Jealousy is defined as feeling and/or showing envy of someone for their achievements and advantages. Jealousy is known to be one of the world’s worst emotions, except jealousy is not an emotion. Jealousy is a deadly disease and should not be considered an emotion proving that while in a jealous state there is a complete loss of control. A person in the jealous state is completely incapable of controlling their emotions, behaviour and their intellectual process making them vulnerable in all situations. The play Othello written by William Shakespeare proves to be one of the most profound pieces of literature includes many characters that are diagnosed with the deadly disease that is Jealousy.
“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; /It is the green eyed monster which doth mock/ [t]he meat it feeds on” (Othello, 3.3.165-167). A very vital and traumatizing symptom that comes with having the Jealous disease is the psychological loss of control. The diagnosed character is incapable of controlling their thoughts, often leading them to making unreasonable decisions. In the play Othello, we see many characters that are ill with the Jealous disease and are battling to keep their thoughts intact.
Iago is one of the first characters to be introduced into the play who possess the illness. When Iago proves to have the symptom of psychological control loss, we can see it when he states, “I am not what I am” (Othello, 1.1.65). This is very significant because throughout the play it is established that Iago is really contrasting the character who he claims to be; loyal and honest. It is given that Iago is possessed by his illness; forcing him to be the deceiving, smart, and insincere character. When Iago loses psychological control, he makes a decision far too quickly, without processing all the elements. “Call her father,
Rouse him. Make after him, poison his delight,
Proclaim him in the streets. Incense her kinsmen,
And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,
Plague him with flies.” (Othello, 1.1.68-71)
In this passage, Iago is speaking with Roderigo and has invented plans to destroy Desdemona and Othello’s secret relationship by exposing them to Desdemona’s father, Brabantio; awaiting him that the two have eloped. Iago does not take a moment to reconsider the steps he wishes to pursue as a normal person would, Iago does not judge the consequences of his actions or what affects might it cause. This passage is very significant because it is this one simple decision made by Iago that determines and introduces all the other conflicts later in the play. It is established that Iago is in a Jealous state, that he is not in control of his thoughts and should not be held accountable for any actions he may pursue. One who has what is deemed a “normal” intellectual process can move forward to collecting their thoughts to make rational decisions, contradictory to one who is sick with the Jealous disease who lacks to control their thoughts.
As we can see through Iago the Jealous disease has a powerful symptom that controls your intellectual process and therefore someone should not be held accountable for their thoughts while in jealous state, for Jealousy is what triggers a character to performing abnormal acts, this leading to the next symptom, symptom of changes in behaviour. A person must always have control over their actions because as we all know, if they do not have power over their actions, it may lead to their downfall. Many characters in the play had uncontrolled actions that led to their own defeat as result of being in the Jealous state. The main character Othello, the brave Moor who was always taking cautious steps as a leader, quickly changed when he went into a Jealous state. “I love thee;/[b]ut never more be officer of mine” (Othello, 2.3.227-228). This passage proves the courageous Othello when he took away Cassio’s position, for the benefit of the citizens of Cyprus. “Devil! (striking her)” (Othello, 4.1.228).
This passage is where Othello is incapable to control his actions and slaps Desdemona in front of a crowd surprisingly to the original characteristics that defined Othello initially. If you compare the two passages you can distinguish the difference Othello in a balanced and unbalanced state. The illness that transmitted into his biological system quickly, took over his ability to have power over his brain. “It is too late. (he smothers her)” (Othello, 5.2.83). This passage is very significant because as the reader we know that Othello’s love for his beloved wife is pure and he would never commit such a crime, but since Othello is unable to break his bond of the Jealous disease, Othello kills his own wife. Othello wanted to be the dominate power, and had no power over his decisions of actions leading to his downfall. The actions one takes are controlled by their thoughts and emotions which neither of is a person in a Jealous state able to control.
The emotional trauma that one feels while fighting the Jealous disease is horrifying. They are incapable of controlling their emotions and have high mood swings, which can result in overpowering their intellectual thought process that moves forward into taking control of their actions. In the play we are able to see characters whose emotions are uncontrollable and change very quickly. First, we have Othello who is in a battle with his emotions when he learns that Desdemona may be having an affair. “Farwell the tranquil mind! Farewell content!” (3.3.356) This is the first quote from Othello and shortly after he says, “Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore, Be sure of it.” (3.3.367-368) as we can see Othello is going from insane to angry, and he has no control over who he has rage towards, for a second it is Desdemona and the next second it is Iago.
Othello conflicts with the multiple emotions he is feeling and is has no power over the release of his emotions. This signifies that Jealousy is a disease because Othello does not feel “jealous”; he feels many other emotions in this moment of the play while ill. Roderigo who also suffers from the Jealous disease also is unable to control his emotions. “Nay, I think it is scurvy and begin to find myself fopped in it.”(4.2.201-202)In this passage Roderigo speaks to Iago telling Iago that he knows Iago is cheating him. Although later in the play, Roderigo continues to work with Iago in hopes of killing Cassio. “And yet he hath given me satisfying reasons.”(5.1.9)As we observe Roderigo, we observe his different and quickly changing emotions around Iago. Roderigo although figuring out that Iago is not a good person, when in a Jealous state cannot control his emotions and feels that Iago will be loyal in the end, this leads to his own downfall because in the end it is Iago who kills Roderigo.
This signifies that a character with the Jealous disease is unable to control their emotions and have emotions controlled by a disease. Just as they have no control their behavioural and psychological changes. All in all, through the play Othello we learn that jealousy is a disease so strong; no one can control their body. Their emotional, psychological, and conduct processes all change and make it very hard to process like normal. A person fighting this illness is very unhealthy and unsafe; which often leads them to their own destruction. There is no medication to cure the disease and no one should be held liable for their thoughts, actions or emotions. We can use this lesson as an example to help us think of jealousy as the disease it is and find a cure or a method to relieve a patient from all that they go through when in a jealous state.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 27 October 2016
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