Envy in Shakespeare's Othello

Topics: Othello, Iago, Emotions Pages: 1 (339 words) Published: November 27, 2013
Othello Motif Paragraphs

1) Envy

In his play , Shakespeare implies that envy, one of the main motif exist throughout the play, is the root of all demonic actions. At the very beginning of the play, envy displays himself when, the antagonist, Iago expresses his dissatisfaction to Roderigo regarding Cassio “steals” his promotion. He believes “preferment goes by letter and affection, and not by old graduation.”(Act I, Sci. I, 37-38) Through this demonstration of envy, Iago tells the audience that he is more capable of being the lieutenant instead of someone who “never [sets] a squadron in the field, nor the division of a battle.”(Act I Sci. I 22-24) Furthermore, Iago’s jealousy on Cassio and desire of power grows rapidly and lead him into a tremendous envy and hatred of Othello. Iago once again proclaims his dissatisfaction regarding serving Othello to Roderigo and explains, ”[he] follows [Othello] to serve [his] turn upon him… nor all masters cannot be truly followed. (Act I Sci. I 44-46).” Later in the play, he creates fiddles through manipulation, betrayal and fob to trap both Othello and Cassio, and ultimately cause their destruction. Through this passage, he justifies his treachery and shows no regrets on resenting and harming Othello through his ulterior cant and despicable actions. Therefore, it is fair to judge Iago as a dangerous rebel figure that intentionally harms both Cassio and Othello due to his envy of their glory and power. Finally, Iago thinks many servants are “[their] master’s ass. (Act I Sci. I, 49)” Here he uses a simile comparing servants to donkeys to emphasize the mistreatment of those without power. Although he does not necessarily have compassion toward the weak ones, the illustration of his resentment caused by envy and hatred on Othello is undeniably obvious. In conclusion, all of Iago’s plans originate from his envy from Othello, whether it is the unfair promotion or the mouth-watering position, treatment and honor. All...
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