Evaluate the Dramatic Treatment of Jealousy and Revenge in Othello

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Shakespeare explores the universal concepts of jealousy and revenge, and their implications on individuals, through his Venetian play; Othello. He enables the audience to witness the demise of the respected protagonist as a result of his fatal flaws which are relatable to his audience. Noble Othello’s jealousy and passion is heightened by Iago; an external force who takes advantage of Othello’s naivety and trust in him. Iago’s motives for revenge are manifested in his soliloquy, where he reveals his hatred for the black outsider, as well as his jealousy of Cassio. Whilst Iago manipulates Othello’s rationality by misrepresenting Desdemona’s relationship with Cassio, one can justify that it was Othello’s response to what was presented to him which ultimately led to such calamitous destruction; foreshadowed throughout the play. It is evident, that jealousy can be dealt with in many ways; inevitably defining one’s true nature. For Othello, his intense passion and rage consumed his composed and coherent exterior, confirming the tragedy of a good man who fell as a result of jealousy and revenge. The five act structure enables the audience to identify the development of this catastrophe from Othello’s arrival at Cyprus to his ultimate fall from grace.

Jealousy; a collective emotion is dealt with in various ways and can often influence individual’s state of mind and amplify one’s undesirable qualities. The audience is assured of how powerful jealousy is through a simile in Iago’s soliloquy ‘Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards’. (act 2, scene 1). Thus, by comparing the fatality of a poisonous substance with jealousy, Shakespeare foreshadows the control Othello’s flaw will have on his temperament. Othello’s calm and measured responses in the beginning of the play, gives the audience an initial impression that he is a dignified and proud African soldier; illustrated through the repetition of ‘valiant Othello’ by the Duke. However, it only takes a seed of...
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