Jealousy In Othello

In Othello one of the main themes is unsubstantiated or partially substantiated jealousy; or otherwise put a suspicious mind. All of the jealousy in the character Othello is derived by the evil and dishonest Iago. I’d like to draw a metaphor which might bring to light what having a suspicious mind might be like to go through for Othello. I use the comparison of a hypochondriac. The hypochondriac is constantly consumed by thoughts of ill health, but every time they try and find out what is actually wrong, they come up empty, but this doesn’t in the least discourage them from thinking something is wrong with them. They still feel uneasy, and ultimately they feel like something is still wrong with them. They are always looking for signs of something being wrong. Seek and ye shall find, and when they find something wrong, they pat themselves on the back with proud affirmation, but then as soon as they find that something wrong, the symptom disappears or changes into something else that stumps them. Iago is like this disease in the play. Everything he says regarding Desdemona’s loyalty is a malignant fabrication. Partially substantiated jealousy works the same way. It is a vicious cycle. Othello is constantly looking for evidence that Desdemona is disloyal, hence he finds it, but he never finds “the ocular proof” he is looking for. All he finds is circumstantial possibilities. Then he goes back to the drawing board, but each time he does, his suspicious and jealous mind aggrandizes. He never finds peace. His mind is in a state of perpetual uneasiness, and his condition gets worse and worse ’till his unfortunate suicide. The peace he finally achieves is to die upon a kiss in his beloved’s arms.


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