Envy in Othello
Envy In William Shakespeare’s Othello, desire manifests itself in Iago, compelling readers to see him as if he were a leech; Iago drains Othello of all his moral qualities until he is drawn dry. Likewise, Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice enjoys seeing Antonio sucked dry of cash. Both Iago and Shylock are obliged to see their opponents suffer through means that as soon as denied them, such as Iago being denied of his rank and Shylock being denied of money and respect.
Although Iago and Shylock both expose their enemies’ weaknesses in order to damage them, Iago’s methods are more reliable due to the fact that Shylock ends up being disarmed by his Jewish heritage. Iago and Shylock both despise a particular character, presenting their own inspirations in the plays. Shylock speaks straight to the audience and points out how he feels about Antonio as soon as the two characters are introduced with one another: “I hate him for he is Christian” (1. 3. 42). Readers become rapidly mindful that Shylock is battling with religious values, identifying his specific factor for holding Antonio in contempt.
Mirroring Shylock’s hatred, Iago likewise clearly specifies his inspirations, although it is directed towards another character instead of the audience, “I retell thee again and again, I dislike the moor” (1. 3. 408). In impact, whom Iago and Shylock speaks with ends up being considerable; Shylock speaks directly to the audience, demonstrating how he appeals to himself and an entity that can not assist him pursue his objectives. In contrast, Iago speaks with Rodrigo, triggering his feelings to influence Rodrigo too: he influences another character that can help him attain his goals.
Furthermore, Iago and Shylock have a major distinction in enthusiasm; Iago highlights his hate through his repeating, “I retell thee again and again.” Iago continues to magnify his hatred by explaining how his “cause his hearted; thine hath no/ less factor. Let us be conjunctive in our revenge/ against him” (1. 3. 409). By explaining his inspiration as “hearted,” and explaining how his goal is “vengeance,” Iago reveals a more enthusiastic personality than Shylock, contributing to his efficiency.
He likewise uses the pronoun, “us,” enhancing his techniques of lowering Othello through large number. Rather of stimulating strong feelings through intensive words as Iago, Shylock’s thinking lacks enthusiasm: “He lends out cash gratis and brings down/ the rate of usance here in Venice” (1. 3. 44). Shylock lacks repeating to develop a greater emphasis, and his reasons handle a more passive thinking versus the aggressive thinking Iago uses. By analyzing Shylock’s and Iago’s inspirations, it can be reasoned that both of these characters hate higher powers.
Shylock dislikes Antonio since he is Christian, and in the play, Christians have far more authority than Jews. Shylock tells Antonio of the wrongs that a Christian did to a Jew: “You spet on me on Wednesday last … you called me a ‘canine'” (1. 3. 135). Antonio asserts his dominance over Shylock and responds by stating,” I am as like to call thee so again/ To spet on thee once again” (1. 3. 140). Antonio’s response shows why Shylock dislikes Christians; not only is it because they treat him improperly, but Christians position themselves in a higher standing to Jews.
Analogously, Iago despises both Cassio and Othello because he is jealous of their rank and deprived of power, “In individual fit to make me his lieutenant … I understand my rate, I am worth no even worse a place” (1. 1. 10). Iago is exasperated that Othello neglects him as an option for a promotion, and he goes on to slam Cassio, who is now ranked higher than Iago: “A fellow almost damned in a fair partner/ that never set a squadron in the field/ Nor the division of a fight understands/ More than a spinster” (1. 1. 22).
Iago immediately hates a male who is promoted beyond his rank and his jealousy becomes apparent. Considering That Shylock and Iago are both motivated to destroy their opponent, they construct their plots by exposing their enemies’ weak points. Shylock initially explains his strategy by stating how Antonio lends out his money without interest, but then he exposes why he has let Antonio borrow his money,” To bait fish withal; if it will feed absolutely nothing else it will feed my revenge” (3. 1. 52). Shylock understands if he provides cash to Antonio, it will be like bait and give in Antonio to be at Shylock’s mercy.
Shylock takes advantage of Antonio’s pompous character, in which Antonio declares to “anticipate return/ of thrice 3 times the value of this bond” (1. 3. 170) within two months and chooses to intensify the bond, “Be chosen in an equivalent pound/ of your reasonable flesh, to be cut off and taken” (161 ). Not just does Shylock make the most of his opponent and yield his opponent to his grace, however he also shifts the power to his side: a Jew ends up being the one in control. In contrast, Iago also exposes Othello’s weakness: “The Moor is of a complimentary and open nature/ That thinks men honest hat however seem to be so/ And will as tenderly be led by th’ nose/ As asses are” (1. 3. 442). He knows Othello is too kind in trusting every male to be a sincere guy, and Iago maximizes this knowledge to control Othello. Like Shylock, Iago also reverses the power balance, making Iago the one in control. When Othello decides to eliminate Desdemona, he tells Iago to bring him poison. However, Iago reversibly commands Othello to “do it not with poison. Strangle her in her bed” (226 ). As Othello follows, the play shows Iago’s increase to power from making the most of Othello’s weak point.
