by William Shakespeare, the character Othello was corrupted by jealousy because of somebody else planting ideas in his head. The play began with Othello in love with Desdemona, but by the end of the play, the vengeful Iago tricked him into thinking she was cheating.
At the beginning of the play, Othello and Desdemona were madly in love. She fell further in love after listening by the door to Othello telling her father stories of his adventures. They renewed their love for each other when they met again in Cyprus. This was after Desdemona found out that the Turkish fleet was taken down by the storm.
She was scared that Othello did not survive the trip. When they saw each other, they told each other how they loved another, and what their love was like. When Othello and Desdemona began to realize that their love was real and they were meant for each other, Iago started to plant awful ideas in Othello s head. Iago was doing this not to break up the relationship, but rather to get Cassio fired from his job. Iago wanted Cassio fired because he got the job of lieutenant instead of himself. Iago broke Desdemona and Othello up by telling Othello that Desdemona was cheating on him with Cassio.
Iago was given the name Honest Iago by Othello. He was given this name because Iago told Othello everything that was happening with Desdemona. One of the ideas that were planted into Othello s head was that Cassio was having a dream about Desdemona where he was telling her how much he loved her. He also told Othello descriptive details about the dream when Cassio put his leg on Iago and told him how they have to keep their love from Othello.
These things that Iago was telling Othello were putting awful pictures into his head. This is an example of imagery. Imagery is when a vivid picture is put into the reader s head. Iago planted such an awful picture in Othello s that he just could not believe his wife would do such a thing. Another idea that Iago planted in Othello s head was that Desdemona gave Cassio her handkerchief. Actually, Desdemona dropped the handkerchief, and Emilia, Iago s wife picked it up. To Make it more realistic, Iago gave the handkerchief to Cassio to have him get the print on it copied.
The handkerchief meant a lot to Othello because his mother got it from a Gypsy. The handkerchief had a spell on it, that if kept your love would last forever, but if you lose it, or give it away, your love would end. Othello believed this spell and feared that the cheating was true. Near the end of the play, Iago had pushed Othello so hard into believing that Desdemona was cheating that Othello could not even look at her. Othello killed Desdemona. Othello was corrupted from jealousy throughout the play. He believed what honest Iago told him, and he fell into the trap. Othello became so jealous that he killed his wife.
In the play, Othello, jealousy, and envy are prominent themes from the beginning to the end. As the play starts to unwind, you can see jealousy is the major cause of all the drama in the play. Jealousy or envy is a feeling of discontented or resentful longing for someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck. Iago becomes engulfed by jealousy and it causes him to corrupt Othello. They are two men that cause similar crimes but we sympathize with Othello and hate Iago because they have different attitudes towards their crime.
In the play Othello, Iago describes jealousy as a “green-eyed monster. The “Green” representing the color of envy, and the “monster” shows how destructive and vicious it can be. Iago has a manipulative mind causing people to believe him and listen to what he has to say about a certain situation. When Iago is telling Othello to be aware of jealousy it causes Othello to become weary of his wife Desdemona. Although, Othello believes his wife is loyal to him.
He starts to listen to Iago and becomes jealous of Roderigo who he believes is all for Desdemona. Rodrigo also goes through a stage of jealousy caused by Iago. At the beginning of the play, Rodrigo and Iago go to Desdemona’s father’s house to tell him that his daughter has betrayed him. Rodrigo refers to Othello as “thick-lips” as he is black. This was a racial slur towards Othello and shows the envy Rodrigo has towards Othello being with Desdemona.
As the play goes on, Rodrigo moves on from wanting Desdemona. Although Rodrigo showed envy towards Othello he never tried anything to get ruin their relationship. Iago stirs the pot causing everyone to become jealous. Iago claims he hates Othello because he promoted Michael Cassio the job as his military lieutenant instead of himself. You can see this in the quote:
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,
A fellow almost damned in a fair wife,
That never set a squadron in the field,
Nor the division of a battle knows
More than a spinster—unless the bookish theoric,
Wherein the togèd consuls can propose
As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election;
And I, of whom his eyes had…
Example #5 – Othello and Jealousy
Jealousy takes many forms and sometimes it is harmless while at other times it can be destructive. In William Shakespeare’s play “Othello” a man named Iago hates and is jealous of the protagonist Othello because Othello has not promoted him to the position of Lieutenant, so he decides to try and kill Othello. However, he first convinces Roderigo to help him because Roderigo is in love with Othello’s wife Desdemona and Iago promises that he can get him together with Desdemona.
