Jealousy In Othello
Jealousy brings out the worst in people and that is particularly true with leaders, given their far-reaching authority and influence. When jealousy arises, leaders lose focus, respect, and their leadership abilities suffer as do their organization skills. These negative aspects of jealousy are present in Shakespeare’s tragic hero Othello, and was the cause of his ultimate downfall. In William Shakespeare’s Othello, jealousy is a central theme and tragic flaw possessed by the main characters Iago, Othello, and Roderigo. This intrinsic characteristic is the basis for conflict and tragedy throughout the course of the play and is the cause of the deaths of innocent individuals.
Jealousy is a theme introduced at the beginning of Othello by Roderigo, a wealthy man infatuated with Desdemona. Roderigo’s infatuation first manifests itself when he hires Iago to assist him in obtaining a possible courtship with Desdemona. As Iago informs Roderigo of Desdemona and Othello’s wedlock, he sparks a flicker of jealousy in Roderigo. Roderigo’s jealousy drives him to notify Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, about the marriage by ridiculing Othello for his race: “As partly I find it is – that your fair daughter / At this odd-een and dull watch o’th night / Transported with no worse nor better guard / But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier / To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor -- / If this be known to you and your allowance / We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs.” (1.1.123-129). Roderigo uses his knowledge of Brabantio’s racism as an attempt to obliterate Desdemona and Othello’s relationship by emphasizing the fact that Othello is a Moor and Desdemona is fair-skinned. Roderigo is fully aware of the rage and di...
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...ed in the extreme” (5.2.402-406) Othello realizes how much his jealousy was able to consume him, and agrees he is no longer suitable as the general of the Venice army. Once Othello is aware of the fact that Desdemona was in fact pure and did not have an affair with Cassio, he is overwhelmed with grief. Othello states that he can no longer live without his true love Desdemona, as life would not be the same without her. Jealousy resulted in the downfall of Shakespeare’s tragic hero Othello, as the actions that manifested from his jealous behaviour caused him to lose the single most important person in his life, Desdemona. Jealousy controlled the behaviour and thoughts of characters Roderigo, Iago, and Othello, causing them to act irrationally. Jealousy consumed the virtues and reputation Othello had worked hard to develop and led to his personal and professional ruin.
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