The Orthodox interpretation of Shakespeare's Othello is built on two assumptions; that Othello is not a jealous man and that Iago has no motives. Although there are many examples of these opinions within the play, I believe there is much more evidence which contradict these two statements, which allow me to conclude that Othello is in fact a jealous man and that Iago does have motives. As the play progresses the audience witness the development and increasing complexity of the characters. This change is particularly evident in Othello as he changes from the proud, eloquent, decicive leader in Act 1 to the petty, irrational, jealous, pathologically suspicious and emotionally unstable man at the end of the play.
Initially Othello himself believes that he is not jealous and constantly assures Iago that he loves the 'gentle Desdemona' dearly and is confident of my wife's virtue.
I'll see before I doubt, when I doubt, prove;
And on the proof, there is no more but this:
Away at once with love or jealousy
Othello remains convinced that he is not a naturally jealous man throughout the pay, even though both his words and actions contradict this. An example of this is when he confronts Desdemona about the handkerchief. Every other character in the play becomes a victim of Othello's raging jealousy, Cassio because he is everything that Othello is not, Othello himself dies tragically as a consequence of his downfall but no one more so than the woman that he loves -- Desdemona. It is for these reasons that I believe that Othello is jealous, though only as a result of Iago manipulating and exploiting his capacity to be jealous.
In spite of Othello's 'free and open nature' which even Iago admits to, Othello still sees himself as lacking in age, colour and social graces when compared to Cassio.
Haply for I am black
And have not those soft parts of conversation
That chamberers have, or for I am declined
Into the vale of years.
These insecurities which Othello identifies makes him more susceptible to suspicion and jealousy and acting out Iago's well-crafted plan of revenge. Once Iago has planted the seed in Iago's mind that Desdmona is quite capable of deception, having already deceived her father, Othello begins to look for reasons for her infidelity, finding his age, race, colour and lack of social graces as culprits. Theme of Jealousy in Othello
Throughout Shakespeare’s Othello, the major theme of jealousy is apparent. The tragedy Othello focuses on the doom of Othello and the other major characters as a result of jealousy. In Shakespeare’s Othello, jealousy is portrayed through the major characters of Iago and Othello. It utterly corrupts their lives because it causes Iago to show his true self, which in turn triggers Othello to undergo an absolute conversion that destroys the lives of their friends.
Othello represents how jealousy, particularly sexual jealousy, is one of the most corrupting and destructive of emotions. It is jealousy that prompts Iago to plot Othello's downfall; jealousy, too, is the tool that Iago uses to arouse Othello's passions. Roderigo and Bianca demonstrate jealousy at various times in the play, and Emilia demonstrates that she too knows the emotion well. Only Desdemona and Cassio, the true innocents of the story, seem beyond its clutches. Shakespeare used the theme in other plays, but nowhere else is it portrayed as quite the "green- eyed" monster it is in this play. Since it is an emotion that everyone shares, we watch its destructive influence on the characters with sympathy and horror.
How jealousy works in Othello
Shakespeare’s Othello is very close to the Aristotle’s conception of tragedy,specially in respect ofthe portrayal of the protagonist Othello. Like a classical tragic Othello in the tragedy Othello falls from his position due to his his ’tragic flaw’...