With Roderigo’s help, Iago is able to plot a series of events that eventually leads to convincing Othello that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio, and this not only causes conflict between husband and wife but leads to Othello’s desire to kill Cassio. Thus, Shakespeare suggests that when people are conflicted with jealousy, they may hurt others and even cause their own destruction. At the beginning of the play, Iago feels jealous towards Othello and tells Roderigo that “I hate the Moor: And it is thought abroad, that ‘twixt my sheets He has done my office: I know not if’t be true; But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, Will do as if for surety.
Iago first states that he hates Othello for passing him over for a promotion but he hears rumors that his wife Emilia might have had a fling with Othello. Even though Iago is not sure if the rumors are true, he still decides to try and disrupt Othello’s life.
This reveals the buildup of jealousy and hates within him, and even without any clear reason to disrupt Othello’s life, he feels the need to do create evil rumors about him in order to ruin his reputation. Moreover, Iago manipulates Roderigo in order to cause confusion and cause jealousy in Othello’s mind. Iago tells Roderigo that “Thou art sure of me. Go make money. I have told thee often, and I re-tell thee again, and again, I hate the Moor.
My cause is hearted: thine hath no less reason. Let us be conjunctive in our revenge against him.” Roderigo is jealous of Othello marrying Desdemona, the woman he loves, and is now blinded by love so believes whatever Iago tells him. Indeed, Iago sees this opportunity and decides to take advantage and use Roderigo to plot a series of events that will lead Othello into Iago’s trap.
Shakespeare shows that due to Iago’s evil and jealous nature, he does not want happiness for anyone and therefore uses people as tools or toys for his own purpose. Finally, Iago uses Cassio and Desdemona to make Othello think and suspect that Desdemona is cheating on him. Iago thinks to himself “if I can fasten but one cup upon him, with that which he hath drunk to-night already, He’ll be as full of quarrel and offense As my young mistress’ dog.”
Iago gets Cassio drunk so he will get in a fight because he wants Cassio to be in trouble with Othello and while that is happening he knows Desdemona will intervene and try to help Cassio. Iago’s actions show that he is so jealous of Cassio’s position that he is willing to do anything to make Cassio look suspicious. Iago’s capability to portray Cassio as unreliable and untrustworthy reveals the extremes people can go to because of jealousy. Iago is willing to exploit everyone just to get even with Othello proving that jealousy can actually lead humans to abandon their logic.
As Iago’s plans to get Cassio killed continue, he successfully creates the seeds of jealousy in Othello too. Ironically, he even says to Othello that “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster which doth mocks the meat it feeds on”. Iago pretends to be on the side of Othello and warns him not to be too jealous because it will lead to self-destruction.
As a result, Othello naively trusts a person who is trying to lead him into self-destruction yet he does not realize this and continues to step on the traps that Iago sets up. Moreover, Othello falls deeper and deeper into Iago’s master plan and begins to doubt Desdemona even though he at first wants proof of her affair. Othello reminds himself “No…my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company, is free of speech, sings, plays and dances well; Where virtue is, these are more virtuous: …No, Iago; ill see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove: and on the proof.
There is no more but this, away at once with love or jealousy!” (3.3.31). Othello refuses to be destroyed by jealousy because he can clearly see that Desdemona chose him out of love and not because of anything else, but he feels like he needs proof from Desdemona that she is not cheating on him to be truly convinced. This passage shows that even though Othello claims that he will not be conflicted by jealousy, step by step he is moving away from his claim and becomes jealous and filled with doubts.
