Jealousy and Its Irreparable Consequences in Othello: Critical Analysis

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The play “Othello” by William Shakespeare, demonstrates how jealousy brings irreparable consequences, revealing the importance of one’s need for ‘independent thinking’. Shakespeare wrote the play with the central idea of emphasize humanity, worship of humanity, fully express humanity and human desires.

Firstly, the impulse is the beginning of the destruction of a person. In the play, Othello is the victim of impulsiveness. Othello “Ay, let her rot, and perish, and be damned to-night; for she shall not live. No, my heart is turned to stone; I strike it, and it hurts my hand. O, the world hath not a sweeter creature. She might lie by an emperor’s side and command him tasks.”(Othello, P207-175). Although Othello does not have the heart to kill Desdemona, he is completely controlled by Iago’s lies, treating Desdemona as rude as a beast. Illustrating his impulsive and extreme character. Everyone has two sides, Othello is a successful soldier in the play. He has a strong sense of professionalism and responsibility through his whole life of bright. However, no one is perfect, the defection of Othello’s personality is flawed by the inferiority of the innate grace, and living with such defects in the society at that time led to his late generation of shakes and credulous personality traits. People respect him is only because of that he has the ability to protect them. He has very strong self-consciousness, it causes that he is unconfident about his marriage. He is jealous that Cassio looks better than him, so he trusts the lies that Iago told him. Othello’s tragedy is caused by the defects of personality and social discrimination. Independent thinking is the most fundamental of one’s thinking. People should know the world by using their natural talent. If a man attaches his mind to others, he becomes a slave to their ideas. A person who always considers others' opinions and suggestions is the one who has personal thinking, but if the person is easy to believe others' words may have the same tragedy as Othello. Independent thinking is to grasp everything by ourselves and take all the risks that might have. People in anger will not be awake, even they will not be able to save themselves. Moreover, Othello“I kiss’d thee era I kill’d thee. No way but this, killing myself, to die upon a kiss.”(P289-360). Suicide is the consequence of Othello‘s impulsive action. It looks like he is making amends to Desdemona, but he is actually doing something more impulsive. Othello paid for the price of impulse with life. In our daily life, people always meet all kinds of pressures and problems, the emergence of these things is a test for everyone. It constantly beats us, reminds us, slowly destroys our determination and tries to ‘kill’ us. In this state, people tend to become irritated, extremely furious, or depressed. At this time, most people give up on themselves. But if we have the opportunity to go back and look at the behavior we have done, we can easily find that the things that destroy us are not the big disasters, but our uncontrollable emotions. People in anger will not be awake, even they will not be able to save themselves. Calmness is the spirit that every age needs, also the belief that everyone should stick to it.

