The Root Of All Evil In Othello

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The Root of All Evil
People have a tendency to act crazy when power and love do not go their way. Shakespeare’s Othello is a classic tale of jealousy that negatively influences all actions of each character. However, unlike a dramatic chick-flick watched on Friday nights, jealousy acts as an animal that creates racism, distrust, eats away at the identity of characters, and leads to death within the play. Steve Criniti references Caroline Spurgeon in a book written saying, “the animal images found in Othello are of ‘low status’: ‘insects and reptiles, swarming and preying on each other, not out of special ferocity, but just in accordance with their natural instincts’” (Criniti 117). What he does not mention is jealousy and the devil that is
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While convincing Brabantio to dislike Othello, the man Desdemona eloped with, Iago refers to Othello as “an old black ram [that] is tupping your white ewe” (1.1.97) This reference to a ram, a male sheep, and an ewe, a female sheep, points out the difference in gender between Othello and Desdemona and also race by classifying them as black and white. Tupping refers to sex between the two animals, but the word is vulgar slang for when a man and a woman have sex, the first insight into Iago’s identity. Another reference to race and sex by Iago is when he says that Desdemona will be “covered with a Barbary Horse” (1.1.125). This horse breed from Northern Africa is dark brown, and to reference Desdemona being covered with her means that he is thinking about Othello overcoming her innocence by having sex. The animalization of Othello by Iago because of his race is ironic because, as pinpointed in an article by Alexander G. Gonzalez, Iago takes advantage of Othello’s vulnerability by surpassing his own animalistic identity. Within Iago is a dangerous creature, “like a beast”, wildly obsessed with sex (Gonzalez…show more content…
The devil is known as the most deceptive creature of all. He is able to bring evil and tempt others into doing wrong just to see the lack of order and reason. Iago, throughout the whole play, tricks Roderigo, Othello, and Cassio into believing his tales and acting on them, but does not leave any question to the audience whether or not he is aware what he is doing is wrong. Whenever Iago creates a new scheme he says aloud his entire plan only after people have left the stage. Not only is this for the audience to understand that his words are kept to himself, but for him to be alone on stage parallels the devil’s solidarity in Hell. The ease which comes with performing his plots is purely second nature and part of his identity because he is one with the devil. Part of Iago’s transfer of evil to cause disorder is when he fully intends to spark Othello’s jealousy in love. The telling of Iago to Othello that Desdemona laid “naked with her friend in bed” plants a devil inside Othello’s brain (4.1.5). The devil continues to haunt Othello and causes him to act without reason, like an animal with no conscience. Pointed out by Gonzales, by Iago doing the thinking for Othello, the “final result is a devil’s head guiding the body of a raging animal” (Gonzales 45). Because the devil is the most cunning animal or creature, the transformation of Othello’s own identity from one of faith in his wife to complete
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