Shakespeare warns that jealousy has the capacity to make a person forget reality and see people and situations clearly because it is such a strong emotion Finally, Emilia warns Desdemona about Othello’s jealousy as she says “but jealous souls will not be answered so; / They are not ever jealous for the cause, / But jealous for they are jealous: “tis a monster/ Begot upon itself, born on itself.”(3.4.3). Emilia understands that jealousy is like a “monster” that comes out of nowhere and becomes worse and worse over time.
This suggests that Othello’s mind is being controlled and taken over by the “monster” and the jealousy in his mind can keep growing until it is finally out of control. In Othello’s time, men-owned women and an affair would damage a man’s reputation and ego more than today. Since Othello is a Moor, the thought of his wife cheating on him is even worse than if he was Venetian since Desdemona is his and she owes him loyalty.
Near the end of the play, Desdemona discovers that her handkerchief is missing and asks Emilia where her handkerchief is. Emilia does not know and Desdemona says “Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse / Full of crusadoes: and, but my noble Moor / is true of mind and made of no such baseness / as jealous creatures are, it were enough / /to put him to ill thinking.” (3.4.7). Desdemona knows that the handkerchief is an important gift from Othello and losing it might cause doubts in Othello’s mind about her loyalty.
Unfortunately, Othello is set up by Iago and finds the handkerchief and is now convinced of his wife’s unfaithful character, so he murders Desdemona. After strangling Desdemona he says “Behold, I have a weapon; / a better never did itself sustain / upon a soldier’s thigh: I have seen the day, / that, with this little arm and this good sword, / I have made my way through more impediments / than twenty times you stop: but, O vain boast!” (5.2.55).
Othello understands after killing her, that Desdemona’s death was pointless as he is now alone without the love of his life. By the time Othello realizes that he was set up by Iago and Desdemona did not cheat on him, Othello cannot tolerate the guilt of killing her and decides to commit suicide. Before stabbing himself he says “speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate / nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak / of one that loved not wisely but too well; / of one not easily jealous, but being wrought / Perplex’d in the extreme.”
Othello becomes the victim of Iago’s cruelty because he is unable to control jealousy, and he ends up being his own worst enemy as his jealousy becomes so powerful that he kills because of it. Shakespeare shows that jealousy can destroy not only others’ lives but can lead to one’s own self-destruction as people cannot see clearly and think rationally when they let such a strong emotion over-take them.
Therefore, Shakespeare warns readers that they must control the jealousy in their lives because if they do not, they will destroy the relationships with those around them and themselves. Jealousy is one of the strongest emotions and it can come easily when a person feels like they deserve better, as Iago does, or when they are too possessive over another person, as Othello is over Desdemona. Either way, jealousy causes people to misread reality and act irrationally.
Example #6 – Theme of Jealousy in Othello by Shakespeare
The play Othello is among the most famous tragic plays written by Shakespeare. The story concentrates on four main characters namely Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and Lago. Due to its varied nature and the fact that it addresses important themes such as betrayal, love, death, and jealousy, it is still performed in many theatres today.
It stands out as a unique play with a personal setting describing the aspirations and private lives of the main characters. The jealousy displayed by Othello and the villainous nature of Lago is some of the qualities that impress the readers of the play.
In addition, the relationship between the characters makes the play unique (Sparknotes 1). Othello and Lago show close associations which make it difficult to figure out who has the greatest responsibility in the play. Most importantly, the role played by Lago who is the villain distinguishes the play from others. Shakespeare addresses different themes in the play and this essay will discuss jealousy as one of the themes addressed in Othello by Shakespeare.
Shakespeare was one of the most prominent writers who ever lived. He was known for addressing various themes such as betrayal, death, and love in his works as evidenced in his play Othello. However, the theme of jealousy stands out from the start until the end of the play. As the play begins, Roderigo is presented as he tries to be close to Desdemona.
The theme runs throughout the play until the end, leaving Othello very angry and envious because he believes that Cassio and Desdemona have been entangled in an affair. The jealousy of some characters in the play is influenced by other characters. Lago is the greatest victim of this and creates lies and presents situations aimed at misleading the other characters. He exhibits jealousy towards Cassio and Othello because he was not appointed as a lieutenant.
