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What about Othello's jealousy makes it accessible to us today?

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erin123star | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted February 13, 2013 at 3:35 AM via web

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What about Othello's jealousy makes it accessible to us today?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:49 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that part of the reason that Othello's jealousy can be so applicable to us today is because it is not merely jealousy.  Othello is victim to his own insecurity and doubt.  In the deepest recesses of his heart and mind, Othello sincerely believes that he is not worthy of all that is a part of his life.  He believes himself not to be worthy of being a political insider or being with a woman like Desdemona.  This speaks to us today because human beings have been unable to escape insecurity and doubt.  These are the "Green eyed monster" that strikes at us when we least expect it and cannot be avoided.  Their presence is what makes us understand Othello.  Indeed, he is criticized for much of what he does.  Yet, the end result is that he succumbs to insecurity and doubt.  The most uncomfortable thing that one can do in these situations is to open the dialogue that gives way to understanding one's own insecurity and doubt.  Othello does not do this, swallowing that which ends up swallowing him.  It is for this reason that Othello's jealousy is so easily understood.  In the end, it is a representation of what it means to be human in the lowest of moments.  In seeing Othello, we see the worst aspects of ourselves when we refuse to confront that which gnaws away at us.  This becomes a condition that has not left us and something that still persists after us, no different than Iago's administering of "medicine" to Othello.  It is here where his character flaws of jealousy and doubt along with insecurity makes him accessible to us as a modern character.

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