What is a jealousy thematic statement for Othello?

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A good thesis statement for jealousy in Othellocould revolve around examining the close link between jealousy and insecurity, in particular how jealousy homes in and exploits people's innermost insecurities.

It's notable that those characters who display jealousy in Othello each have profound insecurities which are all too easily exploited...

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by the green-eyed god. Othello himself is deeply insecure over his race and relatively low social class. Despite his outstanding success as a soldier, he's still remarkably unsure of himself. Very much an outsider, Othello is especially vulnerable to the devious wiles of Iago, who understands better than anyone the deep-seated insecurities that eat away at his master's soul.

Talking of Iago, he too is insecure. Resentful of being passed over for promotion, he has an enormous chip on his shoulder regarding Venice's social elite. His jealousy of the upper classes feeds upon his insecurities, causing him to sink deeper and deeper into iniquity as he destroys everyone around him.

Then there's the hapless Roderigo. Despite being young, handsome, and wealthy, he too has his insecurities. This is largely due to the fact that he is a bit of a clot. Because of this he develops an abiding jealousy towards Othello for being with Desdemona, the woman that he, Roderigo, thinks should be his.

Once again, we see the intimate connection between insecurity and jealousy, which would be a fruitful theme for your essay.

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Ironically, Iago himself provides an excellent thematic statement on the subject of jealousy. He cautions Othello, in some of the play's most celebrated lines,

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;It is the green-eyed monster which doth mockThe meat it feeds on...

The "green-eyed monster" is such a compelling image that it has become proverbial, but the statement has precision as well as power. Jealousy is an emotion of which Othello certainly ought to beware. It devours him like a monster, making him feel absurd and powerless as it does so.

In his short story "The Worst Crime in the World," G.K. Chesterton observes,

Sometimes it is a joy in the very heart of hell to tell the truth.

There is no doubt that Iago derives a malicious joy from piously counselling Othello against jealousy here while feeding his jealousy with every other word he utters. Although these two and a half lines make a good thesis statement and a valuable caution on their own, Iago immediately proceeds to misdirect Othello, as he observes,

that cuckold lives in blissWho, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;But, O, what damned minutes tells he o'erWho dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!

Othello is not a cuckold, and it is only by paying attention to Iago that he comes to believe himself one; yet Iago has already cautioned Othello against the very suspicion he proceeds to encourage.

It is worth noting that there is a great deal of envy in the play which is often erroneously described as jealousy. Envy is another important theme, best demonstrated by Iago's intense envy of Cassio and, for that matter, of Othello. Jealousy is the fear of losing what one has. Envy is the longing to possess what someone else has. Iago is not jealous, because he does not, by his own estimation, possess anything worth having.

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To write a good thesis statement about jealousy in Othello, think about how the characters show their jealousy, what forces characters to act out of jealousy, and what characters are not affected by jealousy.  A good statement might be:

Through Iago's and Othello's actions and dialogue in Othello, it is clear that jealousy can cause individuals to marginalize others, as illustrated by racial and sexist prejudices depicted in the text.

We could make the case that in the play, Iago is incredibly jealous of Othello. Othello is an outsider yet was able to rise in the military and gain respect from the nobles. Othello also won the most desirable woman in Venice. Iago constantly speaks offensively about Othello and particularly notes his race. We might argue that Iago is self-conscious about his own inadequacies.  Perhaps Othello does the same to Desdemona; when he suspects her of having an affair with Cassio, he uses sexists slurs to marginalize her because he is lashing out from his own insecurities.  

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A good theme statement would be:

The concept of jealousy as explored by William Shakespeare in his play, Othello, is a clear indication of how one's inherent fears and uncertainties can be exploited and manipulated by those who are envious of us and how such individuals can deceive us to turn not only against those whom we love, but lead us into betraying our very nature and turn us into monsters, overwhelmed by an emotion that feeds off itself.

The above thesis statement allows the author to discuss how the protagonist is deceived and manipulated by the Machiavellian Iago, resulting in him losing not only his sanity, but also his self-control. It introduces the reader to the idea of Othello's insecurity and allows the author to explore fully that aspect of his nature. Furthermore, it also creates the opportunity for the essayist to delve into Iago's actions and the motives behind them - prominent would be, 0f course, his own insecurity and the idea that he feels threatened and imposed upon by a foreigner who has the audacity to not give him credit where he feels credit is due. 

Other obvious links to this theme statement would be Roderigo's obvious jealousy of both Othello and Cassio. Iago's envy of Cassio - all linked to the characters' deep feelings of uncertainty and insecurity.

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How is the theme of jealousy presented in Othello?

