Jealousy in Shakespeare's Othello

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Jealousy in Shakespeare's Othello

Othello features jealousy as the dominant motive for action and therefore just as reflected in real life we bare witness to jealousy influencing the characters of Iago, Brabantio, Roderigo, and Othello. In this essay I shall be attempting to examine this theme in depth drawing comparison between jealousy and the consequential action.

The dominance of jealousy as the chief causative force of action in the drama is very obvious to most critics. In William Shakespeare: The Tragedies, Paul A. Jorgensen exposes the main motivation in the story:

In 'roundest' terms, Othello is a story of raging sexual jealousy prompted apparently by the least credible of motives. Othello has eloped with Desdemona, the white, refined, and pure daughter of a Venetian senator, Brabantio. [. . .] The marriage might have succeeded had it not been for one of the most hateful characters ever created: Iago. This essentially puny man is, he tells his dupe Roderigo, jealous because his general Othello has appointed as lieutenant not the seasoned plain veteran Iago but a learned soldier of the new type, Cassio. In soliloquy (1.3.377), Iago tells us also of the reasons for his jealousy and proposed revenge, all of them sexual: he claims both Cassio and Othello have seduced his wife, Emilia, a warm-hearted, simple wom...

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...n Shakespeare?s Othello. Ed. Anthony G. Barthelemy Pub. Macmillan New York, NY 1994. (page 39-55)

Jorgensen, Paul A. William Shakespeare: The Tragedies. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1985.

Neely, Carol. "Women and Men in Othello" Critical Essays on Shakespeare?s Othello. Ed. Anthony G. Barthelemy Pub. Macmillan New York, NY 1994. (page 68-90)

Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. No line nos.

Snyder, Susan. "Beyond the Comedy: Othello" Modern Critical Interpretations, Othello Ed. Harold Bloom, Pub. Chelsea House New Haven CT 1987. (page 23-37)
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