Theme Of Jealousy In Othello

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Shakespeare uses a combination of recurring themes and motifs such as betrayal, love, conflict, and jealousy throughout his plays and sonnets. In Shakespeare’s Othello, jealousy is the prominent theme, which causes the destruction and tragic downfall of the play’s main characters. Jealousy is masked through lies, misleading situations and manipulation and interpreted in varied ways by the main characters. From beginning to end, jealousy is rooted in every scene, eventually leading to the death and demise of the main character, Othello. Jealousy of power is first displayed through Iago, a solider under Othello’s command. ”One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, a fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife, that never set a squadron in the field”(Act 1, Scene 1). Iago is consumed by jealousy of Cassio, which he masks with hatred of Othello, because Othello took up Cassio as lieutenant and not Iago. In this same scene, we are also introduced to Roderigo, a wealthy Venetian, who is desperately in love with Desdemona, Othello’s wife. This scene is significant because it crafts Iago as the perfect villain. He plans on exploiting Othello’s insecurities in exchange for his own vengeful agenda. Iago also has his own suspicion that Othello had an affair with Emilia, Iago’s wife, and seeks revenge. Iago’s soliloquy at the end of “till I am even’d with him, wife for wife” (Act 2, Scene 1) has the notion that Iago might sleep with Desdemona so that Othello must feel the same destructive jealousy.

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