loWhen an individual experiences feelings of jealousy towards their partner in a relationship, it often results in feelings of anger and distrust, which cause them to sabotage the partnership and possibly end it. Shakespeare’s protagonist, Othello, becomes deceived and unable to decide in whom to place his trust. The noble Moor chooses wrongfully and places himself under the loyalty of Iago, allowing him to corrupt and transform him, destroying his sanity and relationships with others. Consequently, the Moor’s trustworthiness and envy become his weaknesses and result in his downfall.
In the play “Othello”, by William Shakespeare, the protagonist’s flaws contribute to his downfall from a noble soldier to an irrational man, suggesting that when a an individual experiences jealousy in a relationship, it becomes the corruption that destroys a person’s conscience and ultimately the relationship itself. Othello is initially portrayed as an honest natured individual of royal status and reasonable character. his love for Desdemona, his wife, acquires him the essence of a respectable, loving husband, implying his success as a firm, yet affectionate husband.
After Cassio is relieved of his duties by Othello, Desdemona promises to put an effort into convincing her husband to take him back as his lieutenant. After multiple rejections and rebounds, the Moor finally gives in: “I will deny thee nothing. / Whereon I do beseech thee grant me this, / To leave me but a little to myself” (Oth. 3. 3. 83-85). Although the Moor was very upset with Cassio, Desdemona’s good-natured pleas were enough to change his mind into reconsidering Cassio’s position.
In saying that he would “deny [her] nothing” demonstrates his love for her and suggests that there is a special place in his heart for his sweet wife that he cannot help but succumb to at times. Furthermore, Othello’s strong, sophisticated character is demonstrated through his logic and patience, emphasizing his greatness as a warrior. Upon being accused false doings and being challenged to a duel with his father-in-law, Brabantio, the Moor calmly responds, “Hold your hands, / Both you of my inclining and the rest. / Where it my cue to fight, i should have known it / Without a prompter” (Oth. . 2. 82-85). Othello’s control over the situation makes it evident that he is a reasonable and gentle man, contrasting his self-control with Brabantio’s lack of restraint. Othello’s composed reaction makes him seem more rational than his racist father-in-law by thinking his actions through before reacting on impulse. Further analyzing the goodness of Othello, Anthony Hecht comments, “While everywhere it is noted that he is given to self-dramatization, Iago, who has no affection for him, admits that he is of a free and open nature. Which is to say, he is both guileless and guileful.
There is no question of his courage, nor of his weakness” (Hecht 19). Moreover, the trusting nature of the Moor is reflected in his relationship with others, suggesting his easy-going atmosphere. Needing his wife to be taken care of safely, he tells the Duke, “So please your grace, my ancient; / A man he is of honesty and trust. / To his conveyance i assign my wife, / With what else needful your good grace shall think / To be sent after me” (Oth. 1. 3. 283-287). Othello’s confidence in his relationship with his ancient, Iago, demonstrates his trusting personality.
Once the Moor has belief that a man is trustworthy, he will give them his whole heart, making it evident of his value in loyalty. Yet, Othello’s respectable qualities become the cause of his corruption, which bring upon jealousy, deception, and delusions, ultimately leading him closer to his tragic death. Although the Moor loves Desdemona greatly, his strong bond with her has taken away the control he held for himself. Plotting against him, Iago muses to himself to himself, “His soul is so enfetter’d to her love / That she may make, unmake, do what she list, / Even as her appetite shall play the god / With his weak function” (Oth. . 3. 316-319). Saying that Othello is “enfetter’d to her love”, Iago is suggesting that his love for Desdemona is the Moor’s weakness, being “chained” to her in a way where she “shall play the god” and take away his mastery since he does not believe the Moor can think for himself. By willingly being with Desdemona, Othello puts himself in a position of vulnerability and cannot blame anyone else for this but himself. Likewise, without seeming so at first, Othello’s whole hearted trust in Iago becomes a mistake that he is not aware of initially.
As Iago utilizes subtle manipulation on the Moor, he successfully plants the seed of doubt in his mind, suggesting Desdemona’s disloyalty to him. Othello says to him: I think thou dost; And, for i know thou’rt full of love and honesty And weigh’st thy words before thou givest them breath Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more; For such things in a false disloyal knave Are tricks of custom; but in a man that’s just They are close dilations, working from the heart That passion cannot rule. (Oth. 3. 3. 117-124)
The dramatic and verbal irony when Othello describes Iago’s “love and honesty” demonstrates his unwise and gullible nature, making his full trust in him an error. The way Iago’s pauses fright [him] the more” concludes that the Moor has been tricked without realizing it and reflects his foolishness despite his strong, controlled character. As critic William Hazlitt suggests, “Ironically it is Othello’s judgment that allows Iago to manipulate him; Othello is a trusting man who believes that people are what they seem, thus believing in Iago because he appears to be honest and loyal” (Hazlitt 29).
