The incompatibility of military heroism and love; the danger of isolation- Othello is the perfect soldier, but his directness means he is unable to understand the subtleties of political life and affairs of the heart. Jealousy
Jealousy 1: The play opens with a discussion of jealousy. Iago is upset because Othello selected Michael Cassio as his lieutenant. He is jealous of Cassio's position both in the military and with Othello's service. This initial jealousy is the catalyst for the play's sequential plot of mixed jealousy and destruction. Jealousy 2: Brabantio is partially jealous of the Moor for stealing his daughter's love. He no longer may be the most important man in Desdemona's life. Jealousy 3: The lovesick Roderigo has trouble with his hidden feelings for Desdemona and is jealous watching the two in love.. Jealousy 4: Iago openly divulges his plan of destruction, which incorporates jealousy as the key factor. He intends to create a strong sense of jealousy in Othello by setting up the mirage of an affair between Desdemona and Cassio. Jealousy 5: Iago plants seeds of jealousy in Othello and then speaks of the 'green-eyed monster' as a force to be feared. Jealousy is personified as a monster. Jealousy 6: As the play concludes, all causes of jealousy are proved false. Desdemona was never unfaithful, but Othello realizes the truth too late. Jealousy is the source of pain and death for these tragic characters; the green-eyed monster has succeeded in killing them.
Revenge 1: Iago's plot against Othello is partially motivated by revenge. He feels wronged because he was not made lieutenant. He is bitter and upset and wants to hurt Othello and destroy his world. Revenge 2: Brabantio craves revenge for the loss of his daughter. He takes revenge by bringing Othello before the Duke to request his imprisonment. Revenge 3: Iago develops his elaborate plot of revenge. He will implant a false sense of jealousy in Othello, thereupon destroying Othello's relationship with Desdemona. Revenge 4: Again, Iago explains his plot. He is describing his plan of action as a web in which he will catch a fly. The intricate deception all comes down to revenge. Revenge 5: Emilia and Desdemona touch upon the theme of revenge lightly in this eloquent discussion. They discuss the necessary actions to take when husbands and wives are unfaithful...perhaps revenge is the appropriate course of action. Revenge 6: Othello ponders his decision to kill Desdemona, partially motivated by revenge. He believes himself to be cuckolded by Desdemona and must defend his honour. At the same time, he feels that he must defend mankind and all other men from a woman who would betray her husband so. He ultimately decides that he must end her life. In Othello, Shakespeare explores factors that play an important role in the formations of one's identity – race, gender, social status, family relationships, military service, etc. Othello is also concerned with how an individual's sense of identity (which can break down and be manipulated by others) shapes his or her actions. Questions About Identity
Does Othello's identity transform over the course of the play? What about Desdemona's? 2.
How does Othello and Desdemona's relationship impact each of the characters' identities? 3.
Why does Cassio lament that he's lost his "reputation"?
Do we ever get a chance to see the real Iago? Why or why not? 5.
The contrast between what is reality and the appearance of something is also used by Shakespeare. There are many references to it, with Iago saying that 'Men should be what they seem' (and Iago is clearly not what he seems), to Othello asking for 'ocular proof' or proof that he can see. Of course, what Othello actually sees isn't what he thinks it is. So when he sees and hears Cassio talking about Desdemona, Cassio is actually talking about another woman. 6.
Othello also believes the story about Cassio wiping his beard on the...
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