Jealousy in Othello Essay - Peters 1 Max Peters Professor Tamara Wilson Intro to Literature 21 March 2010 Jealousy in Othello Jealousy and envy are

Jealousy in Othello Essay - Peters 1 Max Peters Professor...

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Peters Max PetersProfessor Tamara WilsonIntro to Literature21 March 2010Jealousy in OthelloJealousy and envy are major themes in Shakespeare’s great tragedy Othello. Many of the characters are motivated by their jealousy, including Iago, Bianca, Roderigo, Emilia and the titular character, Othello. Othello can even be read as a tale with a moral—a cautionary play about the dangers of jealousy, the “green-eyed monster which doth mock/ The meat it feeds on” (3.3.166-171)In this paper I will attempt to show the major role jealousy plays in Othellothrough various quotes referencing the effects of jealousy as well as my own analysis of the play. Both a and b of the fourth definition of jealousy in the Oxford English Dictionary are relevant to my argument. The Oxford English Dictionary defines jealousy as "4. The state of mind arising from the suspicion, apprehension, or knowledge of rivalry: a. in love, etc.: Fear of being supplanted in the affection, or distrust of the fidelity, of a beloved person, esp. a wife, husband, or lover. b. in respect of success of advantage: Fear of 1
Peters losing some good through the rivalry of another; resentment or ill-will towards another on account of advantage or superiority, possible or actual, on his part; envy, grudge."In this paper I will attempt to show the major role jealousy plays in Othellothrough various quotes referencing the effects of jealousy as well as my own analysis of the play. Othello’s jealousy is the most obvious. The stark change in Othello’s personality and demeanor from the start of the play to the end has much to do with the ease with which readers are able to perceive his jealousy. When the play begins, Othello appears resolute, proud and strong. As Othello falls prey to jealousy, however, he becomes an emotionally weak, irrational and suspicious man, victim to enormous envy. Ironically, it was Othello’s early propensity for over trustfulness that is his downfall. His willingness to trust in others makes it easy for Iago to plant the seeds of jealousy, even unfounded jealousy. Othello is an outsider. Visually to an audience watching this play, Othello is a black man among white men. In the first act of the play, the first hints of jealousy are introduced when Desdemona's father, Brabantio, cautions Othello to "Look at her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see;/ She has deceiv'd her father, and may thee." Brabantio’s tone is strange here, showing a bitterness towards his daughter that would sugest an unnatural and powerful jealousy of his son-in-law. Iago 2
Peters uses this to take advantage of Othello’s natural jealousy and devises a plan to fool Othello. Quickly, the devious Iago is able to poison Othello’s mind with the idea that Desdemona is being unfaithful to him. Though Othello’s emotional and physical reactions to Iago’s insinuations show him to have a jealous nature, after murdering his wife he claims he wants to be thought of, not as jealous, but merely confused and led astray. He pleaded, “”When you

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