A Central Theme or Motif in the Play Othello, Is Jealousy

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Jealousy is the central theme in the play “Othello” by William Shakespeare. It is the most famous literary work that focuses on the dangers of jealousy. The play is a study of how jealousy can ruin lives – even with only the most circumstantial evidence of guilt. The play opens in Venice and revolves mainly around a man called Othello. It’s his actions and thoughts which makes the play interesting and suspenseful. Themes such as love, jealousy, betrayal, honesty and vengeance are all important and widely portrayed throughout the play. However, as we venture into the play and the character Othello, we will realise that jealousy is ultimately the most important theme of them all. It is the fundamental element that fuels the characters and evidently crafted the play into how it is today.

From the beginning of the play, we clearly see the jealousy in Iago. This is seen with his dejection at being passed over for promotion to be Othello's lieutenant. Cassio, the "bean counter", got the job instead of Iago the experienced soldier. He just has to accept his loss. But, of course, he does not, and that becomes the driving force of the play. His strategy of dealing with loss is to strike back with vengeance and deception against Othello, who has humiliated him by passing over him for promotion. He stays close to Othello, acting as his best friend when he is actually deceiving Othello, “I am not what I am”. He is out to get back at Othello and he does this by creating an evil plan against him. Othello is in love with Desdemona and secretly marries her. He loves her and is willing to do anything for her. However, he is blinded by this love and allows jealousy to ruin their relationship. Jealousy is so destructive and has rendered Othello to become so vulnerable to the evil schemes by Iago. Iago uses Desdemona in his plan, and succeeds greatly.

Iago’s plan begins as he openly executes his plan of destruction, which incorporates jealousy as the key factor. He intends to...
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