Jealousy

Within the first Act of the play, Iago seems to be jealous of Cassio. He states, “One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, A fellow almost damned in a fair wife, that never set a squadron in the field” (I.i.21-23). Iago is jealous that Cassio was given the job as lieutenant over him by Othello, and feels that he is much more qualified. This jealousy is the cause of a hatred that burns inside Iago towards Othello. Moving further into Act one, Iago’s jealousy of Othello continues to grow, and he is determined to ruin his reputation. Iago states, “I hate the Moor, and it is thought abroad, that ‘twixt my sheets” (I.iii.321-322). Consciously aware that it is just a rumor, Iago shows no bounds and spreads rumors that Othello is sleeping with his wife Emilia. He knows that this information has the potential to destroy Othello’s reputation, but does not show any signs of a logical process, which would be to verify stories that are spread. Iago does not do this, and seems determined to undermine Othello. The jealousy he possesses is a very powerful emotion, as it causes Iago to act in an illogical manner. These odd stretches of behavior lead all the way up to the death of Othello. Before Othello kills himself, he states, “Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak of one that loved not wisely, but too well; Of one not easily jealous” (V.ii.402-404). Othello is ashamed of the way he was manipulated to act, and wants his legacy to be one in which he is spoken about as he was before he fell into the tricks played against him. This same scenario can be related to many people in the world today. Jealousy causes some people to do whatever they can to bring the person they are jealous of down. As illustrated within this play, Iago’s jealousy of Othello does not have many boundaries, as he is willing to manipulate others for his own goals. Shakespeare was trying to spread the message that jealousy is never a good thing, and only leads to tragedy.

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