Shakespeare’s play, Othello is regarded as one of the saddening literary pieces that bring out the fall of a person. In the play, he presents to us a scenario where a respectable man murders his wife and is later filled with anger and prejudice. Though Shakespeare does use few creative techniques, the mechanisms employed in bringing out the themes are so direct and have a sudden impact to the audience.
In the play, Shakespeare presents to us how the lead actor, Othello rapidly tumbles down becoming an individual filled with anger and jealous. The lead actors, Othello and Iago Shakespeare describe show intense jealousy can lead to relationship failure, marriage break up, fall out of friends and to a greater extend their own sudden downfall.
The effects of jealous are first presented in the marriage scenarios of Othello and his wife Desdemona who are affected by the nature of Othello who is extremely jealous. Othello states that Iago who he thought to be his faithful and honest friend poisoned him with words. The words Othello states as poisonous to him are;
“Look to your wife, observe her well with Cassio/wear your eyes thus, not jealousy nor secure/ I would not have your free and noble nature, / out of self bounty, be abused.” (3.3.207-255)
Iago advised Othello to observe the relations of her wife with lieutenant Cassio. As per the advice, Othello regarded it vital since Iago sounded more honest. Through the words, Othello was filled with doubt and a sense of infidelity on the side of his wife. Further deceit comes on the subject of the handkerchief as the evidence of the alleged misbehavior of his wife.
Iago: She may be honest yet. Tell me but this/ have you not sometimes see a handkerchief/ spotted with strawberries in your wife’s hand
Othello: I gave her such a one. ‘Twas my first gift. /
Iago: I know not that; but such a handkerchief I am sure it was your wife’s- did I today / See Cassio wipe his beard with…” (3.3.445-455).
Through this Othello believed that his wife was promiscuous by giving Cassio the handkerchief he had given her to signify his love for her. It is however ironical for the feelings of affectionate and love can be substituted for a material thing such as a handkerchief. With the belief in the lies, he takes matters into his own hand and kills both his wife and Cassio. This act is described as an act of anger and vulnerability on the side of Othello.
According to Derek, Othello is overpowered by rage and an imagination of his wife with another man makes him even more tempered. Extreme anger led to the downfall of Othello and Iago’s jealous led to the end of his marriage life. Friendship also precipitates high level of anger among individuals. Due to jealousy, Iago had against Cassio in relation to promotion, he decided to infuriate Othello to the extend of conducting murder. McCloskey (2014) refutes that though Iago is known to be a honest Venetian soldier, he is filled with jealous to the extend of strategizing on how he would do away with his colleague. His anger is better expressed when he tells Othello had been chosen as lieutenant and yet he was a foreigner.
Iago is a true depiction of what jealous can do to an individual. Despite having, what is required in life, his envy for all that was around resulted to total lack of moral values and the sense to belong somewhere. He manipulates the people around him by use of dubious action to satisfy his pride. He strike a revenge against his own friend, Othello for sleeping with his wife, “And nothing can or shall content my soul / Till I am evened with him, wife for wife, / Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor / At least into a jealousy so strong that a judgment cannot cure…m k” (2.2.262-288)
Roderigo is also a victim of the dubious tactics, Iago engaged in to satisfy his pride. After a failed attempt of killing the lieutenant, Iago is killed so as to cover up his wicked ways of handling situation. The jealousy he built as a result of a lie from Iago that Cassio was his rival for Desdemona makes him agree to go and kill Cassio.
Cohen, D. (2003) “Patriarchy and Jealousy in Othello and the Winter’s Tale.” Shakespearean criticism. Ed. Michael L. LaBlanc. 72. Detroit: Gale, 98
McCloskey, J. C (2014). The Motivation of Iago. National Council of Teachers of English. 3(1), p. 25-30
Shakespeare, W. (2014). The tragedy of Othello, the moor of Venice. Minneapolis: First Avenue Editions.