“Othello” is a play about revenge. The revenge that takes part in the play is so deep and continues throughout the play. The revenge in the play “Othello” is all tied in with jealousy. The only thing Othello wanted was to live a happy life with his wife. There are so many themes in Othello. The most important theme in “Othello” is revenge. Revenge drives the entire play, it is what the play is based off of. Revenge is lead by jealousy, the green-eyed monster. In the play Othello revenge is the main theme, it leads the play because vengeful behavior acts as a catalyst for every event; which causes extreme conflict and emotional damage in the play.
Iago is the antagonist in the play “Othello”. Iago has lots of Jared and jealousy. Iago is evil. One person he hates is the moor, “I hate the moor, And it is thought abroad, that ‘twixt my sphere ‘ has done my office. I know not if’t be true, But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, Will do as if for surety.” ( 1.3. 429-433). Iago complains about everything and everyone. Iago shows many times in this play how much hatred, jealousy, and anger he has in him. Iago is also very manipulative. Iago acts as if he is the good guy in every situation. Iago also loves to put his ideas in people's heads and make them think as if it was their idea. This is where manipulation ties into the revenge. Iago shows his manipulation and revenge many times throughout the play, “Call up her father, Rouse him. Make after him, poison his delight, Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen, And, though he in a fertile climate dwell, Plague him with flies. Though that his joy be joy, Yet throw such changes of vexation on’t As it may lose some color.” (1.1. 74-80). Iago is showing his plan for revenge and what he would like to do. Iago is also a liar, he acts as if he would never do a bad thing in his life. Iago is so manipulative throughout the entire play.
The handkerchief Othello gave his beloved wife is very important it is a symbol of his love. The handkerchief has been in his family for ages. Othello was beyond furious when she lost it and when he found out it was in another mans room. Othello saw her losing it as she didn’t care about it and that she was cheating. Even though what really happened was that she was in Iago's wife’s room and had dropped it. Iago manipulated his wife to steal it and bring it to him, when she did bring it to him he planted it in another mans room so Othello would think she cheated. When Othello went to iago about his wife cheating iago acted as if he was a good friend and started saying that Cassio was a good man and could not imagine him cheating, “Cassio’s a proper man. Let me see now: To get his place and to plume up my will In double knavery—How, how? Let's see. After some time, to abuse Othello's ear That he is too familiar with his wife. He hath a person and a smooth dispose To be suspected, framed to make women false. The Moor is of a free and open nature, That thinks men honest but seem to be so, And will as tenderly be led by th' nose As asses are. I haven't. It is engendered. Hell and night Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light.“ (1.3.435-447). The handkerchief was just as important has a wedding ring. It means a lot to Othello. When Othello thought she lost it in another mans room and thought she cheated he lost it. Othello went off on his wife. Othello felt as if she did not care about his symbol of love.
Revenge is more than payback, it has many complex emotions tied in with it. One of the complex emotions is jealousy. Jealousy also plays a main part in Othello, “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on;” (3.3. 15). Jealousy is such a complex emotion that it is hard to explain. This is the best way to explain jealousy. It is truly a “green-eyed monster”. Emilia really understands jealousy, “Pray heaven it be state-matters, as you think, and no conception nor no jealous toy concerning you. Alas the day, I never gave him cause! But jealous souls will not be answered so.They are not ever jealous for the cause, But jealous for they are jealous. It is a monster Begot upon itself, born on itself. Heaven keep that monster from Othello's mind” (3.4.176-184). Desdemona and Emilia are good friends, that quote is a conversation between them. Emilia basically thinks that jealousy come up out of nowhere and there is no reason for it. Emilia thinks that jealousy grows bigger and bigger by “feeding on itself”. Everybody gets jealous at some point in their life, but nobody knows exactly why people get jealous. Their is a lot of research on jealousy, Sussex publishers talk about jealousy on psychology today, they say that jealousy is a very complex emotion, it encompasses many different emotions. The emotions that are involved with jealousy are; fear, rage, and humiliation. It does not matter what age a person is jealousy affects everyone. Jealousy is a very ugly emotion. iago realizes that their is actual proof of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness, “Trifles light as air Are to the jealous confirmations strong As proofs of holy writ. This may do something.”(3.3.370-372). Iago realizes Othello’s suspicion of his wife cheating needs evidence. Iago realizes he needs to plant evidence. Iago decided to plant the handkerchief and give evidence that Othello's wife was “cheating”. Iago already knew that Othello was not a confident person especially being married to a white woman because it is so frowned upon.
Revenge is more than just something people want. It’s an emotion. It is when people want fairness and justice. Othello is so hurt because he believes his beloved wife has cheated he now seeks revenge, “Even so my bloody thoughts with violent pace Shall ne'er look back, ne'er ebb to humble love” (3.3. 467-470). Othello now seeks revenge for his wife and Cassio, Othello truly shows how hurt he is. Othello went from being head over heels for his wife to know having a deep hatred for her. Othello has never felt more angry in his life before, now he wants both of them dead. This leaves his wife very hurt because she didn’t cheat and Othello doesn’t believe her, Desdemona ends up dying from a broken heart. Othello is preparing to kill both Desdemona and Cassio, “Therefore be double damned: swear thou art honest.” (4.2. 38-40). Othello thinks that Desdemona’s soul is damned and cursed. The more that Desdemona denies cheating the more angry Othello gets. Revenge is not a good feeling, just like jealousy. Revenge is worse because it feels good while doing it then after people either feel guilty or regret it. On psychology today people researched revenge and what wires it, researchers believe that people's emotion of rage is what triggers revenge and revenge is a way for people to feel justice and even. At the end of the play when othello realizes that he has been tricked he was so disappointed, “ Then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely but too well.” (5.2. 357-360). Othello feels so betrayed and regrets so many of his decisions. Othello wishes he saw this coming.
In the play Othello revenge is the main theme, it leads the play because vengeful behavior acts as a catalyst for every event in the play. This causes extreme conflict and lots of emotional damage in the play. In the play “Othello” Iago is the antagonist. Iago’s actions is what drives the entire play. This play shows people how jealousy and revenge are emotions and that every person gets these emotions and that nobody can control them. Every person has experienced these emotions.
- “Jealousy.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, (n.d.) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/jealousy.
- “Revenge: Will You Feel Better?” Psychology Today, 2019, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/pieces-mind/201309/revenge-will-you-feel-better.
- Shakespeare, William,, Mowat, Barbara A.Werstine, Paul.The Tragedy Of Othello, The Moor Of Venice. New York, N.Y. : Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2009, c1993. Print.