How Does Shakespeare Use Language and Dramatic Devices to Present the Theme of Jealousy in Othello?

Topics: Othello, Iago, William Shakespeare Pages: 4 (1485 words) Published: November 22, 2010
How does Shakespeare use language and dramatic devices to present the theme of jealousy in Othello? -----
Othello weaves a tragic tale of love, jealousy and murder. Set in Venice and progressing to Cyprus, Shakespeare’s Othello follows the cursed path of its namesake, a black soldier whose love for his wife ultimately results in her death. Woven into the socially and emotionally delicate plot is a multitude of key themes, including race (Othello’s colour), love, and jealousy. A key figure, if not the most important in the play, is that of the malcontent Iago, who sows the seeds of jealousy in Othello’s mind, and presents him with ‘proof’ to back up his suspicions. Iago acts as a catalyst to Desdemona’s murder and it is his intricate scheme (fuelled by his own jealousy at Cassio’s promotion) that ultimately causes Othello’s demise. Shakespeare hints at jealousy from the very first act of the play, with Iago confessing his jealousy at Michael Cassio’s recent promotion to lieutenant. He asserts his opinion that Cassio is of less experience than him, with phrases such as “never set a squadron in the field” and “mere prattle without practise”. The latter phrase contains violent alliteration with the ‘p’ sound, giving the audience an insight into Iago’s frustration anger and jealousy at the fact that he was not promoted; one can almost imagine him spitting the words out in rage. These quotes may also give the reader an insight into Iago’s past, showing on the other hand that he had experience ‘in the field’ of battle, and that he had, judging by his evident disappointment at lack of promotion, served for quite a long time at Othello’s side. This is also shown when he states “his [Othello’s] eyes had seen the proof at Rhodes”. Iago’s motivations are made clear during his soliloquy at the end of act three scene three, and he shows his true colours regarding Roderigo, calling him a “snipe” and saying that he would only spend time with him ‘for sport and profit’. This...
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