Destructive Jealousy in Iago and Othello

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 646 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 646|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Why is Iago Jealous of Othello?
  2. The Destructive Consequences of Jealousy
  3. Conclusion
  4. Bibliography

Jealousy is a powerful and destructive emotion that can consume individuals, leading them to commit heinous acts. In William Shakespeare's play, Othello, the characters Iago and Othello both experience jealousy, but in different ways and to different extents. This essay will explore the reasons behind Iago's jealousy of Othello and the consequences it has on their lives. By examining the text, we can gain insight into the destructive nature of jealousy and its ability to corrupt even the most noble of characters.

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Why is Iago Jealous of Othello?

Iago's jealousy of Othello stems from a variety of factors within the play. One of the main reasons for Iago's envy is his belief that Othello has slept with his wife, Emilia. In Act 1, Scene 3, Iago states, "I hate the Moor, and it is thought abroad that 'twixt my sheets he has done my office" (1.3.378-379). This quote suggests that Iago suspects Othello of having an affair with Emilia, which fuels his jealousy and desire for revenge.

Furthermore, Iago is jealous of Othello's success and position of power. As a skilled and respected military general, Othello holds authority and admiration from those around him. In contrast, Iago feels overlooked and undervalued, despite his own skills and intelligence. This sense of inferiority intensifies Iago's jealousy, leading him to plot Othello's downfall.

In addition to these personal reasons, Iago's jealousy is also fueled by his racist beliefs. Othello, as a black man in a predominantly white society, faces discrimination and prejudice. Iago, being a racist himself, cannot stand the idea of a black man achieving success and marrying a white woman, Desdemona. This racial jealousy adds another layer to Iago's motivation to destroy Othello.

The Destructive Consequences of Jealousy

Jealousy is a destructive emotion that not only affects the jealous individual but also those around them. In the case of Iago, his jealousy leads him to manipulate and deceive others, ultimately causing the downfall of several characters in the play.

Firstly, Iago's jealousy prompts him to manipulate Othello's trust and sow seeds of doubt in his mind. By exploiting Othello's insecurities and feeding him false information, Iago is able to convince Othello of Desdemona's infidelity. This manipulation ultimately leads to Othello's tragic downfall, as he becomes consumed by jealousy and commits the unthinkable act of killing his own wife.

Moreover, Iago's jealousy also destroys the lives of other innocent characters, such as Desdemona and Emilia. Desdemona, being accused of infidelity by Othello, suffers a cruel fate at the hands of her husband. Emilia, on the other hand, becomes a victim of Iago's jealousy, as he manipulates her into unknowingly participating in his malicious plans. These women, who are mere pawns in Iago's game of jealousy, pay the ultimate price for his destructive actions.

The destructive consequences of jealousy extend beyond the immediate victims, as well. The play ends with Othello realizing the truth about Iago's manipulations and taking his own life out of guilt and remorse. This tragic ending highlights the destructive power of jealousy, not only in the lives of individuals but in society as a whole.


In conclusion, Iago's jealousy of Othello in Shakespeare's Othello is driven by personal, racial, and societal factors. His envy leads him to manipulate and deceive others, resulting in the tragic downfall of multiple characters. This play serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the destructive nature of jealousy and its ability to corrupt even the most virtuous individuals.

It is crucial for us to recognize the dangers of jealousy in our own lives and society. By understanding the motivations behind jealousy, we can strive to overcome it and prevent it from causing harm to ourselves and those around us. Shakespeare's exploration of jealousy in Othello serves as a timeless reminder of the destructive power of this emotion, urging us to resist its allure and strive for empathy and understanding instead.

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Shakespeare, William. Othello. Edited by E. A. J. Honigmann, Oxford University Press, 2004.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Destructive Jealousy in Iago and Othello. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
“Destructive Jealousy in Iago and Othello.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
Destructive Jealousy in Iago and Othello. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
Destructive Jealousy in Iago and Othello [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from:
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