Lago can be described as a jealous character since he wishes every other person could share in his feelings so he goes ahead to plant the seed of jealousy in other characters. He is driven by anger and envy and aims at instilling jealousy in all the other characters, an aim he achieves through manipulating and betraying them, particularly Othello. The play begins with Roderigo’s desperate love for Desmodena after which he decides to pay Lago to take her from Othello. This is an important scene in the play since it depicts Lago as a villainous character.
The deeds of Lago and his words portray him as a manipulative character. He designs a plan to ruin Othello by calling him a thief since he has stolen the heart of Desmodena through witchcraft. He goes on to implore Roderigo to confront Desmodena’s father by telling him, ‘call up her father, rouse him…poison his delights…do, with like timorous accent and dire yell’ (Shakespeare 64).
In an actual sense, Lago is not concerned about the heart of Roderigo. This implies that Roderigo’s love for Desdemona and the fact that he wants to be with her means nothing to Lago. His intentions are not geared towards helping Roderigo look for Desdemona but encourage Brabantio to pursue Othello because this would disturb him.
Lago perfects the art of speaking things that people would want to hear hence misleading them and making them react according to his plans. He is so witty in his diction to keep off any possible argument and confrontation.
He treats Othello in a manipulative manner when he convinces Roderigo to confront Desdemona’s father regarding the conduct of the daughter. Brabantio finds it difficult to believe the accusations leveled against her daughter by the two and dismisses them as absurd. He is angered by the two after they disturb him at night when he is asleep.
After this incident, Roderigo tries to justify his accusations but his actions only serve to further anger Brabantio. He refers to Roderigo as a villain while Roderigo calls him a senator. Brabantio is baffled by the remark made by Roderigo and sits back to reexamine the situation once more. After carefully re-examining the situation, his anger subsides, and starts considering the stories told by the two especially when he discovers that Desdemona is not in her bed-chamber (Sparknotes 3).
Lago chooses his words judiciously and expresses his views carefully. He knows what to say and the most appropriate time to say it in order to convince his listeners. He practices this especially when talking to Roderigo and Othello. He begins his talks with imperatives then follows them with self-answered questions and concludes by making daring assertions.
The timing nature of Lago is evident when he speaks to Roderigo about the suspicions of Desdemona being in love with Othello. Lago brings out Othello as a deceitful person whose lies are believed by Desdemona. He then uses these lies to manipulate Roderigo by telling him that he is capable of distinguishing the relationship between Othello and Desdemona. However, what drives Lago to manipulate Othello is the jealousy he harbors towards him.
The actions of Lago and Othello are based on what they say and do. Both have hidden intentions of dominating each other. Othello is seeking answers while Lago intends to manipulate those he considers to have hurt him. As a result, Lago manipulates the conversations to cause Othello to create conclusions that suit him.
By using this strategy, Lago waits for Othello’s answer for him to craft a response that will increase his jealousy. For example, when Desdemona is seen with Cassio in a private place, Othello asks Lago about it. Lago answers Othello by telling him that he believes it was Cassio. Clearly, Lago evades the question asked by Othello but instead frames his own answer hence manipulating Othello to answer his own question (Shakespeare 65).
Lago employs suspicion, forestalled criticism, hints, and twists reality. He frames the relationship between Cassio and Desdemona for the sake of convenience. He is so determined to ensure that Othello develops unending jealousy for Desdemona by insinuating that Desmodena is unfaithful.
The chance presents itself when Cassio and Desmodena are spotted together. Lago slyly comments about the behavior of the two, a comment that elicits serious thoughts in Othello and wonders what their intentions were. When Othello tries to get more information from Lago, he declines to give any information and this makes Othello more suspicious.
As a result, his jealousy towards Desdemona continues to grow. Lago uses implied communications to make sure that he achieves his goals. He manages to change the perceptions that Othello has towards Cassio and leaves him asking for more information. Othello tries to understand whether the accusations of unfaithfulness made by Lago against Desmodena are right.
