The Catalyst of Jealousy in Revenge and Betrayal

The Catalyst of Jealousy in Revenge and Betrayal
📌Category: Literature
📌Words: 643
📌Pages: 3
📌Published: 14 March 2021

Most are familiar with great heroes and villains, from Batman and the Joker, to David and Goliath. Every great hero has a villain, in which they eventually surmount. In Shakespeare’s Othello, however, the villains' tactics lead to the titular characters' demise, and death. This villainy executed by the knave, Iago, and the expertise of his keen ability to influence enemy decision-making and thoughts, and ability  to orchestrate intelligent actions, allow him to ultimately control the outcome of Othello’s demise, enhancing a greater meaning of jealousy in the work of Shakespeare’s tragedy. 

Iago’s evil acts are driven by envy, and the betrayal he felt from Othello.  So Iago utilizes his intelligent nature for bad, and to do what he thinks will benefit himself. Iago’s reputation has been well kept, as he is often referred to as “honest Iago”, in which he takes advantage of to easily manipulate anyone he pleases; ironically being as far from honest as possible. Since the jealousy set in Iago’s heart, he swore to “serve” Othello, only to “turn upon him”, implying he will be cautious in acting obedient to the Moor to strengthen the trust between them, to portray the greater meaning of jealousy and betrayal in the tragedy (Shakespeare I.i, 40). Although the nature of Iago’s evil is horrible, the way he orchestrates it is nothing short of genius. He is “not who [he] is”, meaning he is masterful in acting and deceiving, while he hides his true, wicked intentions (Shakespeare I.i, 63). While Iago does his craft through words and body language, his evil nature assists him in his wrong-doing of others.

Though the villainy of Iago, the ancient, is evident to the audience, to characters in the Shakespearean tragedy, however, is not. Iago’s corrupt identity allows him to achieve success in ending his enemies' reputations, out of spite. The ancient is a master at planting seeds of doubt, he successfully does this by slowly developing mistrust amongst others, taking advantage of  Desdemona's betrayal of her father by implying that “she deceived her father”, and that she could also deceive Othello (Shakespeare III,iii 206). this further foreshadows the overall meaning of the drama and the eventual outcome of mistrust between Othello and his wife. Furthermore, Iago continues growing this “seed” into a “plant”, until it is undeniable, or until Iago succeeds. The “honest” Iago does so with his brilliant plans, and making the most of his opportunities in his “double knavery” of Othello and Cassio, in order to shape the plot (Shakespeare I.iii, 331). Although Iago's villainous behavior makes him successful in his enemies demise, he puts himself in jeopardy as well. 

While the ancient’s antics are intentionally to harm others, he eventually harms himself in the process. Iago “hates the Moor”, not only because he is different, as he compares him to animals, but also because the ancient is so driven by jealousy and “devoted to [his] cause of hating him”  from not getting a promotion (Shakespeare I, iii 429-430). If Othello made another choice, many lives would have been saved and preserved, but that decision would eventually evolve the story, create drama, and end Othello and his wife’s life. The act of betrayal from Othello to Iago, leads to the betrayal of Othello by Iago, only the magnitude is far greater, as no mercy is shown or given to Othello as the catalyst of this crime is the hatred in the heart and mind of the ancient Iago.

Iago’s complete and evil nature carries him to plot out the death of his foes, which in turn, creates meaning throughout the tragedy, of jealousy, envy, and utter betrayal. The natural villainy portrayed is the worst, not physical but mental abuse. Iago is so persistent and patient that he slowly begins to take over and control the mind of Othello, creating a tragic story of  death, murder, and jealousy. The art of the manipulation of Iago truly shows the power of evil in the heart, for evil will stop at nothing less than complete revenge and destruction of its victims, no matter the destruction it leaves in its path.



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