Essay Example. the Jealousy of Othello by William Shakespeare

Published: 2023-01-04
Essay Example. the Jealousy of Othello by William Shakespeare
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Relationship Shakespeare Othello World literature Dramatic literature
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1471 words
13 min read

Shakespeare as a master of art was able to reveal the theme of jealousy uniquely. Traditionally, jealousy emerges as a major theme that runs independently. However, Shakespeare's "Othello" is embedded with descriptions and a quick background to what he intends to convey. He described love as pure embodied with a positive feeling. Shakespeare also described love as a feeling of jealousy; the second description of love as a feeling of jealousy is evident throughout the text. To enhance love through jealousy, Shakespeare spices up the text with anger elaborated as jealousy. By playing around the themes of anger and love, the envy of Othello is deeply explored. The essay will examine how anger, love, and lack of self-control help reveal the jealousy of Othello.

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Othello as the main character is shown to have loved his wife deeply, through the love; his emotions reached a point where they turned into jealousy. Othello's tragic flaw is jealousy; it brought about his downfall and also the death of Desdemona, his wife. Lago is displayed as the master of manipulation; he can use and manipulate Othello by stirring jealousy, thus convincing him that his wife is unfaithful. Lago as a master manipulator is able to look for weaknesses in Othello; he realizes that he is an outcast in Venetian since he is a Moor. He is also much older that Desdemonia and thus not fit to marry her. Furthermore, he is aware that lieutenant Cassio is handsome and much more eloquent in social life as compared to Othello. With this, he can convince Othello that there exists a relation between Desdemonia and the lieutenant, thus triggering jealousy that brings about murder and the tragic end of Othello.

An idea derived from Ditta's work "psychology today" reveals that insecurities are quite dangerous to human mental status and they affect one's ability to stay fit in the society. They may question themselves and their ability or the position that they are in, the situation that they are in now may also be questioned due to insecurities. In most cases, the insecurities are converted into jealousy. From the novel, Othello's jealousy turned him into a blind and deaf person; thus he could not judge the right from the wrong and thus he violated all ethics. Othello started contemplating murdering his wife on his mind; she was sacred and unquestionable as per Othello's reasoning. The lack of trust in her clogged his mind and he failed to see that his mind betrayed him, insecurities and jealousy brought him to murder his wife.

There exist a myriad of reasons why people are always insecure about themselves; also, there are explanations why people are confused and unsure about their feelings and the constant fear that they may get exposed to others. The fear is more of anxiety that establishes itself over them through time. The fears of Othello and his feelings are perfect examples of the same. In a nutshell, Othello was possessed, and he had to deal with insecurities and jealousy, the fears were like a metamorphose between him and his environment. The awareness of his surrounding that he was different brought about the ease with which personal insecurities could be used against him.

Othello's fears started differently; an article on psychology today reveals that feelings of being alone are likely to bring about emotional stress to children or individuals and they are usually not the easy to overcome. "Regardless of what caused the child and ultimately the adult to feel like an outsider, the emotional cost is one of deep loneliness and of never belonging" (Ditta). The phrase is deeply explaining what Othello was undergoing, showing the stage and situation that Othello was in life (Todd and Dewhurst).

The article also says that the psychology of belonging is usually much evident in the literature. "The physiological importance of belonging is a theme that runs through much of psychological literature" (Ditta). The article is a perfect description of Othello, the feelings that he had of being alone are not easy to overcome, and they are likely to bring about emotional distress, something that they did to Him. Othello felt that no one could understand him; he had nobody to talk to and express his fears and emotions to them. No one could understand the struggles he was going through.

The fears and insecurities that Othello possessed brought about him expressing them to Lago, as a confidant in war, he thought that he could entrust him with personal issues and share his feelings. However, Lago was malicious, and he turned out to be plotting his downfall. Through the fears and domination of Othello's mind, Lago was able to succeed in his plan, bringing about a significant breakdown on Othello (Todd and Dewhurst)

Jealousy as an envy feeling is shown through someone's suspicion of unfaithfulness in relationships that they hold. Othello was envious, and with his feelings, he took away Desdemona's life. Jealousy isn't an external power that overcame Othello, it is something that was within him, and Lago had even detected it. On several occasions, he had warned him of the same, "O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock, the meat it feeds on" (Shakespeare III. ii. 103). Being overcome by jealousy brought about Othello to kill Desdemonia, it is true that the lover her more than anything else, he could not imagine her being with someone else. There was pure love; this is until insincerity took over and jealousy won the battle against pure love (Todd and Dewhurst)

Othello was over-possessive, he loved Desdemonia too much, and he couldn't stand thought that she would cheat on him. The feelings that she broke his trust revealed the bitter side of Othello, he is a man who can be cruel, and he cannot stand betrayal, a character that he may have developed as a result of being in the battlefield for long. The thoughts that his wife had a relationship with someone else took over him. "I that am cruel and yet merciful, I would not have thee linger in thy pain" (V. ii. 193). Despite the persuasions made to convince him that she wasn't cheating on him, the misunderstanding had clogged his mind, too many insecurities and the willpower to eradicate what came between him and love, the murder is just a culmination of the issue. (Vincenti)

After the murder, signs of regret are evident; her pleading of innocence and request for an extra day to life is ignored. The thought that when a jealousy person intends to attack, they are driven to attack and they are also eager to attack, "What one means is that the jealous person wants to attack, is driven to attack, is eager to attack"(Rai 57). Emilia is quite distressed, Othello regrets since the innocence of his wife are dawning on him, and Lago intentions are revealed to him by Emilia. From guilt and the revelation of the truth, he plans to kill Lago but is prevented from doing so. It finally dawns on him that he is fooled as he says, "O fool! fool! fool!" (V. ii. 323) Being overcome by emotions makes him feel collapsed forever.

Despite the jealousy that is fanned by Lago false motivation, it is clear that the theme of jealousy is evident throughout the text. Other characters including Brabantio, Roderigi, and Lago are all possessed with jealousy. With them being jealousy, Lago as an antagonist can execute his evil plan and bring about disastrous results in the end. The jealousy of Lago is evident when he is bypassed, and Othello makes Cassio a lieutenant (Todd and Dewhurst)


It is evident that Lago does not intend to help Othello in his quest, but rather to destroy him and other characters; the success of Lago is directly attributed to his brilliance in language and understanding of the vulnerability of the characters. Shakespeare is successful in presenting Lago as an evil person; he causes the death of others and later his eventual downfall. On the other hand, Othello is overcome by anger, love and lack of self-control helping reveal the jealousy within him. By being a moor and a minority, he is taken advantage of and thus his eventual downfall.

Work Cited

Ditta, Oliker. "On Being the Outsider." Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,

Rai, Ram. "Jealousy and Destruction in William Shakespeare's Othello." Crossing the Border: International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, 2014, pp. 53-59. doi:10.3126/ctbijis.v1i1.10462.

Shakespeare, William. Othello: the Moor of Venice. EMC/Paradigm, 2005.

Todd, J, and K Dewhurst. "The Othello Syndrome; a Study in the Psychopathology of Sexual Jealousy." The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 1955,

Vincenti, H. "Home." The Othello Syndrome, 17 Feb. 2014,

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