Saturday, November 07, 2009

The New Colossus


North American school children and probably in most of the world, are exposed at one time or another to the words included as part of Bartholdi's statue of Liberty Enlightening the World:
    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Originally the plaque of the last five lines of the poem was installed inside the pedestal building on a second-story landing. It went largely unnoticed, until a Yugoslavian-American journalist from the 1930's and 40's Louis Adamic an immigration enthusiast, began using parts of the verses in almost everything he wrote about the dilemma of Eastern European Jewry. These writings brought the poem into national consciousness, and in 1945, the tablet was moved to the main entrance of the Statue of Liberty, where visitors see it today.

    (B)efore the plaque was cast...Samuel Ward Gray, head of the American branch of Baring Brothers Bank, almost changed the course of history. In a letter .... Gray objected to the terms "huddled masses" and "wretched refuse." To Gray, huddled masses suggested that most immigrants were slum dwellers of great European cities, but such people were not "what America has received from Europe, nor, above all, what she invites."

    Gray cited America's Irish, Scandinavian and German immigrants as examples of immigrants who came from predominantly rural backgrounds. Jews were the exception, since they were "town livers" and could thus be called huddled masses, but Gray saw the Jews who emigrated not as wretched refuse but the "strong and able." To correct Lazarus' error, Gray offered substitute lines: "your stirring myriad, that yearn to breathe free/But find no place upon your teeming shore."

Never mind that the Colossus didn't straddle anything, the point is clear enough: America meant to reclaim the grandeur of the ancient world. While there is no record of a response to Gray, they must have held firm against any changes. Between 1820 and 1920, approximately 34 million persons immigrated to the United States, most of them becoming permanent citizens. For many of these newcomers, their first glimpse of America was the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. By World War I, Lady Liberty was firmly established as an American icon and it was soon after the war my maternal grandparents emigrated from Ireland passing through the nearby Ellis Island. I like to believe the sun was shining brightly as a warm sea breeze wafted through Grandmother's fine auburn hair as she traveled westward through the sunset gates, passing Liberty's uplifted lamp. We were frequently treated to many stories of being shaved from head to toe as part of the delousing as a part of their arrival to Ellis Island. No doubt Liberty is a source of hope and inspiration to countless immigrants entering the United States and was one of the first things they laid eyes upon when they reached the United States at least that is the image that comes to mind when I hear this piece.

An Englishman wrote this letter to his wife:

    It is a foolish idea that some people have, that there too many people come here, it is quite the reverse; there was more than 1000 emigrants came in the day after I landed, and there is four ships have arrived since with emigrants. But there is plenty of room yet, and will for a thousand years to come.

    My dear Sukey, all that I want now is to see you, and the dear children here, and then I shall be happy, and not before. You know very well that I should not have left you behind me, if I had money to have took you with me. It was sore against me to do it. But I do not repent of coming, for you know that there was nothing but poverty before me, and to see you and the dear children want was what I could not bear. I would rather cross the Atlantic ten times than hear my children cry for victuals once. Now, my dear, if you can get the Parish to pay for your passage, come directly; for I have not a doubt in my mind I shall be able to keep you in credit. You will find a few inconveniences in crossing the Atlantic, but it will not be long, and when that is over, all is over, for I know that you will like America.

    America is not like England, for here no man thinks himself your superior... This is a country where a man can stand as a man, and where he can enjoy the fruits of his own exertions, with rational liberty to its fullest extent. (Rhoda Hoff, America's Immigrants: Adventures in Eyewitness History, p. 24).

The Statue of Liberty exceeded its creators' dreams and became the dream of generations. America was not prepared for the masses of immigrants it would soon host, just as the country was unprepared for the Statue that would welcome them. It took the grassroots efforts of Joseph Pulitzer and his New York World to generate enough money; even sent in the form of single dollar bill, to complete the pedestal.