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Secondly, too much reliance on a relationship can lead to a loss of self-worth, even one’s ability to think independently. In the play, Desdemona is the victim of jealousy and the patriarchal system of feudal society. Desdemona “Nay, we must think men are not gods, nor of them look for such observances as fits the bridal. Beshrew me much, Emilia, I was an unhandsome warrior as I am, arraigning his unkindness with my soul; but now I find I had suborn’d the witness, and he’s indicted falsely.”(P185-150). Although Othello does not recognize his mistake, treats her rudely as a beast, she still blame on herself. It shows the blind obedience of Desdemona to Othello, also reflects the fact that she is stunned by love. Desdemona's love for Othello has transcended the forgiveness of human nature, which is her firm expression of love. Desdemona is a contradictory figure. At the beginning of the story, she is confident, straightforward, brave in resisting the wishes of her father and the secular concept of confronting society. Regardless of the gap between race, money, appearance, etc. She insists on being with the Moors and showing full respect to her father Barbantio, but by no means yielding obedience. However, in marriage, she becomes ignorant in the face of love, fully reflecting the social status of women. From a confrontation with destiny to the weakness, unable to resist at the end, such a dramatic turning point. Illustrating that Desdemona bravely take the first step of women's liberation, but she does not persist. The tragedy of women in Shakespeare's works is unable to shake off the influence of patriarchal consciousness. He is negative about the idea that women have equal rights and believes that women are the embodiment of evil and ugliness, and the root of male degeneration. He praised the valuables of women, but still deeply influenced by male rights. Also, Desdemona “Nobody;I myself. Farewell. Command me to my kind lord. O, farewell!”(P275-125) Desdemona still chooses to protect her lover at the last moment of her life, even though this person end her life. The readers can feel the symbolic revelation of the pain: the pure beauty is destroyed by the unreasonable original power. Her concealment shows her courage and determination to love. Reflecting the tragedy of women in society. Desdemona is an elegant princess, but her position in front of Othello is even much lower than a slave. Her blindness in marriage led to her own depreciation, and a noble princess finally fell into the fall of feudal society. The reason for this is not the specific individual, but the entire living environment and feudalism Caused by thoughts. In medieval Europe, the status of women is very contradictory. It contains evils such as Eve to induce Adam to steal the forbidden fruit, and also contains the noble status of the Virgin Mary. Shakespeare portrays these two extreme phenomena on Desdemona. Despite the high social status of the aristocratic women at the time, they were not allowed to appear informal and important occasions.

Finally, use independent thoughts and unique perspectives to judge what others are saying is much more necessary than blindly loyal to others. In the play, Emilia is the victim of greedy. Emilia “No, faith; she let it drop by negligence, and to the advantage, I, being here, took it up. Look, here it is.”(P159-311) For Iago, Emilia is just a tool to help him finish his plans. The handkerchief in this play is a factor that brings the story to the climax. Her tragedy inadvertently becomes Iago’s accomplice while fawning over him, and the personal insults and trampling of love from Iago. Emilia knows that she cannot do anything with this society which is full of gender discrimination, so she change herself, she helps her husband to do anything that she can, even though her husband always put bad words on her and blame on her. All she wants is to let Iago become successful like Othello. She has always been a greedy person, but Shakespeare did not overstate her desires. Shakespeare’s works usually reveal the nature of humanity.In his creation of Othello, it was the era of dramatic changes in British society. At that time, he was suffering, and the characters he created were painful. They woke up from the old days and saw the hope of rebirth under the light of humanism. They urgently changed themselves, but they were unable against the power of hostile forces. They were powerless because of their own defects. So they suffered defeat and sacrifice in this struggle. Moreover, Emilia “O, thou dull Moor, that handkerchief thou speak’st of I found by fortune, and did give my husband; for often with a solemn earnestness, more than indeed belonged to such a trifle. He begged of me to steal it.”(P281-225). Othello, a brave person, who becomes small at this moment. In the process, Emilia is gradually enriched, and its important position in the play is also displayed. The contrast between Emilia's personality changes reflects the awakening of female consciousness. Emilia bravely debunks Iago's lies. She understands what kind of person Iago is, so she no longer fears the threat of her husband. At this moment, she wants to be an upright person, leaving all the distractions, just to let everyone know the truth, even though the result for this is to be killed, she does not hesitate. She exchanges her physical demise for the freedom of the soul. She is like a mirror of Iago, Reflecting the truth at the end of the story. Shakespeare wrote a lot of works about the inequalities that criticized society, including the inequalities for women. However, at the end of the story, women always hard to escape the tragic fate of being killed. By weakening the power of women and diluting women's sense of existence, establishing a male subjective consciousness and patriarchal systems, is Shakespeare's maintenance of the patriarchal society. This is because the great influence of the patriarchal systems in his mind that is uneasy to be changed.

In conclusion, in Shakespeare’s tragedy, characters die who do not deserve their unfortunate fates is because of their blindness to the truth.

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Jealousy and Its Irreparable Consequences in Othello: Critical Analysis. (2022, March 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
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