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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

"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.

Conclusion

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.

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