Lago tells Othello that he should not continue thinking about the adulteries committed but instead, Othello thinks about them deeply. He is persuaded by Lago and he develops jealousy towards Desmodena but never questions the two about the affair. Othello adheres to what he is told by Lago and relies on available predetermined evidence. For instance, when a handkerchief that belongs to Desdemona is found in the bed-chamber of Cassio, he is convinced that Desdemona is unfaithful.
Othello’s jealousy towards Desdemona continues to increase and to him, the only person who can be trusted is Lago because he seems concerned about his life. Lago is engaged in many secret strategies and manipulates him to move in the direction he wants by pretending to be an innocent person. This is a scheme that portrays Lago as a person who sympathizes with Othello but the case is different.
The deceitful nature of Lago is exhibited when he tells Othello that Desdemona lied to his father about marrying Othello. When Lago points out the past deeds of Desdemona, Othello continues developing jealousy towards her because she lied to her father regarding the marriage (Sparknotes 5). Desdemona is represented as a mere pawn to Lago. In the first episodes of the play, Lago is not so much interested in her. He only mentions her when talking to Othello about her unfaithfulness.
Later in the development of the play, Lago feels threatened after Desdemona asks about his perception of women and how he depicts them. This compels Lago to express the love that is not genuine simply because he has been forced to do so. However, this makes him angered and expresses his jealousy towards Desdemona till the end of the play.
The motivation of the evil acts that are perpetrated by Lago in the play is not brought out clearly in the play. He is angered and harbors intense jealousy towards other characters just because Cassio was appointed a lieutenant despite the fact that Lago was more experienced.
He too becomes jealous of Othello although his manipulative character is not justified by this jealousy towards Othello. The truth of the matter is that Lago is very jealous and strives towards developing the jealousy he has in other characters. He believes that he is the person undergoing a lot of suffering and wants other characters to develop anger and jealousy.
Lago comes out as one of the villainous characters in the works of William Shakespeare. What brings out this character is the fact that he secretly creates the trouble happening in the play but he pretends to be innocent and blameless such that nobody suspects him. He achieves this by applying manipulative strategies that end up betraying other characters.
He always tells lies that cause serious consequences but he expresses sympathy and is ever ready to share his secrets with somebody. It is not clear why Lago acts the way he acts and this makes him even more frightening. He is full of jealousy and wants every other person to feel as jealous as he is. The jealousy of Lago and his efforts to develop the same jealousy in others eventually leads to the deaths of many people and his own downfall.
Throughout the world, a dark, primal aspect of humanity is not hard to find. It is silent, usually never more than a whisper until it is too late, and can be as dangerous as poison. It is jealousy. Jealousy can destroy friendships, relationships, and even alliances. William Shakespeare undoubtedly knew the significance of this ugly part of human nature when writing his play Othello.
By examining the three central male characters in this play – Lago, Othello, and Cassio – Shakespeare illustrates the causes, immediate effects, and the ever-lasting bitterness that can result in allowing one to fall prey to this self-destructive affliction. By following closely these three characters and the results of their attitudes and actions, Shakespeare presents support to the idea that the more an individual allows oneself to associate with jealousy, the more and more likely that the individual is to do harm to both those whom they love, as well as to their own person.
It is everyone’s responsibility to avoid jealousy at any cost; however, many people shun this responsibility and allow themselves to propagate this vice. Nevertheless, whilst one can choose to dodge the responsibility of living jealousy-free life, one cannot dodge its consequences thereafter. The best thing is that, when one makes a choice, he/she chooses the consequences also and this is what Othello and Lago painfully learn later. On the other hand, living a principled life pays as in the case of Cassio. Othello and Lago are punished for their jealousy, while Cassio is rewarded for living a principled life.
Othello is the protagonist of this story. Despite the fact that he is a great storyteller and a trained soldier, he has let these good qualities and reputation to be “stained with jealousy and making emotional decisions” (Bradley Para. 4). His jealous traits become pronounced after marrying Desdemona.
