To what extent is Othello by William Shakespeare a text of worth?


Shakespeare recognized the damage that is done to a relationship by jealousy. The deceit of "honest, honest Iago" ended up being more believable to Othello than were the assuring words from Ophelia. It said something about the character of Othello, who was more willing to believe Iago. It says something about the character of us all.


Alongside the theme of jealousy are many other themes, such as prejudice, (Iago is prejudiced towards Othello because he is black; the women are all treated badly by the men), the influence and manifestation of evil, shown clearly in the character of Iago:-

'If thou be'st the devil, I cannot kill thee' - Othello, Act V

Also the themes of status, power, and deception are prominent. Cassio loses his position as lieutenant, which Iago then gains. All are trying to establish power of some kind at varying points in the play. Iago wants the power that status affords him, as well as the manipulative power over his fellow man and their emotions:-

'But I will drive the Moor into a jealousy so strong / That judgment cannot cure'

This he achieves, as well as, to some extent, winning over the audience by making them laugh, singing songs and being a fun character, before revealing his true demonic self. This is the biggest shock to the audience, that while we may have regarded Othello as foolish to trust Iago, we as the audience did at one point too.

Othello wants power over his own destiny towards the end of the play, which is why he kills himself (only one of the theories).

In short, there are so many important themes in Othello, showing the most intimate details of the fragile human psyche, that it gives a very clear picture of the flaws in human nature.

Incidentally, Othello's wife is Desdemona, not Ophelia, who is in Hamlet