What’S The Meaning Behind “It Is The Cause, It Is The Cause Of My Soul”?1

Updated 14 August, 2023
In the play "Othello" by William Shakespeare, the line "It is the cause, it is the cause of my soul" is spoken by Othello as he justifies his intention to kill his wife, Desdemona. He believes she has been unfaithful to him, and this perceived betrayal becomes the driving force behind his decision. The line encapsulates Othello's internal conflict, as he struggles with jealousy, anger, and a sense of honor. It reveals the depth of his emotional turmoil and his conviction that the alleged infidelity is not just a mere incident, but a fundamental betrayal of his very soul.
Detailed answer:

The line "It is the cause, it is the cause of my soul" is from Act V, Scene II of William Shakespeare's tragic play "Othello." Othello, the Moorish general in the Venetian army, speaks this line as he prepares to kill his wife, Desdemona. The context leading up to this moment is crucial in understanding the depth of emotion and conflict Othello is experiencing.
Throughout the play, Othello is manipulated by his ensign, Iago, who feeds him lies and plays on his insecurities. Iago plants the idea that Desdemona has been unfaithful to Othello with his own loyal lieutenant, Cassio. Othello's jealousy is stoked, and his trust in Desdemona is shattered. He becomes consumed by irrational jealousy and anger.
The line in question is uttered when Othello confronts Desdemona about the alleged infidelity. As she pleads her innocence and professes her love for him, Othello struggles internally. On one hand, he still loves Desdemona deeply, but on the other, he is convinced by Iago's manipulation. The line reveals Othello's internal conflict between his love for Desdemona and his overwhelming belief in her betrayal. He uses the phrase "It is the cause" to emphasize that he sees her alleged infidelity as not just an incident but the very reason for his internal torment.
The phrase "It is the cause of my soul" underscores how deeply Othello's sense of honor, identity, and self-worth is tied to Desdemona's fidelity. In his culture, honor is highly valued, and the betrayal he perceives strikes at the core of his being. The word "soul" implies that this betrayal goes beyond mere emotion; it is a violation of his essence, his sense of self, and his beliefs. Othello's internal struggle is intensified by his tragic flaw - his susceptibility to jealousy and his tendency to believe appearances over reason.
Othello's ultimate decision to kill Desdemona is driven by his tortured state of mind, manipulated by Iago's web of deception. The line is significant as it captures the tragic tension between love and jealousy, honor and irrationality, and ultimately leads to the tragic downfall of Othello and Desdemona.

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