Shakespeare's Jealous Husbands Essay

1186 words - 5 pages

Response to Shakespeare’s Jealous Husbands: Othello and Leontes
In Shakespeare’s Jealous Husbands: Othello and Leontes by Paul Dean is a play that dramatized the comparison on how Jealousy in Othello with Jealousy in Shakespeare’s late romance The Winter’s Tale, serves as a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change for further action. Shakespeare’s ideas about jealousy came from a variety of literary and cultural traditions, beginning with narrative of the Fall as he read it in the Book of Genesis and as he saw it in the medieval mystery plays still being performed during his adolescence. Jealousy is a leading motive in this story in the form of ‘‘covetousness, because the serpent offers Eve equality with God in knowing good and evil’’ (Genesis 2:5). The trace by Dean of the theme of Jealousy in other Shakespearean plays, and analyzes the differences and the similarities that connect both Jealousy in Othello and Jealousy in Shakespeare’s late romance The Winter’ Tale, where it serves as a motivation for further action.
First I will talk about the traces of theme of Jealousy in other Shakespearean plays, when the location of Othello moves from Venice to Cyprus, jealousy remains a key theme: but when the location of The Winter’s Tale moves from Sicilia to Bohemia, the emotional ‘‘tonality of the play undergoes a profound change’’ (Dean). For example, she desires the fruit because she desires the knowledge she is told it will bring. She is made to feel that God is keeping this knowledge from her and Adam because he is selfish, and would feel threatened by challenges to his omniscience. In turn (but less often remarked), God force Adam and Eve out from Eden in an act of jealousy, recognizing that now they, like him, have a moral sense, but wishing to prevent their eating the fruit of the Tree of Life and thus attaining immortality also (Genesis 2:22).

Next, after talking about the traces, I would moved further to analyzes the differences, against this background Iago’s jealousy of Cassio as one who has been preferred to himself in Othello’s favor takes on a richer significance. Moreover, all the mystery plays stress the contrast between Lucifer’s original brightness and beauty and the hellish blackness of his fallen appearance, a detail which we might remember when we hear Iago say that Cassio ‘‘hath a daily beauty in his life and that makes me ugly’’ (Taylor.20). In addition, there is no such secure moral framework in Othello, because Shakespeare complicates our reactions by making his jealous husband a figure of some nobility and dignity, pitiable rather than contemptible in his blindness. None of the central figures of those domestic tragedies could call themselves ‘an honorable murderer’ as Othello does. This paradox is not completely implausible, for the reason he gives: ‘‘naught I did in hate, but all in honor’’ (Groves.293). Jealousy is closely bound up with one’s...

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