Subsequently, logic, patience, and self-restraint has become lost in the Moor once his emotions have been used against him and his jealousy is played on. After Iago explains a dream he heard Cassio had about making love to Desdemona to Othello, the Moor says, “But this denoted a foregone conclusion: ‘Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream” (Oth. 3. 3. 428-429). Then almost immediately after he concludes that “[he] will tear her all to pieces” (Oth. 3. 3. 432). Othello at this point in the play has transformed from the loving husband he once was, to a jealous individual that must act on his envy as soon as the chance arises.
Ignoring the absence of solid proof his wife’s disloyalty, he has let Iago torture his conscience with lies and consequently confusing and agitating his sanity. Consequently, Othello’s corruption leads to chaos as he realizes too late the destruction his actions have caused that eventually bring him to his tragic death. His hamartia has come into play, which brings upon anarchy and reflects Othello’s loss of control and reason. Convinced without proof that Desdemona has been cheating on him, he proclaims to Iago, “Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her! / Come, go with me apart. I will withdraw / To urnish me with some swift means of death / For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant” (Oth. 3. 3. 475-478). The Moor’s marriage is officially destroyed and his conclusion to make Iago, the man responsible for causing him grief, his new lieutenant guarantees his doom. His quick decision to kill Desdemona for her unfaithfulness without real evidence demonstrates the destruction his jealousy has caused to their relationship. Inevitably, Othello’s corruption becomes an unstoppable force, which ends in the deaths of many innocent lives. After killing his wide and confessing so to Emilia, Iago’s wife, Othello explains: “Cassio did top her.
Ask thy husband else. / O, I were damn’d beneath all depth in hell / But that I did proceed upon just grounds / To this extremity. Thy husband knew it all” (Oth. 5. 2. 136-139). Dramatic irony emphasizes how confused the Moor really is about what is delusion and what is reality because he uses Iago’s word as proof, which is false, as well as going as far as to say “I did proceed upon just grounds to this extremity. ” Othello did not actually have a just reason for committing his murderous act as Iago never gave him proof, reflecting the way in which jealousy corrupts the mind and an individual’s entire reasoning.
This all becomes evident once chaos was unleashed upon the Moor, which consequently costs him his nobility, marriage and life. The Moor realizes his mistakes too late, but comes to understand that he is reasonably the one to blame for all the devastation he has caused. Upon becoming aware of Iago’s true intentions and Desdemona’s faithfulness, Othello speaks some of his last words: When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely, but too well; Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought,
Perplex’d in the extreme; of one whose hand, Like the base Judean, thew a pearl away Richer than all his tribe; (Oth. 5. 2. 341-349) Thus, Othello finally realizes his emotions were manipulated to do the deeds of an evil man he once trusted. A part of his old noble character us shown when he asks the soldiers to “speak of [him] as [he is]. Nothing extenuate, / Nor set down aught in malice. ” His humbleness is paired with bitterness because of the needless death of his wife brought upon by his own envious actions, demonstrating his own contribution to his tragic death.
Also, as Shawn Smith believes,”If Othello earlier in the scene has been a minister of justice deliberating Desdemona’s fate, he is now turning judicial attention to himself, and in doing so he recognizes his own mis-judgments. It is here we see Othello returning to his exotic narratives we associate with his language in the earliest scenes of the play. And in his return to these exotic narratives, Othello offers his retreat from Venetian life – and, indeed, life altogether” (Smith 47). He simply cannot deny the errors in his accusations and the killing of his wife, foolishly “[throwing] a pearl away. ”
By experiencing the delusions of envy, Othello himself becomes the evil force behind the deception and deaths of innocent people, including his own. He is initially loved and respected by many for his lpyalty, royal status, and honourable marriage. Nonetheless, the qualities he is honoured for become his imperfections, resulting in deception, jealousy, and his fall from nobility. Consequently, chaos ensues and destroys a once loving marriage and sane man. Thus, jealousy transforms an individual to harm those they love most, a dangerous and monstrous emotion that requires reason and logic to restrain it from destroying relationships.