Jealousy in Shakespeare's Othello

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Jealousy in Othello

The tragedy of Othello is the story of jealousy. It is Othello's public insecurity that makes him jealous of Cassio and allows him to believe that Cassio has slept with Desdemona. Also, it is Iago's jealousy of Othello that drives him to destroy both Othello and Desdemona. What is fascinating about Shakespeare's Othello is the way in which jealousy between the major characters is sexualized. Perhaps what makes Othello so disturbing is how quickly this sexualized jealousy turns into hate. For Othello and Iago love becomes hate, and hate becomes love and the distinction between these two feelings is constantly being blurred.

The character of Othello is pulled toward what he terms Cassio's courtly and aristocratic beauty which Iago describes by saying, "he hath a daily beauty in his life that makes me ugly." Othello in the play feels a sexualized jealousy toward Cassio this manifests itself in Othello appointing Cassio second in command despite the fact that he is a inexperienced and unproven gentleman far removed from the grit of battle. Even after Othell...
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