After Lago plots to stain Cassio’s reputation by staging an attack at the bar, Othello comes in and sacks Cassio immediately without consultations. He says, “Cassio, I love thee / But never more be an officer of mine” (Shakespeare 36). This is an immature, irrational, and emotional decision; Othello should at least do some investigations before firing Cassio. To some extent this is insensitive and selfishness which resonates well with jealousy.
Due to jealousy, Othello does not trust his wife and he is even willing to kill her based on unfounded hearsays. After finding Cassio in his house, he gullibly believes Lago’s lies that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona. Othello’s jealousy consumes him making him withdraw from his wife. He says, “I will deny thee nothing / Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this / To leave me but a little to myself” (Shakespeare 49).
The reason why he wants to be left alone is that he cannot contain his jealousy. Human beings are bound to make mistakes occasionally; however, Othello behaves as though he is holier than thou and this is why he cannot understand Desdemona. Othello is not perfect either and the reason he acts the way he acts is that he is jealous; not that Desdemona cannot match his ‘principles’.
Finally, Othello’s jealousy hits a climax when he kills his wife. Even though Lago is a schemer and is out to ruin Othello’s life, he realizes how jealous Othello is and warns him, “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy / It, is the green-eyed monster which doth mock” (Shakespeare 57).
Surely, this ‘green-eyed monster’ is lurking around the corner, waiting for the right time to pounce on Othello. He confesses, “When I shall turn the business of my soul/ The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt / Away at once with love or jealousy” (Shakespeare 58). The business of ‘his soul’ is to kill his wife for he questions her ‘revolt’. This tells it all and to cap it all he says he is done with her regardless of whether what he had for her was ‘love or jealousy.’
Nevertheless, as aforementioned, when one makes a decision, he/she chooses the consequences also. The immediate effects of Othello’s choice to believe every lie he hears and harbor jealousy is the breakdown of his marriage. The effects affect Othello’s life together with those around him. The long-lasting effect cum rewards of Othello’s decisions is guilt and eventually, death. After smothering his wife, he realizes that she is innocent and she did not give Cassio her handkerchief; Lago had planned everything.
Even if Othello does not die, this guilt will be long-lasting and heavy to bear. However, the ultimate rewards of jealousy finally catch up with Othello as he kills himself. He says, “I took by the throat the circumcised dog / And smote him, thus” (Shakespeare 67). The ‘circumcised dog’ here is his wrong decisions and jealousy and to ‘smote it’ he has to die and thus gets rewards of jealousy, a dark, primal aspect of humanity.
Lago is the most flagitious character in this play. He is out to hurt everyone and settle scores as he enjoys people’s suffering. Surely, is not hard to find jealousy amongst human kinds. First, it is his wife; he thinks she has cheated on him by sleeping with Othello. He says, “It is thought abroad that ’twixt my sheets / He has done my office” (Shakespeare 87). This is uncalled for as he cannot justify his claims and due to jealousy coupled with timidity, he kills Emilia, his wife. Then it comes to Cassio, after Cassio’s appointment, Lago’s jealousy is obvious.
He says, “I know my price, I am worth no worse a place/ One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, A fellow almost damn’d in a fair wife/ As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice” (Shakespeare 29). This description is harsh and can only stem from jealousy. According to Mabillard, Othello knows Lago is not a competent man and that is why he prefers Cassio to him (Para. 5). After arriving in Cyprus, Lago plots on how to eliminate Cassio to further his plans of ruining Othello. His plans work out well and Cassio is fired; however, he does not get the post left vacant by Cassio.
He arranges Cassio to meet with Desdemona only to reveal this to Othello. Despite the fact that he knows about Cassio’s meeting with Desdemona, he says, “Cassio, my lord! No, sure, I cannot think it/ That he would steal away so guilty-like/ Seeing you coming” (Shakespeare 65). This is hypocrisy fuelled by jealousy. He has planned all these and he should defend Cassio better were it not for his jealousy.
Surely, jealousy would do anything. Apparently, Lago has been pushing Emilia to steal Desdemona’s handkerchief to use it as proof of Desdemona’s infidelity. After he gets the handkerchief, he hurriedly places it in Cassio’s house. This gives him a foothold to accuse Desdemona of infidelity. When Othello asks for proof of infidelity, Lago vows that has seen “Cassio wipe his beard with her handkerchief” (Shakespeare 99). This is a heinous act founded on jealousy.
