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The Scarlet Letter and Othello: Jealousy

  • Date Submitted: 10/06/2010 07:35 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 59.1 
  • Words: 729
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Jealousy, one of the seven deadly sins, is a catalyst which motivates a person to react; this catalyst is known to engulf them, and becomes the very meaning of their existence. This emotion leads to the inevitable downfall of Iago and Roger Chillingworth, who look to revenge to console them, but become consumed by it. The Antagonist’s in Othello and The Scarlet Letter not only lead to the demise of the innocent they manipulated, but also themselves. As they give in to jealousy, they seal their fate to an untimely death.

Although Iago’s acts of vengeance first began after Cassio was given the position of lieutenant, Iago’s jealousy had been accumulating even before the play. His jealousy in Cassio’s position set off his revenge on Othello, who did not give it to him. Throughout the novel Iago states how “I do suspect that the lusty Moor hath leaped into my seat (2.1.)”, implying that he believes that Othello has been sleeping with his wife Emilia. And although he has only heard it through rumor and he “know[s] not if ’t be true,/But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,/Will do as if for surety”(1.3.). Iago’s willingness to assume that Othello has been with his wife shows that he believes that Othello is capable of taking his wife from him.

Because of his jealousy, Iago instigates his own feelings of inadequacy of Othello by telling him Desdemona no longer loves him. Using Othello’s race, age and class, Iago shakes Othello confidence making him to give into jealousy. He says:

As, to be bold with you,/Not to affect many proposèd matches/Of her own clime, complexion, and degree,/Whereto we see in all things nature tends—/Foh! One may smell in such a will most rank,/Foul disproportions, thoughts unnatural./But—pardon me—I do not in position/Distinctly speak of her, though I may fear/Her will, recoiling to her better judgment,/May fall to match you with her country forms,/And happily repent. (3.3.)

pointing out some traits which were already obvious...

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