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
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Othello is a simple man. He has never dealt with a situation like this before. As a result, he had very extreme reactions because of his jealousy. However, Othello’s jealousy has not developed and still doubts their affair. Therefore no extreme actions have been committed yet. The quote “Away at once with love or jealousy!” by Othello allows us to understand that he still has faith in Desdemona and does not believe she is cheating on him. However, Iago continues to feed Othello with rumors of the affair. His persistency and Othello’s vulnerability has caused a rapid development of jealousy in him. By the quote “I like not that”, we can see that it is the turning point for Othello – he begins to lean towards Iago’s interpretation of the truth. In doing so, Othello falls into the trap and tells Iago that he wants Cassio and Desdemona dead. His love for Desdemona is so strong and yet jealousy overpowers him.
Iago realises that although he does not have proof of the affair, he is still able to cause harm “As proofs of holy writ: this may do something”. From this we realise how obstinate Othello is. Jealousy has made him lose his ability to reason or think logically. In fact, Iago has been so successful with his plan that he was able to put Othello into a state of madness. He even loses control of his body and Iago explains it as epileptic seizures. At the end of the play, after Othello smothers Desdemona to death, it is brought to his attention that he was