• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Othello is a play about jealousy, Iago's innate jealousy and the imposed jealousy of Othello, discuss.

Extracts from this document...


Othello is a play about jealousy, Iago's innate jealousy and the imposed jealousy of Othello, discuss. Othello is a Shakesperian tragedy in which the valuable qualities of the favourable characters are manipulated against them in such a way that their own qualities catalyse their own downfall. At the start of the play all is well between the honest Othello and sweet Desdemona until Iago slowly poisons Othello's mind until it cumulates in a bloody and murderous finale. Shakespeare's plays are well renowned for their examination of human emotions through drama, 'Romeo and Juliet' examined the nature love, 'Hamlet' examined the characteristic of having a weak mind, and both of these plays revealed the dangerous aspects to extreme feelings. Othello is a play that also explores the destruction that human emotion can lead to, and this essay shall consider the proposition that Othello is a play about the emotion of jealousy and its consequences. Iago is the first cause of all the trouble in Othello. His apparent motive for wanting to oust Cassio in favour of himself is his belief that Cassio is less fit and capable of the position of lieutenant than he. "Nor the division of a battle he knows More than a spinster, unless bookish rhetoric, Wherein the togged consuls can propose, As masterly as he. Mere prattle without practise In all his soldiership." Iago, Act I, scene I. The harsh sounding 'pr' sound in the alliteration in Iago's speech suggests his anger at Cassio's appointment. ...read more.


"If consequence do but approve my dream My boat sails freely both with wind and steam". I believe getting so much enjoyment out of their misery is a point against 'Othello' being about Iago's innate jealousy because jealous people tend to act irrationally. Iago methodically plans his actions. However, the fact Iago is so bitter could also have hardened him over the years. He seems to be jealous of anyone who is valued favourably, and resentful to anyone who values someone else more highly than himself. In this way I am of the opinion that the play is very much about Iago's innate jealousy transforming him into a bitter man who derives his only pleasure in life from seeing people who could be happy turn miserable. Iago's tragedy is perhaps that he can never be happy himself and so spends his life making other's miserable with motiveless-malignity. However, in the book 'Seven', a serial killer says "I took it away because I envy your normal life detective, so it seems that envy is my sin" having killed his victims he admits he wishes he could be normal. Jealousy and envy are closely interlinked, so if a serial killer who kills helpless victims even prefers to die because of his jealousy of normal happy people, then the fact Iago shows no remorse perhaps wagers that Iago did not primarily act out of his jealousy but lust for causing pain. Othello is very much in love with Desdemona at the start of the play, he feels his soul bound to hers and has complete faith and trust in her. ...read more.


Othello should have believed Desdemona but the seemingly honest Iago used everyone's good traits against them, and caused the bloody mess single handedly. To conclude, Othello is perhaps a play about the innate jealousy of Iago, however, I am left unsure about the precise motives Iago has. I tend to agree with Coleridge, that Iago is motivated simple by the direst cruelty, although there is substantial evidence, such as his behaviour towards people who seem happier than himself, that Iago suffers from innate jealousy aswell. The play to me, seems to be more about mistrust, and the tragedy that Othello believes Iago over his wife. The fact Othello is so quick to doubt both his love and his best friend also suggests that Othello has a weakness in character judgement and solidarity of emotion. However, Iago was a very intelligent manipulator, and had luck on his side, to create a catharsis of emotion which drives Othello to kill his beloved, and how Iago manages to do this, is essentially what the play is about. It leaves the open question for me, that did even Shakespeare not know exactly what drove Iago, did the writer have doubts, or was he just unable to convey such a complex character within the confines of a play. 1 It is a psychological theory that if someone/something you love is unreachable, your mind will automatically begin to devalue them to ease the pain of not having that person/thing. It is easier to accept a whore does not love you than to accept a genuine pure girl does not love you. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Othello section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Othello essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Explore Shakespeare's presentation of jealousy in 'Othello'

    4 star(s)

    tone throughout even after he's killed Desdemona and realised how wrong he was about his beloved wife. Othello constantly asked Iago for proof before he acted upon his suspicions; this proof eventually comes in the form of the handkerchief a multiple metaphor for the whole play.

  2. Is Othello a 'noble hero' brought down by 'a devil of motiveless malignity' or ...

    a dream like life and Iago saw this as a reason to change it and open there eyes then this may be a possible reason to describe him like this. An example is the way Iago spots in the first scene that Cassio is "a great arithmetician...

  1. Coleridge famously describes the analysis of Iago as "the motive hunting of a motiveless ...

    in heterosexual relationships, and would therefore be accepted into society in a way that he believed that he never would be, and would also explain why he had such a colossal fascination in the ruin of such relationships. Iago states about Desdemona; "I do love her too, Not out of absolute lust ...But partly led to diet my revenge."

  2. Othello Essay: Jealousy.

    The atmosphere fails to ever change throughout the entire play. It begins with Iago going through a jealous rage that General Othello did not give him the position of lieutenant, where in fact, he believes he deserved the spot. It sets the tone for the entire play, causing the viewers

  1. Iago himself offers many explanations for his behaviour during the play, none of them ...

    Other motives exist within the play for Iago's actions, but these seem to be secondary to his initial grievance over Cassio's promotion. He states his belief that he may have been cuckolded by Othello, and possibly Cassio as well. Iago proclaims his concerns: 'For that I do suspect the lusty

  2. "Othello and Desdemona's marriage doesn't stand a chance." Discuss.

    It is obvious that Othello trusts Desdemona and if this trust is maintained Iago will find it very difficult to burry suspicion in Othello's mind. It is evident that Othello trusts Desdemona but then again he also has enough trust in Iago to be influenced by him.

  1. 'Hell and Night must bring this Monstrous Birth into the World's Light.' How Successful ...

    The play Othello presents many moral, cultural, social and philosophical issues among which, race and homosexuality are apparent. Homosexuality is shown when Iago constantly professes to love Othello (act 3, sc 3, line 118). Also, when the play was first staged, a man would have played Desdemona.

  2. Why does Iago destroy the other characters in the play?

    Iago does not like the fact that a black man has power and is above him and will not allow it to continue. He despises Othello for not promoting him, which can be noted when he refers to Othello as 'loving his own pride and purposes' hinting Iago's hatred by calling Othello narcissistic.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work