The copper and iron colossal is the work of French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi. Richard Morris Hunt was the architect of the base. Gustave Eiffel the famous engineer who later constructed the Eiffel Tower in Paris, built the structure of the statue so that it would be strong enough to withstand the elements of nature. Given by the French people to the US to commemorate the centennial of American independence. The proud woman faces Europe and in particular France, in flowing robes and spiked crown holding a torch aloft with her right arm and carries in her right arm a book inscribed July 4,1776; at her feet lay broken chains of slavery. Here are some more interesting facts:

  • Height: 305 feet (93 m). 354 steps lead from the entrance to the crown.
  • The seven rays of Lady Liberty's crown represent the seven seas and seven continents.
  • The pedestal is set within the walls of an army fort. It was the largest concrete mass ever poured.
  • There are 25 windows in the crown, which symbolize 25 gemstones found on the earth.
Weighing an impressive 204 metric tons, formed of copper sheets riveted to an iron framework and bolted to a star shaped stone the work was dedicated on October 28, 1886 by President Grover Cleveland who said that her light would, "pierce the darkness of man's ignorance and oppression." Both the statue and Ellis Island were declared a national monument in 1924.

This grand and lasting gesture of international friendship has become the world symbol of freedom in the hearts and imaginations of thousand of immigrants arriving in the United States. In 1903 Lazerus' Italian sonnet was placed on a tablet in the main entrance to the pedestal. It begins with an undercurrent of tensions between ancient and modern; as Bertholdi's statue is juxtaposed with the Colossus of Rhodes, a monolithic representation from ancient times that is said to have stood astride the entrance to the harbor of the Greek city of Rhodes. Rhodes is a chief island of the Dodecanese in the Aegean. Prosperous and politically powerful Rhodes attained great heights during the third and second centuries BC. A huge bronze statue of the sun god Helios, it was masculine and warlike; Colossus was meant to scare invaders away. Chares of Lindus (fl. 3d cent. BC) was the creator and Pliny listed it as one of ancient marvels in his Seven Wonders of the World. An earthquake destroyed it in 224 B.C. The statue snapped at the knees and collapsed, according to the account preserved by Byzantine chronicler Cedrinos (11th century), "it was sold for scrap to a Jewish merchant, who required 900 camels to carry it away."

Lazarus' thesis is that Liberty, in welcoming the oppressed peoples of the world, as the alliterated and real wonder of a' world-wide welcome'. James Russell Lowell often described as a fastidious critic wrote her, "your sonnet gives its subject a raison d'etre;" a reason for being which it had previously lacked. The line The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame, refer to New York and Brooklyn linked by the Brooklyn Bridge. They weren't consolidated with the other boroughs until 1898. The poetry resonates with many conflicting identities and ideals that Lazarus dealt with in her own life. She personifies Lady Liberty by invoking the ancient ideals of Greece and the old traditions of storied pomp a transformation occurs from brazen giant into a Mother of Exiles; a New Colossus with commanding eyes who maintains both Greek majesty, beauty and defiance standing alone as a beacon to the world speaking compassion with silent lips.

    Why do I say that a poem part of which is known by millions and which stirs the hearts and imaginations of countless people who never heard of Emma Lazarus is less than competent? It is because it was intended to be a persuasive piece, an assertion of what Lazarus wanted the statue to come to mean. Political poetry rarely works. Even when the sentiments are adopted -- and I don't think Lazarus's ever have been -- the assertion is always something less than the principle. As Stanley Kunitz says, "Beware of manifestos: they are the death of poetry."

    Bob Blair:
    http://www.geocities.com/~spanoudi/poems/

While modern scholars have found this poem to have a condescending air, for my grandparents and their many friends they made here in America, Ireland, as well as most of Europe at that time, meant poverty and persecution, America meant democracy and opportunity. "Other lands," observed Henry Sienkiewicz, a Polish émigré, "grant only asylum; this land recognizes the immigrant as a son and grants him rights."

The French people raised funds by popular subscription to pay for the statute. The American people raised funds to pay for the pedestal and the cost of erecting the statue. Discovered tucked into a small portfolio of poems written in 1883 her words did not achieve immortality overnight. Lazarus wrote the piece as part of the American fund raising efforts to be auctioned at the Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty. Along with the poem was the author's note, "Written in aid of Bartholdi Pedestal Fund, 1883." Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and others submitted original manuscripts, but the highest bid of $1,500 was received for Emma's sonnet.

Bartholdi did indeed created the Statue of Liberty with the well-known Colossus in mind. Some speculate it was as political propaganda for France at first intended to be a path of enlightenment for the countries of Europe still battling tyranny and oppression. However, Lazarus turned his idea on its head and with her simple sonnet at its base. Lady Freedom, became a symbol of welcome for thousands of European immigrants. This New Colossus not only meant freedom from the aristocracy of Britain that led American colonists to the Revolutionary War. Liberty also meant freedom to come to the United States and create a new life without religious and ethnic persecution.

