Task #3_ Othello/ the curiosity of words.

For the past few weeks, I challenged myself to read Shakespeare. The biggest barrier was to understand the words. Diction of Othello was difficult, not because of its meaning, but of its use. Here is the list of words that impressed me:

-bestial           -politic        -green                  -owedst

-sue               -doubt         -exsufflicate        -farewell   

-fustian          -oft              -virtue                  -creature

-moraler        -worst         -seeming             -fancies

-suit               -indeed       -seel                    -cause

-enmesh       -conspire    -beseech            -hies

-cashiered     -spy            -bold                 

-billeted         -filches        -haply 

and some more….

The word that I paid special attention is “jealousy.” 

According to the * http://www.grammarphobia.com/ ,

>>As for “jealous” and “envious,” you may be surprised at how much these two words have evolved over the years.

The adjective “jealous,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary, has meant wrathful, furious, devoted, eager, amorous, lustful, zealous, and so on, though many of these senses are now obsolete.

The word is ultimately derived from zelus, Latin for zeal.

The Chambers Dictionary of Etymology says “jealous” apparently entered English sometime before 1200, and originally meant “distrustful of the faithfulness of a spouse or lover.”

The earliest citation in the OED is from The Owl and the Nightingale, a Middle English poem from the 12th or 13th century: “He was so gelus of his wive.”

It wasn’t until a couple of centuries later, according to citations in the OED, that people began being “jealous” of their rivals (or imagined rivals) in love.

Here’s an early citation from The Book of the Knight of La Tour-Landry, a mid-15th century translation of a French etiquette guide for young women: “She loued hym so moche that she was ielous ouer alle women that he spake with.” <<

Until then, I thought jealousy is a word for a man who cannot bear anything with patience. However, the Bible says

>>Proverbs 27:4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?<<

Othello was known as a calm patient man, who overcame all the dangerous adventures. However, as Emilia said, everything could be the ’cause’ of the jealousy. Especially relating with his general and his wife, he himself got blind without noticing. This gave me thoughts that human being could be weak regardless to his power or knowledge. Overall, emotion is not something one can control perfectly. 

On the other hand, if jealousy could grow in love, what makes it so powerful? Also, why is it so fatal to a mankind? 

>>-Jealousy is indeed a poor medium to secure love, but it is a secure medium to destroy one’s self-respect.
Emma Goldman
-In jealousy there is more of self-love than love.
François de La Rochefoucauld<<

Goldman and Rouchefoucauld said it is because one came to lose himself by loving in egoistic mindset. Does that mean we should focus to love others more to not lose ourselves? Now it seems very difficult to have a definite answer for love and jealousy. Through reading Othello, I could see the word jealousy was mostly used for emotion of love, not for envy of certain object. Moreover, it could grow so powerful, that once it is used, it could bring other new words back to life too; such as enmesh, doubt, and sue. 

One thing that amazes me is that Shakespeare highlighted jealousy through the minor characters (Cassio and Iago,) . Rather using direct lines from Othello or Desdemona, he chose to use Iago and Emilia to describe the consequence of their jealousy and love. Jealousy was the seed of the whole plot (Iago), and became a medium of the downfall. Will this word bring more destructive words to Othello, or will there be another word to fight back these negative atmosphere? 


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