Jealousy in Othello
The tragedy of Othello is the story of jealousy. It is Othello's public insecurity that makes him jealous of Cassio and allows him to believe that Cassio has slept with Desdemona. And, it is Iago's jealousy of Othello that drives him to destroy both Othello and Desdemona. What is fascinating about the play Othello is the way in which jealousy between the major characters is sexualized. And perhaps what makes Othello so disturbing is how quickly this sexualized jealousy turns into hate. For Othello and Iago love becomes hate, and hate becomes love and the distinction between these two feelings is constantly being blurred.
The character of Othello is pulled toward what he terms Cassio's courtly and aristocratic beauty which Iago describes by saying, "he hath a daily beauty in his life that makes me ugly." Othello in the play feels a sexualized jealousy toward Cassio this manifests itself in Othello appointing Cassio second in command despite the fact that he is a inexperienced and unproven gentleman far removed from the grit of battle.
Even after Othello is turned against Cassio by Iago he expresses a love toward Cassio by saying, "Cassio, I love thee, But never more be officer of mine." Othello feels a double injury in his belief in Cassio's deception. Cassio both has violated Desdemona's purity and violated the bond between Othello and Cassio. The bond between Othello and Cassio is symbolized by the way in which Othello makes Cassio his second wife after Desdemona. Cassio and Desdemona serve the same role in Othello's life. Othello loves both because he believes both posses what he lacks: culture, and aristocratic blood. And both Desdemona and Cassio bring the respectability that Othello so desperately seeks out. It is important to note...