    Lazarus deeply felt the persecution of the Jews in Russia in the 1880s. That, and her translation of Heinrich Heine, the German Jew, in 1881 and her own Songs of a Semite: the Dance to Death and Other Poems in 1882, turned her away from the Christian environment of her immediate family and into her Jewish roots. She called for the re-creation of a Jewish homeland that year. She went overseas, visiting European writers and cities, first in 1883 and then from May 1885 to September 1887, and creating the Society for the Improvement and Colonization of East European Jews. She also did charitable work at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. ."

    Selected Poetry of Emma Lazarus :
    www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/authors/lazarus.html

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887) was born in New York City to a wealthy Jewish sugar manufacturer and grew up in era of the American Civil War. Her sonnet expresses her faith in the United States as a haven for the oppressed. Her first work was published in 1867, Poems and Translations. With the persecution of Russian Jews in the early 1880's Lazarus became an ardent Zionist resulting in the publication of the deeply powerful Songs of a Semite. By the age of 34 she began a study of Hebrew Yiddish, and German history and culture. Known as a woman of immense intelligence, Emma published articles in the well-known newspapers and journals. In 1881, a wave of anti-Semitism swept across Russia. Soldiers burned homes and synagogues destroying Jewish districts. Thousands of Jews set sail for America. Moved by the plight of Jews and other victims of persecution in Europe, she was encouraged to write in the context of her beloved Jewish immigrants and a few days later, she had completed The New Colossus. Quickly forgotten, Emma Lazarus would not live to understand the full impact of what she had written. She died at the age of 38 from Hodgkin's Disease after visiting France and it wasn't until seven years after the poet's death that the sonnet was incorporated into the statue when her friend Georgina Schuyler has it installed on Liberty. The American Jewish Historical Society houses the original handwritten sonnet.

Sources:

Blair, Bob

Bram, Robert Philips, Norma H. Dicky, "Lazarus, Emma," Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia , 1988.

Emma Lazarus

Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Emma Lazarus - Introduction.": (July 20, 2003)

Picture Source

Friday, November 06, 2009

Quonset Hut


From Barracks to Bungalow

A Quonset Hut is a prefabricated shelter set on a foundation of bolted steel trusses and built of a semicircular arching roof of corrugated metal insulated with wood fiber. An inexpensive and movable building built by the George A. Fuller construction company in New York for the US Navy as an improvement on the Nissen hut that was built by the British during World War II . Built in Quonset, Rhode Island from which it derived its name, over 150,000 huts were built during the war to house barracks, supply depots, aid stations, and mess halls.

Some people thought the old Nissan hut had been modeled on Iroquois Council Lodges. Now the Quonset hut version had the same shape and an Iroquois-sounding name. The Quonset hut skeleton was a row of semi-circular steel ribs covered with corrugated sheet metal. The ribs sat on a low steel-frame foundation with a plywood floor. The basic model was 20 feet wide and 48 feet long with 720 square feet of usable floor space. Drive your streets today and you'll see them here and there. Much more than relics of war, they're icons of a day in our history -- icons that spread all the way from North Africa to the Aleutian Islands. And now, a new memorial museum for war correspondent Ernie Pyle has just been built of Quonset huts. Once in a while, a really good design surfaces -- robust, simple, and enduring. The DC-3 , the Jeep, and the Quonset hut are all examples of the clear thinking that was needed to keep us out of serious trouble, back in the 1940s.

No. John H. Lienhard:
http://www.uh.edu/

They provided rapidly built quarters for troops and inexpensive depots for military hardware. But it was quickly clear that these were not just feeble, transitory structures. All the workings used to devise Quonset huts were employed in an ideal accord to create an unbelievable strength that could bear up against the battering of typhoons. Erica Carpenter and Erik Carlson from BASE: Advancing a Post-Military Landscape tell more about the development and design:

In March of 1941, a design team consisting of Otto Brandenberger, Tomasino Secondino, Domenic Urgo, and Rhode Island native Robert McDonnell was assembled by the George Fuller Construction Company to improve on this design. The team settled on corrugated steel and semi-circular steel arched ribs as the best material solution to the issues of portability and adaptability. Strength was greatly increased and assembly simplified by carrying the roof arch all the way to the foundation. The Anderson Sheet Metal Co. of Providence, RI solved the technical problem of bending the corrugated sheets into a usable form (the answer lay in passing the sheets through large rollers in a process that produced "all kinds of tortured squealing" according to Robert McDonnell).

