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Otherness and the Nature of Jealousy in Othello - Research Paper Example

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‘Otherness’ and the Nature of Jealousy in Othello Jealousy is an emotion that consumes. Jealousy changes the nature of a relationship. It attacks trust. It destroys intimacy. …
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Otherness and the Nature of Jealousy in Othello
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Download file to see previous pages There is a reason it is called a monster. Jealousy transforms love into a rage that can have deadly consequences. The monster that Othello becomes destroys the love that he held for Desdemona and eventually destroyed the vessel of that love, Desdemona herself. From the perspective of a clinical discussion of the emotion of jealousy, the nature of jealousy is a complex system of emotional programs that have evolved as responses in reference to threats to procreative responsibilities (Lewis 122). This response is intended to protect the line of male succession, thus it is seen more often and more dangerously in men. In addition, it has only been in recent history that women have had a right to demand fidelity in their mates. While men have guarded fidelity in women with lethal prejudice, women have only been allowed to express jealousy in regard to their mates through cultural norms in the last few centuries of human history. In discussing the nature of the jealousy expressed by Othello, it is necessary to understand the cultural position on the relationships between men and women during the period of the play and the period in which it was written. According to Lewis, “cues of a situation trigger an emotion mode, but embedded in that emotion mode is a way of seeing the world and feeling about the world related to the ancestral cluster of associated elements (122). The way in which an emotion is perceived and is reacted to is dependent upon both the visual cues that suggest the appropriateness of that emotion and the historical cultural values that define that emotion. One might believe that an emotion is experienced in the same way no matter the cultural location, but this is not true. The emotion develops upon the beliefs on how a culture has framed its expression and appropriateness. As an example, love is an emotion that seems relatively similar in all cultures. However, that can be argued. Love is a feeling that can be tied to desire, that can be tied to mutual experiences, or that can be tied to dependency. In cultures where people marry through arrangement, love can develop between two people who are put together and learn to feel for one another. In other cultures, love is something that develops once the physical attraction has been established. Therefore, it must be understood that an emotional exploration is going to be relevant to the culture through which the emotion is expressed. Jealousy, in Othello, is defined by two cultures, the culture that Shakespeare writes about and his own culture. The gender relations during the time of Shakespeare were defined by a wide variety of dynamics. In literature, the idea of romantic love was highly visible, but literary love is influenced by the realities of the dynamics of the time period. The possession of the female gender was also highly important in calculating the reaction of jealousy. The patriarchal society designates the female as an object, rather than the subject of her life. While it is true that the realities of the gender relationships were more complicated than the patriarchal ideals defined, it is the ideology of the patriarchal society that allows for the extremes in jealousy that can be defined when a woman is a possession rather than an individual. The 17th century philosopher John Locke stated that men had no more control over the lives of women than they did over men. However, he also later ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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