Othello Critical

Travis Gordon ELA 30-1 October 3rd, 2012 Jealousy, the universal feeling we’ve all experienced at one time or another. Whether it be the newest piece of technology that someone has that you don’t and wish you did, or that kid on the playground that had those new light up shoes that were all the rage. Jealousy is not something that can be avoided, only controlled. It sneaks up on you, like a tree root sneaks up on concrete before it breaks to the surface.
In William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello, jealousy is a key component used by many characters as a weapon that is twisted and manipulated to serve their own ends. Iago, a deceitful and manipulative snake or the ironic pseudonym “Honest Iago” uses jealousy as a way of getting what he wants without realizing nor caring about the backlash of repercussions his actions have on the people around him. ‘O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock The meat it feeds on.
That cuckold lives in bliss Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger; But O, what damned minutes tells he o’er Who dotes, yet doubts–suspects, yet strongly loves! “(III,iii,) He refers to jealousy as a “green-eyed monster”, because it is a scary thing to behold when it gets out of hand. Once it is unleashed, it is not easily contained. Once he contaminates Othello’s mind with the thoughts of Desdemona being unfaithful to him, and sneaking around behind his back with his lieutenant Cassio, it spreads like a wildfire inside Othello’s head.

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He begins to doubt himself. Although he knows in his heart Desdemona to be true to him, he can’t help but think about the false accusations Iago has impregnated his mind with. Another character Iago manages to control with the raw power of jealousy is Roderigo. Iago manages to convince Roderigo that if he puts “money in thy purse”, Iago will make it so Roderigo can be together with Desdemona. This is a clear example of how easy it is to control a person once you give them a false hope of something that could never be. What should I do? I confess it is my shame to be so fond; but it is not in my virtue to amend it. ” (I,iii,317-318) Roderigo admits to Iago that he is overcome with jealousy for Desdemona, but it isn’t within his character to change the way he feels towards her. Iago sees an opportunity to make a profit from Roderigo’s misfortunes and sets him on a mad quest to be with the woman he loves. The idea’s Iago plants into Roderigo, once they are rooted deep inside him, start to teem like weeds in an unkempt garden.
It is a dream that in the end costs Rodrigo more than just his wealth. He pays the iron price, with his life. Jealousy, when set upon a person who has already harboured inside them, it spreads. Once it spreads, it is no easy task to eliminate or control. We see this in Othello, as it costs many of the characters their lives, because of a feeling false hope and manipulation, in the hope that what they wanted would be theirs.

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