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Jealous Love: William Shakespeare, Othello

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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 an 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.

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