Jealousy is presented as a tragic flaw in Othello—a destructive emotion that brings down an otherwise good man.

Iago, ever on the lookout for people's weaknesses, realizes that Othello—a strong, brave, and honest commander, supremely confident in his career—is insecure in the arena of love. A black man in a racist society and a middle-aged man in an ageist society, he worries that his lovely young wife doesn't truly love him. Iago ruthlessly exploits this fear. He manipulates events to suggest (though he pretends to do so reluctantly) that the handsome Cassio is sleeping with Desdemona. Othello falls for it and "honor kills" his wife as a result.

Shakespeare shows that jealousy is a "monster," a destructive emotion that grows out of all proportion to any reality and destroys lives. It clouds our judgment and becomes a form of madness.

Iago, too, can be seen as a jealous character. It appears as if Iago is so filled with anger and bile that he is looking for any excuse to hurt someone. Nevertheless, it is also true that Iago is jealous of anyone, such as Cassio or Othello, who has outpaced him and has risen faster in their careers. Iago is a twisted person, but bitter jealousy seems to be a core problem driving him to acts of evil.

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How is the theme of jealousy presented in Othello?

Jealousy is Othello's tragic flaw, which leads to his downfall and Desdemona's death. Iago, who is depicted as a master manipulator, uses Othello's jealousy against him by convincing the general that Desdemona is unfaithful. Iago realizes that Othello is an outcast in Venetian society because he is a Moor and is much older than the beautiful Desdemona. He is also aware that Michael Cassio is a handsome, eloquent man, who would be able to make Othello jealous. Iago manipulates Othello's low-esteem and lack of confidence by suggesting that Desdemona is romantically interested in Michael Cassio. Almost immediately after Iago suggests that Desdemona is unfaithful in act 3, scene 3, Othello becomes aggressively jealous and begins to perceive his wife in a new light. Iago even warns Othello about the power of jealousy by telling him,

"Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on" (Shakespeare, 3.3.170-172).

Othello's jealousy blinds him to the reality of the entire situation, and he accepts circumstantial evidence as proof that Desdemona is having an affair with Michael Cassio. Iago once again comments on the power of jealousy by saying,

"Trifles light as air Are to the jealous confirmations strong As proofs of holy writ" (Shakespeare, 3.3.332-333).

Othello's jealousy not only ruins his marriage to Desdemona but also motivates him to kill the woman he truly loves. Thematically, Shakespeare depicts the negative effects of jealousy by illustrating Othello's tragic demise.

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How is the theme of jealousy presented in Othello?

Jealousy is the driving force behind much of the action—and tragedy—within Shakespeare's Othello

Othello thematically traces how jealousy can destroy lives—and how so often jealousy stems from events and circumstances which have been blown out of proportion. 

The major plot of the play involves Iago convincing the titular Othello that his wife Desdemona has been unfaithful to him and has cheated with Cassio. Despite the fact that Iago has little true evidence to prove this, Othello falls headfirst into the clutches of the "green-eyed monster." Through Iago's trickery, Desdemona's handkerchief—which had been given to her by Othello—ends up in the possession of Cassio. Although there is no literal correlation between this handkerchief and Desdemona's chastity (it is, after all, merely a handkerchief), Othello's raging jealousy seizes this as a sign that she has engaged in adultery. This psychological magnification results in Othello destroying his entire life; he murders his wife and then kills himself. 

The irony, of course, is that Iago uses jealousy to undermine the foundations of Othello's marriage, while it is jealousy itself that causes Iago to behave so erratically. Iago is jealous of Othello's power, position, and status and is angry that he was passed over for a promotion by Othello, who chose Michael Cassio as his military lieutenant instead. Additionally, Iago believes that his own wife Emilia may have engaged in an affair with Othello. 

Ultimately, jealousy serves as an irrational motivator and the harbinger of evil in this play.

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What is a thesis statement about the theme of jealousy in Othello?

As it was in the ancient biblical story of Cain, the "worm of jealousy" moves into Othello's heart and causes him to commit his heinous act of killing Desdemona. Iago is the one who places this worm into Othello.

With the idea of the worm of jealousy, then, the student can write a persuasive essay designed to convince readers that Othello's jealousy is like a worm that burrows its way until it has destroyed the organ(s) it has attacked. 

Thus, there will be a need to write a thesis containing a blueprint of the three main points. This thesis will develop how this "worm" of jealousy makes its way through the heart of Othello and torments him to the point of suspicion and, later, madness. This thesis can state that the "worm" of jealousy is planted into Othello's mind by ideas suggested by others, and by two other situations or conditions such as false appearances (i.e. the handkerchief).

