To What Extent Do You Believe Jealousy to Be the Tragic Downfall in the Play?

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Jealousy is regarded by the majority of people as the most logical and straightforward reason behind the tragic downfall of one of the play’s most prominent characters; Othello. However it has also been said that the more subtle emotions such as racial mistrust and lack of self confidence contribute the most to Othello’s tragic downfall. In my opinion, Othello has a powerful inner battle between his love for Desdemona and the “green-eyed monster which doth mock” (Act 3 Scene 3), with jealousy prevailing, thus causing his tragic downfall.

Emilia is of the opinion that men are “jealous for they’re jealous: it is a monster” (Act 3 Scene 4) meaning that she believes jealousy to be a natural occurrence in man. Shakespeare places this opinion into the play to demonstrate his belief that jealousy cannot be controlled. No matter how strong of a person someone is, they are still susceptible to being jealous. Emilia doesn’t think that jealousy is something that builds up; instead it is inevitable that jealousy will rear its head in any person; however in this instance the main character affected is Othello. Shakespeare portrays her in this manner to show the predestined outcome of Othello’s underlying opinions of himself; it was always the intention that Othello would be led by his jealousy and destroyed by his jealousy; it is the core of all problems. This is a statement which clearly states that everyone is in danger of being hurt by jealousy; this in turn is later shown to be the key theme of the play. The character in the play most frequently associated with jealousy is Iago and his jealousy of Cassio, who was promoted instead of him. The words “That never set a squadron in the field/But he, sir, had th' election…” (Act 1 Scene 1) show that Iago felt strongly against Cassio and was threatened by the fact that Cassio, being promoted above himself. Iago thought himself to be superior to Cassio therefore showing him upset is a clear sign of intent of Shakespeare with...
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