How does Shakespeare explore the effect of vengeance on human nature? Shakespeare represents the impacts of revenge on human personality that he displays in his play Othello. The effect of revenge is very tragic as the main characters Othello, Desdemona and Emilia die whereas the primary wrongdoer, Iago, remains alive. Vengeance is a really character driven attribute which is proven through the character of Iago and how he has the ability to control Othello through his actions. Vengeance modifications Iago as he ends up being a cunning person that utilizes Othello’s weakness of jealously versus him to ruin him.
Vengeance has actually been represented by Shakespeare through the styles of betrayal and jealousy. He explores these themes through 2 “pals”; Othello and Iago and shows how blindly trusting someone can backfire in a dreadful way. Shakespeare attempts to convey the message that individuals need to be sceptical of others and not just put their undeniable belief in other individuals no matter how well you know them which suggests that the concept of vengeance is eventually corrupting; it turns us into the worst possible version of ourselves.
The theme of betrayal plays an essential role in Othello as it represents a bond of “friendship” broken in between Iago and Othello. It is necessary to understand Iago’s character and intentions that he conveys 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 location 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 acquainted with his partner.” The pun on “double knavery” encompasses Iago’s betrayal of Cassio as well as Othello at the same time. This quote shows Iago’s betrayal because it represents the significant paradox of the expression “Honest Iago” which is pronounced by Othello sometimes throughout the play. It expresses Iago’s rage over Othello since he didn’t offer him the position of lieutenant.
Iago is also viewed as a conceited, envious character; “I understand my rate, I am worth 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 multiple times throughout the course of the play essentially personifying Iago’s treachery, evil, and malcontent nature. This contrast in character represents Iago’s duplicitous nature by making certain Othello just hears what he requires 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 real motives of his revenge which show the method Shakespeare represents the effect of vengeance on human personality by conveying the message of individuals not putting their self-evident trust or belief in others no matter how well you know them. The concept of jealousy is one that even the bad guy acknowledges and utilizes to his advantage. Iago, knowing of the power of jealousy and the insecurities of Othello, continues to set numerous traps which chip away at Othello’s honorable and honourable character to leave behind a delicate, despiteful, jealous and violent entity.
As Iago constructs lie after lie for Othello in full understanding of the effect it has on him; “The Moor currently alters with my toxin”, he effectively minimizes Othello into an all of a sudden vengeful, and harmful man through the metaphor of the word “toxin” which reveals Iago’s effect of his lies on Othello, who shows his destructive intents in the lines “I’ll tear her all to pieces!” emphasises the visual images of Othello slaying Desdemona and completing his vengeance of her. As Othello’s rage boosts, so does his jealousy which contributes to Iago’s success of ruining Othello. The quote “I’ll tear her all to pieces! was stated in an extremely furious tone which represents that Othello has actually been taken in by the jealousy that Iago has planted in his mind. Additionally, as Iago’s traps take its impact on Othello, the violent and negligent nature of him emerge; “I will withdraw to provide me with some speedy means of death for the fair devil” and it is this weak point that efficiently enhances the damages dealt by Iago’s traps. Jealousy is seen in this quote due to the fact that Othello is so devoured by it, that he can’t see straight through Iago’s lies and he can’t see that Iago is using his reliable nature against him.
This is how Shakespeare represents revenge through the theme of jealousy by relating his message through the quotes and motives of Iago and how Iago utilizes Othello totally free and open nature versus him. As validated in the paragraphs above, it is a mix of the styles of betrayal and jealousy that share the responsibility of for the success of Iago’s detrimental vengeance. As a result, Shakespeare represents the impacts of revenge on human personality by displaying the message that individuals must be sceptical of others and not simply put their undeniable belief in other individuals no matter how well you understand them.