Nothing can match Lago’s jealousy and wickedness. He seems to enjoy every bit of other people’s sufferings. Even after getting Cassio out of his job and straining Othello’s marriage, he is not satiated. He still wants Cassio dead and this is why he tells Roderigo to ambush Cassio and kill him. He tells Roderigo, “…by making him incapable of Othello’s place/ knocking out his brains” (Shakespeare 65). This is the far jealousy and wickedness can get.
However, killing Lago is not an issue; he kills his wife and now is planning the death of Cassio. Nevertheless, there is a prize for jealousy and Lago has to pay it fully. Othello attacks Lago and wounds him badly and this is the reward of jealousy and wickedness. People attract what they are, Lago is wicked; consequently, he attracts wickedness (Bradley Para. 9).
Cassio is principled and he has no bad intentions whatsoever. Throughout the play, He lives by his principles and does not allow himself to be drawn into wickedness or jealousy. Due to his goodness, he is rewarded. First, Othello prefers him to Lago and trusts him with the coveted post of a lieutenant albeit inexperienced. The only time Cassio attacks someone is when he attacks Roderigo in self-defense.
After a long time remaining loyal to his work maintaining good relationships with everyone, he is rewarded with the post of Othello. Lodovico arrives with reveals that Cassio has been appointed as he says, “Maybe the letter moved him / For, as I think, they do command him home / Deputing Cassio in his government” (Shakespeare 203). This is a reward of good and living a principled life.
Surely, Shakespeare knew well about the primal nature of human beings characterized by jealousy. He knew for sure that, those who are jealous and wicked receive wickedness in return, and those living by good principles receive good rewards in turn. Nature has a way of regulating these events and it rewards everyone according to his/her actions without favoritism. Othello is gullible and full of jealousy.
He cannot trust his wife and this is why he accuses her of infidelity and finally kills her. He confesses that he really does not know what he feels for her is love or jealousy; however, jealousy takes precedence and he kills Desdemona based on unfounded accusations of infidelity. Lago on the other side is an epitome of extreme human wickedness. He is out to settle scores and hurt everyone around him.
This makes him kill Emilia; plots to ruin Othello, Desdemona, and Cassio. Nevertheless, due to their wickedness, Othello and Lago receive rewards of death and hurt respectively. Cassio on the other side receives good rewards due to his good principles. Shakespeare’s message here is, “do not be deceived, you reap what you plant” (Mabillard Para. 11).
Example #8 – Power Of Jealousy In Othello
Othello is one of the four great tragedies from William Shakespeare, who is widely referred to as the greatest writer in the history of English literature. In this play, jealousy is one of the key factors that leads to the tragedies of the characters. Othello has promoted Cassio as his lieutenant, which evokes Iago’s jealousy. Thus he slandered Cassio and Desdemona, which directly brought to Othello’s tragedy. Iago realizes Othello’s weakness, utilized his true love for Desdemona.
Driven by jealousy, Othello readily believed Iago’s rumor and killed his innocent wife. After that he finds he has murdered his beloved wife by misunderstanding, he cannot face his guilty and killed himself and died beside Desdemona. Jealous is a normal emotion of human, but excessive jealousy will make people query themselves, their mind will be uncontrollable and lose the ability of self-judgment.
People will become emotional and impulsiveness. Driven by the power of jealousy, the evil will stay in people’s mind like a monster. Ultimately causes tragedies and self-destruction. In this play, jealousy is mainly portrayed through the two major characters, Iago and Othello. Iago’s jealousy comes from the position of Othello and Cassio, as well as his ambition. Othello’s jealousy comes from both his inferior nature and Iago’s deceive. The power of jealousy makes him changes his self-esteem through the play and credulous of other people. Iago is the planner and performers of the entire event.
