The Portrayal of Jealousy in Othello and the Scarlet Letter

An exploration of the portrayal of jealousy in ‘Othello’, ‘Hamlet’ and ‘The Scarlet Letter’.

Like most Shakespearian plays, tragic endings are common, and play a fundamental role in revealing the fatal flaw in a main character that eventually leads to their downfall. This essay will analyze the features that contribute to the deterioration of the characters and how they fall victim to certain vices such as manipulation or fate. I will also be examining character personalities in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. I will be researching the reasons why Othello, Hamlet and Roger Chillingworth were fuelled to commit such acts of violence or attempted to, and paying particular detail to jealousy; which eventually led to induced insanity in all three characters.
Examining all three main characters in Othello, we can see that Shakespeare intended them all to be diverse in character and to grip the audience, leaving them to experience a contrast between complete empathy and apathy for a particular character.
Morbid jealousy can be defined as the overall basis of the psychopathological experience is the preoccupation with a partner’s sexual infidelity. The most common cited forms of psychopathology in morbid jealousy are delusions and obsessions. This is present as a main theme in Othello.
Othello is a moor; characterized by an honest and perhaps naive nature as well as earning a high reputation as a general in the Venetian army. As a foreigner, he seems to be unfamiliar with certain norms and values of Venetian life or so it would seem to how Iago and Roderigo have portrayed to the audience in Act 1. Othello is married to Desdemona, a much younger Venetian woman.
In the first scenes, we are introduced to Iago, a clever man and is regarded as honest but with an ulterior motive for causing mayhem and destruction for his own gain and satisfaction. He is disloyal and decides to form an intricate conspiracy theory against Othello because he expected to be.