The Destabilization Of Jealousy In Shakespeare's Othello

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While Iago begins the destabilization of Othello’s judgment through a crafty manipulation of Othello’s intelligence and trust, Iago completes his devious goal by using yet another of Othello’s characteristics against him. Iago recognizes that “the Moor…is of a constant, loving, noble nature” (Shakespeare, II. i. 297-298). In characteristic fashion, Iago uses his keen understanding to take advantage of Othello. In this case, Iago manipulates Othello’s love. Because of Othello’s extreme love for Desdemona, Iago can stoke a powerful jealousy in Othello that ultimately overpowers Othello’s judgment. Even though he ultimately murders her, Othello loves Desdemona deeply. Othello testifies to his love for Desdemona early in the play when he tells…show more content…
In the third scene of the third act Iago gives uncharacteristically truthful advice by warning Othello of the dangers of jealousy, namely that it makes a fool of those who succumb to it. However, with his unique skill for manipulating people, Iago uses that wisdom to produce its opposite effect and begins stoking that very vice in Othello’s heart. While Othello is not easily jealous, once that jealousy takes root it rapidly becomes an overwhelming force within him. In his article “Dramatic Illusion in Othello,” Hoover Jordan offers an explanation for this striking rise of jealousy within Othello by claiming that the “violence of his [Othello’s] jealousy increases in almost exact proportion to the depth of his love” (Jordan, 1950). The extent of jealousy does in fact seem proportional to the amount of desire towards its object, since the greater the love for something, the more maddening it becomes not to be able to enjoy it. Thus Othello, who loves Desdemona completely, once turned to jealousy by Iago, becomes completely consumed by

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