Here are some points to consider in formulating the thesis statement:

  • The seeds of jealousy are planted early in Act I even before Iago's worm has started to grow. When Brabantio accuses Othello of seducing Desdemona by witchcraft, he is defeated by Othello's testimony before the senate. Afterwards, Brabantio tells Othello:

Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:She has deceived her father, and may thee (Act I, Scene 3, lines 288-289).

  • In Act II, Iago schemes to have Cassio drawn into a fight. Because of the disturbance, Iago strips Cassio of his rank, blaming him for the mayhem. Then, Iago moves in and convinces Cassio to beseech Desdemona to convince her husband to reinstate him as an officer.
  • Iago then goes to Othello and insinuates that Cassio and Desdemona are possibly lovers, making Othello suspicious. At the end of Act II, Iago tells Roderigo his plan:

Myself the while to draw the Moor apartAnd bring him jump when he may Cassio findSoliciting his wife, Aye, that's the way.Dull not device by coldness and delay (Act II, Scene 3, lines 348-351).

  • In Act III, Iago sees Cassio speaking with Desdemona as he pleads with her to ask Othello to reinstate him. Later, however, Iago tells Othello that he has seen Cassio "steal away so guilty-like" (Act III, Scene 3, line 40). Iago's insinuations heighten Othello's jealousy.
  • Othello demands “ocular proof” (Act III, Scene 3, line 365) of his wife's unfaithfulness, so Iago tells Othello he has seen Cassio “wipe his beard with” (Act III, Scene 3, line 439) the handkerchief Othello gave his wife. Hearing this, Othello vows to take vengeance on his wife and Cassio.
  • Iago's next act of treachery is to get his wife Emilia to give him the handkerchief Desdemona dropped. He later plants this handkerchief in Cassio's lodgings; then, he suggests that Othello listen as Iago questions Cassio. While he talks to Cassio, Iago tricks the former officer into speaking of his affair with a courtesan named Bianca. Iago whispers Bianca's name so softly that Othello cannot hear, causing Othello to assume the conversation is about Desdemona. Later, Bianca finds a duplicate handkerchief and accuses Cassio of giving her a second-hand gift; consequently, Othello believes Cassio originally received the handkerchief from Desdemona.
  • Finally, Othello makes Iago his lieutenant and asks Iago to accompany him and furnish him "with some swift means of death/ For the fair devil" (Act III, Scene 4, lines 479-480).
  • Enraged, Othello confronts Desdemona and strangles her to death.
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What are some quotations that emphasize the theme of jealousy in William Shakespeare's play Othello?

References to the idea of “jealousy” are very common in William Shakespeare’s play Othello and can be found easily by searching an online version of the text for the syllable “jeal.” A search for those letters at OpenSourceShakespeare.org, for instance, turned up twenty-one different examples.

Yet the idea of jealousy is important in the play even when it is not explicitly mentioned. Jealousy is perhaps the major theme of this work. Take, for example, the very first scene of the play – indeed, take the very first words. As the play opens, Roderigo’s jealousy of Othello for having won Desdemona is the immediate subject of discussion. Thus the theme of jealousy is announced at once.

Ironically, however, Iago pays almost no attention at first to Roderigo’s jealousy of Othello because Iago himself is jealous of Michael Cassio, whom Othello has appointed his lieutenant even though Iago wanted the position. Iago launches into a very long speech expressing his own jealousy of Cassio. He ends by complaining that Cassio

in good time, must his [that is, Othello’s] lieutenant be,

And I—God bless the mark!—his Moorship's ancient [that is, lower-ranking assistant].

Shakespeare could hardly have done more to emphasize that jealousy will be a central concern of this play. No sooner do Iago and Roderigo express their own jealousy, however, than they try to arouse jealous thoughts in Brabantio by telling him that Othello has stolen the affections of Brabanttio’s daughter, Desdemona. They thus try to ignite, in Brabantio, jealousy of Othello, who, by this point has become closely connected with the jealousy of all three men.

Significantly, when Iago in the next scene tries to arouse in Othello jealousy of Brabantio’s social power, Othello refuses to take the bait. Instead he seems confident of his own social position and background, and so we have or first indication that (at this point in the play at least) Othello is above jealousy. The fact that he is not jealous here will make his later descent into full-blown jealousy all the more shocking and tragic.

When Desdemona appears to explain her marriage to Othello, she does everything possible to express her love for the Moor without provoking jealousy in her father. Indeed, when it is proposed that she should stay at Brabantio’s house while Othello is away at war, she refuses:

. . . I would not there reside,

To put my father in impatient thoughts

By being in his eye. . . .

