How does Shakespeare explore the effect of revenge on human nature? Shakespeare represents the effects of vengeance on human character that he displays in his play Othello. The effect of revenge is extremely awful as the primary characters Othello, Desdemona and Emilia pass away whereas the main wrongdoer, Iago, lives. Vengeance is an extremely character driven attribute which is shown through the character of Iago and how he is able to control Othello through his actions. Revenge modifications Iago as he ends up being a cunning person that utilizes Othello’s weakness of jealously against him to destroy him.
Vengeance has been represented by Shakespeare through the themes of betrayal and jealousy. He explores these themes through two “buddies”; Othello and Iago and demonstrates how blindly trusting someone can backfire in a horrific method. Shakespeare attempts to communicate the message that people must be sceptical of others and not just put their undeniable belief in other people no matter how well you know them which recommends that the notion of revenge is ultimately corrupting; it turns us into the worst possible variation of ourselves.
The theme of betrayal plays a crucial function in Othello as it represents a bond of “relationship” broken between Iago and Othello. It is necessary to comprehend Iago’s character and intentions that he communicates in his soliloquies, in order to genuinely understand why he betrayed Othello. From the start of the text, we find out Cassio has taken the position of lieutenant under Othello’s command, the position that Iago had lusted for, and it is this principle that drives Iago to ruin Othello; “To get his place and to plume up my will in double knavery.
How? How? Let’s see. After a long time, to abuse Othello’s ear that he is too familiar with his better half.” The pun on “double knavery” includes Iago’s betrayal of Cassio as well as Othello at the same time. This quote shows Iago’s betrayal due to the fact that it represents the dramatic irony of the expression “Honest Iago” which is pronounced by Othello many times throughout the play. It reveals Iago’s rage over Othello since he didn’t offer him the position of lieutenant.
Iago is likewise viewed as an arrogant, jealous character; “I understand my cost, I deserve no worse a place” acting out of pure spite and hatred as he “hate(s) the Moor.” This line contrasts with “My Lord you understand I enjoy you” which Iago repeats numerous times throughout the course of the play virtually personifying Iago’s treachery, evil, and malcontent nature. This contrast in character represents Iago’s duplicitous nature by making sure Othello just hears what he needs to hear and absolutely nothing more, solidifying him being betrayed by Iago.
This characterisation from the play reveal Iago’s betrayal of Othello and his true motives of his revenge which reflect the method Shakespeare represents the impact of vengeance on human personality by conveying the message of people not putting their unquestionable trust or belief in others no matter how well you know them. The principle of jealousy is one that even the villain acknowledges and utilizes to his advantage. Iago, understanding of the power of jealousy and the insecurities of Othello, proceeds to set multiple traps which chip away at Othello’s noble and honourable character to leave a fragile, despiteful, envious and violent entity.
As Iago constructs lie after lie for Othello completely understanding of the effect it has on him; “The Moor currently alters with my poison”, he effectively reduces Othello into an unexpectedly cruel, and harmful male through the metaphor of the word “toxin” which shows Iago’s impact of his lies on Othello, who demonstrates his harmful intentions in the lines “I’ll tear her all to pieces!” stresses the visual images of Othello slaying Desdemona and completing his revenge of her. As Othello’s rage boosts, so does his jealousy which adds to Iago’s success of damaging Othello. The quote “I’ll tear her all to pieces! was said in a very furious tone which represents that Othello has been consumed by the jealousy that Iago has actually planted in his mind. In addition, as Iago’s traps take its effect on Othello, the violent and careless nature of him come to light; “I will withdraw to provide me with some swift methods of death for the fair devil” and it is this weakness that efficiently amplifies the damages dealt by Iago’s traps. Jealousy is seen in this quote due to the fact that Othello is so feasted on by it, that he can’t see directly through Iago’s lies and he can’t see that Iago is using his reliable nature against him.
This is how Shakespeare represents vengeance through the theme of jealousy by relating his message through the quotes and motives of Iago and how Iago uses Othello totally free and open nature against him. As verified in the paragraphs above, it is a mix of the themes of betrayal and jealousy that share the responsibility of for the success of Iago’s harmful revenge. Consequently, Shakespeare represents the effects of vengeance on human character by displaying the message that individuals need to be sceptical of others and not simply put their undeniable belief in other people no matter how well you know them.