Although Iago and Shylock both rise to power by exposing weak point, they differ in their tactics of ruining their enemy. Shylock faces Antonio about the wrongs Antonio has dedicated against Shylock and plainly tells him the terms of the bond, “if you repay me not on such a day/ In such a place, such amount or sums as are/ Expressed in the condition, let the forfeit/ be nominated for an equivalent pound/ Of your fair flesh” (1. 3. 158). Shylock does not hint or include subtle references; he faces Antonio and informs him what conditions are accepted in the bond.
On the other hand, Iago instills concepts into Othello, manipulating his ethical state of mind: “Othello: Is he not sincere?/ Iago: Honest my lord?/ Othello: Honest-ay, sincere/ Iago: My lord, for aught I understand/ Othello: What dost though think?/ Iago: Believe, my lord?/ Othello: ‘Believe my lord?’ (By paradise,) thou echo’st me as if there were some monster in thy thought/ Too horrible to be shown” (3. 3. 115). Iago begins his instillation of doubt by duplicating Othello’s expression, subtlety hinting as if there were something incorrect.
His tactics are far more reliable than Shylock’s fight since it causes his opponent to doubt himself, triggering a problem of guy versus self. From Iago’s very first repeating, Othello already stumbles with his words as shown by the dash in “honest-ay, truthful.” Moreover, Shylock is ultimately forced to convert to Christianity and does not get his pound of flesh from Antonio. The fact that Iago’s approach triggers Othello to kill both Desdemona and himself shows his efficiency. In terms of desire, Shylock desires justice through the law.
In the courtroom, Shylock suggests his commitment of revenge through legal methods, “I crave the law/ The penalty and forfeit of my bond” (4. 1. 213). He utilizes his bond in order to look for justice through his revenge against Antonio. Differentiating from Shylock, Iago desires his concept of justice through illegal means. Iago is also encouraged by anger and disappointment, amplifying his commitment to revenge. Since Cassio was the one who stripped Iago of his desired rank, Iago commits to murdering Cassio, “making him uncapable of Othello’s place: knocking out his brains” (4. 262). Iago’s aggressive technique shows his neglect for the law, emphasizing the contrast in between their own concepts of justice. According to Janet Adelman’s essay, “Iago’s Alter Ego: Race as Projection in Othello,” she points out Melanie Klein’s theory of envy, mentioning that, “in Klein’s reading of envy, the source and target of rage is not the frustrating or harmful bad breast however the excellent breast, and it is exactly its goodness that provokes popular” (136 ).
Klein’s theory of envy applies straight to Iago, describing how Iago’s aggravation is Othello. Nevertheless, Iago is not provoked by Othello’s morality, rather, he is intensified by Othello’s choice in providing Cassio power: Iago is provoked by a loss in authority, not morality. Iago even informs the audience his clear reason that he dislikes Othello, “I dislike the moor/ And it is thought abroad that ‘twixt my sheets/ ‘Has done my office” (1. 3. 429). Othello’s morality results in Iago’s manipulation rather of Iago’s rage.
Through the analysis of Iago’s and Shylock’s motivations and techniques, it becomes apparent that Shylock’s “Jewishness” has a great impact on identifying the success of his objectives. Due To The Fact That Shylock is Jewish, he is haunted by it beginning with Antonio’s misbehaviors. Although this becomes Shylock’s motivation, he is as soon as again disarmed by it from the court. Portia even imparts a false hope for Shylock initially, “there is no power in Venice/ Can alter a decree established/ Shylock: A Daniel concern judgment!” (4. 1. 226).
In result, the false hope creates a higher destruction for Shylock as he receives the real judgment. Not only does Portia’s incorrect decision show how Shylock’s Jewishness condemns him, but it also suggests that Jews can be manipulated by a moral character also. Portia continues her sentence by adding to her manipulation, “take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh/ But in the cutting it, if thou dost shed/ One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods/ Are by the laws of Venice seize/ Unto the state of Venice” (4. 1. 322).
Portia utilizes the word, “Christian,” to describe the blood, insinuating the concept that there can only be one kind of blood that can not be spilled. Her dialogue even suggests that if the scenario was reversed and Shylock’s flesh was on the line, it might be acceptable for him to lose it. Adding to Shylock’s condemnation of being a Jew, he is removed of half of his residential or commercial property and forced to transform to Christianity. In contrast to Iago, Shylock’s Jewishness is a form of weakness, in which he is helpless to act further even when he abides by the law.
Envy separates itself from desire due to the fact that being envious describes feeling bitter another person due to the fact that of their belongings. It is substantial to understand Shylock’s and Iago’s sources of envy, because then it can be concluded that the play suggests envy causes damage. Although their tactics of exposing weak point result in one type of success, both Shylock and Iago were removed of home and liberty: Shylock through his conversion and confiscation, Iago through his imprisonment.
If envy becomes its purer kind of desire, inspirations can then be cleansed to influence ethical action. Works Cited Adelman, Janet. “Iago’s Alter Ego: Race as Projection in Othello.” Shakespeare Quarterly 48. 2 (1997 ): 125-44. Print. Shakespeare, William, Barbara A. Mowat, and Paul Werstine. The Merchant of Venice. New York: Washington Square, 1992. Print. Shakespeare, William, Barbara A. Mowat, and Paul Werstine. Othello. New York: Washington Square, 2004. Print.