She does not, in other words, want to make her father jealous by being constantly before him. Brabantio, however, is more than willing to try to stoke jealousy in Othello, as when Brabantio says,

Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:

She has deceived her father, and may thee.

Act I ends as it began, with both Roderigo and Iago giving vent to their jealousy. This time, however, Iago implies his own jealousy of Othello, not merely of Cassio:

. . . I hate the Moor:

And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets

He has done my office . . .

In other words, Iago is jealous of Othello partly because he suspects that Othello has had sex with Iago’s wife. The opening act of Othello, then, is shot through with the theme of jealousy, even though the actual word “jealousy” does not appear until twelve lines from the end of the act.

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Explain the theme of jealousy in Shakespeare's Othello.

As one of Othello’s central themes, jealousy is important because it provides the motivation for the behavior of Iago, Othello, and Roderigo and ultimately causes the tragic end.

Iago’s envious attitude is key because it is his elaborate plot that leads to the downfall or death of numerous characters. Iago cleverly uses other characters’ jealousy to set them against each other and create doubt over fidelity. Iago himself is motivated by his envy of Cassio, whom Othello has promoted instead of him. His resentment of Othello also includes his suspicion that Othello had sexual relations with Emilia, Iago’s wife.

Iago understands Othello’s insecurity in his relationship with his bride, Desdemona. Although Othello is a great warrior, he is socially awkward. As he cannot quite believe that Desdemona has chosen him, he constantly reads between the lines in interpreting her kind words and deeds toward other men. Goaded by Iago’s insinuations and outright lies, Othello becomes increasingly convinced that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio. This belief ultimately leads him to kill her and then himself.

Roderigo, who was Desdemona’s suitor before she married Othello, is very jealous that Othello has won her hand. Iago manipulates Rodrigo’s feelings to encourage him to bring down Othello and then regain Desdemona’s affection.

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What is the significance of jealousy in Othello?

In addition to the answers above, jealousy is tied to sexism, misogyny and the male and female reputations in the play Othello.  The double standards of this patriarchal honor culture are such: males had the right to be jealous of women, but women had no right to be jealous of men.  More, men were jealous of each other's rank, status and reputation.

I believe Othello is more jealous of Cassio than he is of Desdemona.  Cassio is the ideal male, and he represents everything that Othello is not.  He is young, white, Christian, well-spoken, and handsome.

Not only are males jealous of other males, but females are jealous of each other.  Emilia and Bianca are jealous of Desdemona.  Why do you think Emilia steals the handkerchief from Desdemona?  Why do you think Bianca gives it back to Cassio?  They hate what it represents: Desdemona's status as the highest ranking woman.

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What is the significance of jealousy in Othello?

It is jealously that motivates Iago into his plan of setting everyone up for emotional pain and bringing about destruction to all who are happier than him.  This becomes a plan borne out of jealously.  It makes sense that Iago understands how jealously can motivate Othello, who is filled with doubt and insecurity regarding his relationship with Desdemona and his position of leadership.  Jealously or desire for what someone else has motivates Iago and drives Othello to believe him.  I am not sure the plan finds any success and gains traction without the presence of jealously in both of Iago's and Othello's hearts.

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Explain the theme of jealousy in Othello.

Jealousy is the driving force behind this play.  Without it, there would be no play.  Iago's entire plan for revenge against Othello revolves around Othello's jealousy. 

The way Iago does this is through planting little seeds of doubt about Othello's wife Desdemona in Othello's mind as the play progresses.  He does it gradually, though, instead of bombarding him with accusations against Desdemona.  Iago involves quite a few characters in his evil plot, including Emilia, Roderigo, Cassio, Desdemona, Brabantio, along with others. 

Othello's jealousy, once he is convinced Desdemona has been unfaithful to him, drives him to madness and murder.  He kills Desdemona and destroys other lives along the way.  Others, like Emilia and Roderigo, also lose their lives in this evil plan of Iago's.

For more information, see this eNotes link: http://www.enotes.com/othello/themes

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How does Shakespeare's play Othello show the theme of jealousy?

It has often been said that jealousy is the central theme of William Shakespeare`s play, Othello. The first level on which jealousy operates is sexual, with Othello being persuaded by Iago to suspect Desdemona of infidelity. Also, Roderigo, a rejected suitor to Desdemona, is jealous of Othello obtaining Desdemona`s love.Iago, too, is motivated by jealousy, but of a different type, jealousy concerning position and regard. It is Iago`s jealousy of Othello`s success and of Cassio`s promotion. He also is jealous in another way, suspecting Othello of having an affair with his wife Emilia.

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