Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Do You Ever Feel Jealous?

Saturday, we went to the Met's Live in HD production of Otello, Verdi's version of Shakespeare's Othello.  In the opera, the evil Iago is passed over for promotion to Captain.  The position goes to Cassio.  Iago is jealous of Cassio, and resentful of Otello.  He sets out to destroy both Cassio and Otello.  Iago sparks suspicion in Otello's mind about a romance between Desdemona, Otello's wife, and Cassio.  Iago feeds the suspicion with false stories and false evidence leading Otello to murder Desdemona.

Otello is vulnerable to Iago's plot because he prefers to believe false evidence rather than build a relationship of trust with Desdemona.  He grows intensely jealous at the possibility of someone else having what he sees as his.

What is jealousy but an outward manifestation of some inner terror?

The teenagers I wrote about in the May 5 blog (What Do Teenagers Want to Know?) said, "Doesn't everyone get jealous?"  I told them to look beneath their jealousy for a fear.  The fear might be related to our self-image -- which has been challenged by our circumstances.  Iago fears that he is not good enough to be a captain. Otello fears that he isn't man enough for Desdemona.  Otello may feel insecure and undeserving of her.  In both cases, the jealous person becomes fixated on the person who challenges his self-esteem.  This turns into anger, rage, and revenge.  Otello does not engage in self-examination.  When Iago's plot is uncovered and Otello realizes he made a mistake, he stabs himself.  Again, no self-examination.

If you feel jealous of another person, find your fear.  Feelings of jealousy provide an opportunity for you to get in touch with your hopes and longings.  Your jealousy is telling you that you feel insecure and you fear that you will be unable to get what you want.  Rather than fixating on the object of your jealousy, spend your energy strengthening yourself to go after what you want.  While that sounds like more work for you, the outcome will probably be more satisfying than murderous revenge.

Do you ever feel jealous?  What is your hidden fear?


  1. Jealousy is a peach best eaten alone.

  2. Hi Lil, I also saw Otello last Saturday and find your comments very insightful, and along the lines of my own thoughts. Delighted to find your BLOG!