In the tragedy Othello, the emotion of jealousy is portrayed through most of the characters and their actions. Throughout the play, you can notice that some of the characters use and manipulate the feeling of jealousy towards the other characters, and you begin to see the consequences and effects this has on them. Even though this emotion influences some of the characters’ emotions and overall situations more than others, it affects them all one way or another.
Jealousy is encountered in many parts of the play especially the main scenes where you really see it alter the character’s state of mind. For instance when Iago says “O, beware, my lord of jealousy/ It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock/ The meat it feeds on.”(III.iii.170-171) to Othello, he was trying to force jealousy into Othello’s mind without Othello realizing it himself, and once Iago weaved nothing but jealousy and suspicion into Othello’s head it begins to have an almost domino effect on everyone else.
His true insecurities and jealous tendencies begin to show when Iago brings up age, race, and social status, everything that I believe were sensitive topics to Othello since the beginning, between Othello and Desdemona. For instance, when Iago mentions the idea that Desdemona marrying Othello was an unnatural occurrence due to Desdemona not marrying someone of her own social status and color even though she had many suitors with those descriptions. (III.iii.268-278) In which these discussions with Iago slowly but surely brought Othello to allow his emotions to take hold of him and make him make horrible and irrational mistakes.
Example #10 – interesting ideas
The most obvious case of jealousy in _Othello_ is that of the title character. Othello becomes very strongly jealous when Iago convinces him that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him with Cassio. This leads Othello to murder Desdemona and to try to kill Cassio. It is Othello’s jealousy that Iago manipulates with such devastating effect. Othello calls himself “one not easily jealous, but, being wrought, / Perplexed in the extreme” (V, ii, 341-2).
Another interesting example of jealousy in _Othello_ is that of Roderigo. The reason Roderigo plays along with Iago and does what Iago tells him to do is that Roderigo wants (I wouldn’t say “loves”) Desdemona. Iago uses this to manipulate him, promising that if he does what Iago tells him he will soon be sleeping with Desdemona.
Finally, Iago himself could be seen to be motivated by jealousy. Although Iago’s motives are unclear, his actions would appear to be at least partially caused by jealousy. Iago is jealous of Cassio’s promotion over him, as he makes clear in the first scene of the play. Iago is also jealous because there are rumors (unsubstantiated, as he admits) that Othello has slept with his wife Emilia. These are the key instances of jealousy in _Othello_, as far as I can see. It is a very important theme in the play, and one of the key motivations behind many of the characters’ actions.
I have to write an essay on the play, Othello, on the following task: “Othello distresses us by its display of deception and jealousy. yet we are moved by the tragic downfall of the protagonist to what extent do you agree with this statement? refer to the complex nature of tragedy, Shakespeare’s purpose, and dramatic devices.” Is anyone able to explain this to me, please? I could really use some help!
Answer. Deception caused by Iago, Jealousy toward Othello toward Desdemona, but we still feel sorry for Othello because as an audience we can see Iago’s plot unravel in front of Othello’s eyes. I would write an essay agreeing with the statement and start with a view of the two main historical forms of tragedy, Greek and Elizabethan(Shakespearian)
Greek tragedy involved the downfall (not necessary death) of a prominent or important figure (protagonist), whereas Elizabethan tragedy always led to the death of the protagonist due to the immorality of the actions that led to their downfall, so we know from the start that Othello is destined to die due to some terrible act that he will commit. The purpose of the Elizabethan tragedy was to impart severe punishment on people who did immoral or wrong acts, thus imparting forced morality onto the audience.
Well, im just thinking off the top of my head you can state how Iago manipulates Othello’s weaknesses in order to get his way like uses Othello’s weakness of only seeing the good in people and therefore trsting iago so easily. Othello’s decisiveness is based mainly on him being an idealist instead of a realist like Iago.
Iagos way of manipulating is also using appearance vs reality where he put on a show of being truthful but in fact, was deceitful and pure evil and without a conscience. his jealousy of Othello’shrank drew him to this and Othellos pride drew him eventually to his destruction for he could not come to terms with being broken of this pride and thus this blinded him of all sense. I really hope i could be of some help i done Othello a real long time ago.
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