Othello Jealousy Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.
The Moor already changes with my poison;
Dangerous conceits are in their natures poisons,
Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
But with a little act upon the blood
Burn like the mines of Sulphur.
I did say so.
Look, where he comes. Not poppy, nor mandragora
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owedst yesterday. (3.3.373-382)
Iago realizes the unbelievable power of jealousy. Here, he claims that he has poisoned Othello's mind by suggesting Desdemona may be up to something naughty. Because Iago has succeeded in making Othello suspicious, Othello will never, ever have a good night of sleep again, not even if he used the best sleeping medicine in the world.
Pray heaven it be
state-matters, as you think, and no conception
nor no jealous toy concerning you.
Alas the day, I never gave him cause!
But jealous souls will not be answered so.
They are not ever jealous for the cause,
But jealous for they are jealous. It is a monster
Begot upon itself, born on itself.
Heaven keep that monster from Othello's mind! (3.4.176-184)
Emilia understands the nature of jealousy. Here, she points out that jealous husbands like Othello never really need any cause to be jealous – they just are jealous. What's interesting about this passage is the way Emilia explains that jealousy is like a "monster / begot on itself, born on itself." In other words, jealousy is generated out of nothing and multiplies or reproduces by feeding on itself. Compare Emilia's description of jealousy to what Iago has to say about bringing his "monstrous birth" to light in 1.3.398, above.
Where should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?
I know not, madam.
Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse
Full of crusadoes. And, but my noble Moor
Is true of mind and made of no such baseness
As jealous creatures are, it were enough
To put him to ill thinking.
Is he not jealous?
Who, he? I think the sun where he was born
Drew all such humors from him. (3.4.23-32)
Desdemona is frantic when she discovers she's lost her handkerchief, as it was a meaningful gift from her husband. What's interesting is that poor Desdemona has no idea how her husband will react – she says Othello isn't the jealous type so there's no need to worry. According to her, Othello's "true of mind" and much too "noble" to stoop to "such baseness."