Jealous is one of the major themes present in Othello. Othello is described to be a jealous booby by many people. Looking at what people view Othello, one can get Othello’s character which is; he is a booby and also an insecure person. This is because one can be jealous and not booby or be booby and not jealous. The description of Othello to be suspicious and booby has brought numerous arguments if indeed it’s true. The same text that proves Othello to be jealous and booby provide a counter argument and this advocates debates what is what. One of the reasons as to why Othello is viewed to be an insecure person is because of the way he to some extreme extent he quickly reacts to Iago’s encouragement.
To some, Othello is not a jealous person by nature but rather what made him act the way he does is his few characteristics together with an outside force (Iago). To some, Othello is a victim and a tragic hero while the villain in the play is Iago. Othello’s character of being booby has also brought about opposing views as some believe he has the booby character in him while others argue the opposite. For those who support the argument, they do this because of his wrapped self-perception and also because of his lack of comprehension of human nature of the people around him and himself (Schilb). Those who argue Othello is not booby is because of his military capabilities, his self-control and he can command respect.
In most instances, Othello is seen reacting extremely quickly to Iago’s bait thus viewed to be jealous at a rapid rate. Iago knows this, and he doesn’t have to do much to get Othello jealous. All he has to do is mutter some vague sentences and though and jealousy over runes Othello’s mind which is the intention of Iago. I the play, Othello is seen wondering why he ever got married and he goes ahead to conclude that the only way he can receive relief is by loathing his wife. With every encounter with Iago, Othello mover further to ear lunacy. This act proves that indeed Othello is heading toward jealousy.
Shakespeare, on the other hand, demonstrates that Othello is a suspicious character by showing how deeply his jealous has become. Once Iago instills jealousy in Othello, Shakespeare goes ahead to use this character to show Othello some truth. When Emilia presents her claims to Othello and saying that her wife was honest, Othello refuses to believe on the evidence brought in front of him which proves that he was indeed consumed with jealousy. In this scene, Othello declares that he would rather remain jealous than believe in the evidence that his wife Desdemona is innocent. Shakespeare shows how deep Othello’s jealous is by letting him suffer both physically and mentally. Othello is seen falling into a fit that is a result of jealousy which is described by Iago as falling into epilepsy. According to Schilb, a fit referrers directly to a new depth of jealousy Othello had entered which proves that both his mind and body were corrupted. Only a jealous individual can be affected to an extent Othello was being affected.
It’s well known that jealousy is not an acquired trait as it can never be created by a person. If a person exhibits traits of jealousy, it only means that they have a jealous nature. With this in mind, it’s true to say that Iago plays a subordinate and ancillary role and it is Othello’s proclivity to jealousy together with his weak character that results to his downfall. Iago only makes vague comments, and Othello is very quick to respond, and this action is what led to his downfall. Jealousy can be said to be a passion that only comes out from a trait that is inside people and this is what Othello was easily made jealous by Iago. If Othello was able to portrait jealousy at such high levels, then it only means he had a suspicious nature. Iago isn’t responsible for making Othello jealous but rather, he gives Othello a way to reveal his inner nature which is jealousy.
It’s accurate to argue that Othello’s also suspicion nature was brought about by Iago. From the text, many instances prove before Iago got the chance of corrupting Othello’s mind, jealous though never had a place in his mind. For example, when he was sent to Venice, he leaves his wife Desdemona to Iago’s care without any thoughts of dishonesty from his wife or Iago. After Iago had begun corrupting Othello’s mind and placing jealous thoughts in his mind, Othello is seen demonstrating that he was not going to be easy nor did he intend to be jealous at any one point.
However, no matter how hard Othello tries not to fall into Iago’s trap or resist his poison, he eventually falls into his trap as no other character was able to stay away from Iago’s trap. This proves that Othello’s jealous nature was not his own doing but rather, Iago’s. Just like any other human being, Othello had flaws, but jealousy was not one of them. His open nature of the influence of other is what made it possible for Iago to make him jealous. Iago can thus be said to be responsible for Othello’s downfall.
When it comes to Othello being booby, there is evidence that supports and dismisses this claim. One indication that proves that indeed Othello was a booby was his ignorance when it comes to human nature (Schilb). This is true as he has minimal understanding of how a person, including himself, can be motivated, or why a person acts the way he/she does. By trusting and mistrusting the wrong people, he proves he is truly a bad judge of character. For instance, Othello is seen believing Iago unquestioningly, and he believes everything he says. He even goes ahead to leave his wife under the care of Iago when he goes to any journey. Othello goes a step forward to ask for advice and opinions from Iago who was an evil man, but Othello never knew that as to him, Iago was an honest and brave man.
It’s true that Othello has the capabilities of existing in a world that is full of opportunities with no extreme tests of his intelligence like what Iago did to him. In many instances, Othello has proved that he possesses many sound qualities but when disrupting forces comes his way, such as Iago, he is unable to cope with them, and as a result, he responds in an inappropriate way thus disastrous results. No person can live a life without temptations and complications, and this is why it’s important for people to know how to handle such instances. Othello proved he could not do this and this was why it was easy for him to all due to trusting the wrong people. His positive traits don’t triumph during the hard times, and as a result, he proved he was indeed jealous and booby.
Schilb, John, and John Clifford. Arguing About Literature. 2016. Print.