OTHELLO THEMES – Jealousy

“I am worth no worse a place” (ACT 1, SCENE 1) – Iago Iago says this to Roderigo, providing some justification for his jealousy of Cassio. However, Shakespeare’s audience would have been familiar with the last of the Ten Commandmenets which prohibited the discontent which springs from the fierce desire for another’s good fortune. This shows Iago’s envy as sinful right from the first scene.
“I do suspect the lusty Moor hath leap’d into my seat” (ACT 2, SCENE 1) – Iago The play provides no foundation for these convictions but Iago uses his jealousy of Othello as a reasoning behind his revenge. Iago knows too well the power of suggestion and a murky imagination, and is determined to put Othello through the same torment.
“O beware, jealousy. It is the green-eye monster” (ACT 3, SCENE 3) – Iago Iago is warning Othello to avoid jealousy, despite the fact he has been continuously feeding ideas to Othello which would make him jealous. His words have exactly the opposite effect and instead make Othello madly jealous, just as Iago intended.
“Observe her well with Cassio” (ACT 3, SCENE 3) – Iago Iago proceeds to more definite warnings and cleverly adds another doubt, further feeding into Othello’s ‘green eyed monster’.
“Damn her, lewd minx! O damn her!” (ACT 3, SCENE 3) – Othello It is clear from Othello’s outburst that he has now lost all self-control due to the jealousy he feels on behalf of Desdemona. The military hero has become a slave to the demeaning tyranny of jealousy. This has all happened in the space of one scene, highlighting the effectiveness of Iago’s suggestiveness.
“They are not ever jealous for the cause, but jealous for they are jealous: ’tis a monster, Born on itself” (ACT 3, SCENE 4) – Emilia Emilia sums up the tyranny of a jealousy that cannot listen to reasons. She re-emphasises Iago description of jealousy as a green eyed monster.
“One that loved not wisely, but too well: … one not easily jealous, but being wrought” (ACT 5, SCENE 2) – Othello The tragedy works to its inevitable conclusion, until Othello finally achieves a moment of clarity and realisation of what has happened.

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