Jealousy And Envy In Othello By William Shakespeare

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Jealousy is the main theme in the play Othello where Shakespeare portrays it using different characters throughout the play. The male protagonist Othello who is a bold and brave dark person selected as military general of Venice by the Duke of Venice. Female protagonist Desdemona is in love with Othello and is married to him. Her father is not happy with the marriage as he thinks Othello is not fair enough to marry her and does not deserve to marry Desdemona. Iago is the antagonist with his brilliant power to convince people with his words and get his work done with the use of other characters in the play.

Othello is happy for the life he is living but Iago comes in and makes it miserable, without leaving a clue. Iago is the one who was dreaming of becoming the military general but unfortunately, he could not, this made him jealous in the first place then he hope to become the lieutenant, but he couldn’t as Michael Cassio gets promoted by Othello. This makes him compare himself to Cassio and thinking that he is the one who deserved the post. As he is very loyal to Othello and he thinks Cassio isn’t good as him, so he deserves the position more.

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Later he plans everything properly and gets Othello and Cassio down. Firstly he finds Roderigo who is a rich man and is desperate to sleep with Othello’s wife Desdemona. Iago takes this as an opportunity and tells him that give me money and I would make her sleep with him. This could never happen as Iago just needed the money. He also sent Roderigo to Desdemona’s father Brabantio to inform him that his daughter is married to a black man and they are on honeymoon now. He tells him as if they are doing something really wrong and he should stop it so that they both could face some consequences.

Othello is one of the people who trust Iago the most but he does not know that Iago is the person who is betraying him. Iago wants Othello and Michael Cassio both to lose their post and respect in society as he was not promoted to lieutenant. Cassio loses his job because he gets into an argument with Montano who is the Governor of Cyprus. Then he goes to Othello to move further in the situation. He tells him that Desdemona is in love with Cassio and when Othello asks for evidence he tells that Desdemona pleads for Cassio's job back. This is how Iago puts his steps forward and moving towards his goal. This also makes Othello thinks that she is guilty. When he tries to bring this topic to Desdemona she changes the talk and thus this makes Othello believe that Desdemona is guilty sure, on another hand, Desdemona doesn’t know what Iago is speaking about. This also helps Iago to prove his honesty in front of Othello.

Jealousy completely changes Othello as he starts thinking differently from before and his love and faith in Desdemona reduce this shows how the development of jealousy in Othello. As he thought that Desdemona would never cheat him like this. Iago makes Othello believe that even Cassio loves Desdemona and he tells him that he has heard Cassio wanting to kiss Desdemona while he was asleep. He also shows Desdemona’s to Othello, proving that it was with Cassio. This puts Othello in deep thought, which makes him feel jealous.

On the other hand, when Roderigo plans to kill Cassio, Iago stabs Roderigo from the back, this way both of them lose their life and Iago doesn’t have to pay Roderiogo’s money back. This shows Iago is not only jealous but violent also.

Othello goes to Desdemona to speak about the matter but she doesn’t know what he is speaking about. Then he smothers her to death. Emilia who is Iago’s wife comes in and tells the whole story running behind him and takes the blame on her and explains that Iago was lying to you. After listening to this he feels very guilty and kills himself. This shows how dangerous jealousy is and can lead to the death of many lives. Othello also wanted to be remembered as not a jealous person at the end of his life.

You can see how Othello has changed through the play from being the bold and brave man loving his wife Desdemona to a guilty man at the end. This was only because of Iago’s beautiful planning and Othello himself developing jealousy. He was also a calm and respectful person at the beginning of the play. But at the end of the play, he is the victim who is affected by jealousy, and Iago remains uncovered being the villain. He was also referred to as honest Iago as everyone believed him and trusted him throughout the play. He killed Cassio because he couldn’t get the post and Othello for not giving it to him. Shakespeare has used many effects to make this play and show the effect of jealously. Thus Iago can also be called the green-eyed monster who is first jealous and then develops this to others which leads to tragedy. Othello in the last has lost all his respect as he kills Desdemona without trusting her and still wants to be remembered as a not a jealous person, however, this is not possible as he has already made the damage, and people would not believe him. Thus he loses his identity and honest Iago remains uncovered.

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Jealousy And Envy In Othello By William Shakespeare. (2021, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from
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