Jealousy in Othello
One of William Shakespeare’s most complex, enduring, and fascinating plays remains The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice. Written in 1565, Othello tells the tragic story of Othello, a general in the Venetian army, and his love for the beautiful Desdemona. One of the major themes, among many, in Othello is that of jealousy.
The central driving plot of the play is the jealousy that Iago displays towards Othello. Declaring his undying hatred for the Moor, Iago is distressed that Othello promoted Michael Cassio over him for a lieutenancy. Iago schemes to take Cassio’s place by insinuating with Othello that Desdemona has been unfaithful with Cassio.
It is through this level of jealousy that Iago plants the seeds of doubt in Othello’s mind, twisting innocent words and actions. Therefore, Othello becomes fixated upon the idea that his wife is unfaithful. He is jealous because he is significantly older and an outsider. Michael Cassio is everything that Othello wished he could be, and he comes to believe that Desdemona would fall in love with Cassio.
Twisted by Iago, jealousy drives Othello past the point of reason. Even after confronting Desdemona, Othello does not believe her, and strangles her to death. Recovering his senses, Othello realizes to what extent jealousy has driven him, and takes his own life. Iago’s duplicity is revealed, and his taken away for just punishment.