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Othello and Desdemonas love at the beginning of the play is built on mutual trust and attraction. By the end of Act 3, however, Othello has become the green-eyed monster of jealousy. Explore this descent.

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Introduction

Othello and Desdemona?s love at the beginning of the play is built on mutual trust and attraction. By the end of Act 3, however, Othello has become the ?green-eyed monster? of jealousy. His love for Desdemona has been undermined and the seeds of the tragedy have been sown. Explore this descent. The destructiveness of jealousy is a continual undertone throughout ?Othello? and ultimately destroys the love between Othello and Desdemona. Othello?s suspicions regarding Desdemona?s fidelity provoke him to rage and violence and as an audience we witness the swift collapse of his pride and nobility. The speed and intensity of these changes suggest one of two things ? either Iago?s insinuations caused Othello?s doubts, or whether he simply unleashed his pre-existing fears. It?s fair to conclude that Othello?s jealousy is based on unreasonable fears which lead to equally irrational behaviour, and Iago himself exhibits a self-consuming jealousy directed against love itself in all manifestations. Jealousy, warns Iago, in order to awake it within Othello, ?Is the green-ey?d monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on? [III.iii. 165-167]. Othello is revealed as one who, from the moment that jealousy strikes, divorces himself from rationality. ?Green? is traditionally symbolic of jealousy and envy and serves to further emphasise this idea of Othello?s transformation to being consumed by jealousy. Once awakened, the jealousy becomes self-perpetuating where no justifiable evidence for it even exists. Othello is under the impulse of obstinacy and will continue to create his own jealousy by inventing causes and converting nonchalant trivialities into ?confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ? [III.iii. ...read more.

Middle

As Iago put it, they were ?well tun?d? [II.i. 195], which reflects the notion that lovers do things in symmetry. Othello used sensuous, cosmic, elemental and natural imagery, such as ?Of moving accidents by flood and field? [I.iii. 135] which emphasises his military might and power through the relation to size and movement. The difference in Othello?s language after being subject to Iago?s diabolical plans is stark. Many discrepancies exist in the blank verse, and Othello and Desdemona no longer speak in tune. They are distanced and the dialogue is disjointed which portrays this idea that they are growing further apart. For example, the iambic pentameter is split up, such as here: [Desdemona] ?Heaven bless us! [Othello] Say you? [Desdemona] It is not lost.? [III.iiii. 74-76] By Act 4 when Iago?s destructive plans have damaged Othello, he begins to use prose, such as in the paragraph ?Lie with her ? Zounds, that?s fulsome!? [IIII.i. 38-44]. The use of prose exemplifies the sense that something has gone horribly wrong and evokes a sense of unhappiness, disjointedness and being rushed. His language has deteriorated to such an extent to show that he is now a damaged man ? he has gone from high class and been reduced to speaking in prose. His ramblings are nonsensical and further emphasise the idea that he?s lost control as we become subject to his flowing and maniac thought processes. The use of hyphens also suggests how he is making digressions, which further reinforces this idea that he has no idea what he?s talking about, just before falling into his trance. ...read more.

Conclusion

The presence of Iago with his dreadful insinuations could mask the insanity of Othello to present him as a man reacting logically in the face of accumulating proof. By the end of Act 3 Scene 3, there is still no more than the slightest of evidence- a handkerchief which Iago may have seen Cassio wipe his beard with, and Cassio’s alleged and inconclusive dream. Othello has nothing but Iago’s word to go on, and without even seeking to confront either Desdemona or Cassio, he decides to kill them. Whilst it’s true that circumstantial evidences increased, such as Desdemona’s tactless pleading for Cassio, Iago’s statement of Cassio’s confession, and Bianca returning the handkerchief to Cassio before Othello’s eyes – it’s apparent that Othello’s conviction of Desdemona’s guilt is confirmed rather than established by such ‘ocular proof’ [III.iii. 365]. Othello used to believe that his marriage to Desdemona would transform his life – from one of primitive ‘chaos’ to one of civilisation and contentment. This naïve dream is shattered with his increasing jealousy and growing awareness that his newfound happiness is an illusion. To conclude, Othello becomes completely preoccupied with the mission of avenging himself on Desdemona and Cassio for an adulterous affair of which they are entirely innocent merely due to the destructiveness of Othello’s jealousy. Othello’s feelings of inadequacy and his own shortcomings coupled with Iago’s persistent scheming transform Othello from trusting Desdemona to suspecting her of infidelity, and he does so by never reflecting upon it or asking Desdemona herself, but rather by believing everything Iago tells him. ...read more.

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