The Theme of Jealousy in Othello by William Shakespeare
Othello is a unique tragedy in that it focuses on the destruction of love through sexual jealousy. Jealousy is not inherited in a person, but developed from the fatal factors of their
character. Othello is plagued with his ego and pride which contributes to his demise. Othello is,however, a truly romantic character because he is very passionate and full of deep feelings. It keeps a person wondering what could have possibly brought the sweet Desdemona to be his wife. Was it because he has lived a life of adventure and war and he is somewhat exotic due to his origins and dark complexion? On the other hand, is it because she fell head over heels in love with him because he represented all that was noble and strong. She tells her father, Brabantio, that she fell in love with his character and the wonderful stories that he has told her about his life. Whatever the case may be, Desdemona represents the innocence, truth and goodness of the play. She truly represents the goodness and light associated with "true love." Her father troubled by her love for Othello insists that she abandon her love for the Moor and obey his wishes. She tells Brabantio how she loves him according to her bond. "My father I do perceive here a divided duty. To you I am bound for the life and education; My life and education both do learn me How to respect you. You are the lord of duty; I am hitherto your daughter. But here's my Husband, And so much duty as my mother showed To you, preferring you before her father, So much I challenge that I may profess Due to the Moor my lord!" This young beautiful and bold women asks the Duke if she can go with Othello to Cyprus so that we will not just be a "moth of peace" while her noble husband is fighting for their country. The Duke, like all of the characters in the play, respects Desdemona and her wishes and allows her to leave with Othello.
Desdemona is given a handkerchief with strawberries on it on her wedding day from
Othello. This wedding gift ultimately destroys her. It is wrapped up in Moorish mysticism and
deep meaning for her husband. She adores it and keeps it with her at all times. The issue of the
handkerchief and its ownership easily becomes one of the most crucial plot points of the play.
Although the actual occurrences are only mentioned in the play, an Egyptian first gave the
handkerchief to Othello's mother, and she then gave it to her son upon her deathbed to give to his
future wife. "She told her, while she kept it would make her amiable and subdue my father Entirely
to her love, but if she lost it Or made a gift of it, my father's eye Should hold her loathed, and his
spirits should hunt After new fancies". Little does Desdemona realize the true meaning of the
handkerchief. As long as his mother had the handkerchief, his father would remain happy. The
parallel to her life becomes self-evident unfortunately for her too little too late. When t...