Several modifications were made during the war. The end bulkheads were typically finished with plywood to allow for the addition of doors and windows. Most were painted a dull olive to reduce visibility from the air. By the end of 1943, four foot overhangs were added to the end of the 48-foot length. This was to prevent heavy rains and sunlight from entering the hut through the end.

Living In a Quonset Hut Is Like Eating Spam. -Tim Clark (Yankee Magazine).

    It may seem strange that a place of eating, or "mess" as it is commonly called in the service, did not enter the scene of our camp. Arrangements were made before we arrived on Guam to eat with the Navy. Our mess was a large Quonset hut. Spam and beans seemed to be the only two products the Navy could muster out of their storehouse. One good result of not having our own mess hall was that we were never troubled by hungry Japanese.

    -John Paul Redmond, America's Greatest Generation

In June of 1941 the Navy made its earliest shipment of Quonset Huts abroad and by the mid-1950s, 160,000 Quonset Huts had been shipped to points all over the world. The original Quonset Hut could be erected by a crew of 8 men in a single day. Eventually a larger version of the Quonset was produced measuring 40' x 100,' weighing over 12 tons, it was officially called the "Steel Arch Rib Building" and nicknamed the "Elephant Hut." was developed.

By allowing for the rapid deployment of forward bases in war zones the hut could be flown in by helicopter and just as simply removed. Entire communities were built in a day. Facilitating a new kind of nomadic military, these instant modular cities could sustain troops on harsh terrains. The Quonset hut protected America's overseas Army presence and quietly contributed to the worldwide spread of U.S military power during the middle of the 20th century.

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful. - Mae West

Over the course of World War II there were between 150,000-170,000 Quonset huts manufactured. The distinctive half-moon shaped structure of corrugated steel the hut was used in all theaters of WWII and succeeding conflicts. Frequently several Quonsets were attached end to end or placed side by side. The largest wartime collection of huts was said to have been "a 54,000-square-foot warehouse on Guam called the Multiple Mae West."It rapidly became a classic military structure and a wide ranging emblem of military life. Many are still standing throughout the United States and other parts of the world.

For a period of time the Sacramento Peak Observatory was housed in one during the late 1940's; even a play called Tents of Tin written by Robert Finton in 1995. A 20-minute play at National Building Museum where an actor playing a serviceman from that era explained the history on these innovative structures, including a demonstration of how corrugation strengthens the hut's metal sheathing, along with a portrayal about what it was like to live in a "tin tent." Throughout the performance, the actor works with vintage and reproduction props.

After the war many Quonset huts were recycled as student housings at Universities, churches and small businesses. Surplus huts were sold to the public for $1000.00 and came in handy during the housing shortages in the late 40's.To see pictures of today's Quonset huts that have been preserved you can visit the Recent Past Preservation Network.

Sources:

BASE: The Quonset Hut
Accessed November 10, 2006.

The Instant Building
Accessed November 10, 2006.

No. 1278: Quonset Huts

Quonset Hut building: the timeless design:
mama.essortment.com/quonsethutsbui_rems.htm Accessed May 28,2000.

Sacramento Peak: Quonset Hut

USN ID tags
Accessed November 10, 2006.

Charade

The universe,
I hold,
is no charade,
No acted pun,
unriddled by a word.

-George Eliot, 1878.

Charades is a whimsical sport much older than the 1968 mystery/romance characterized in the movie. Traditionally the diversion has been the catch phrase for a number of games that involve guessing words or phrases. It's mentioned time and again in literature through out the 19th and 20th centuries similar to the way that bridge or whist is.

No doubt Scrooge and the Cratchit's amused themselves with the pastime during yuletide, once Ebenezer's heart was saved. This form of entertainment has been described as "A ridiculous pretence" or a farce. Primarily charades are riddles where syllables are to be guessed. Players would rely on enigmatic descriptions of the words or syllables. The silent form is called dumb charades and more recent versions are mimed in a dramatic presentation commonly referred to as acted charades.

The recorded history of charades dates back to the 16th century France where popular parlor games called Petit Jeux were composed of intellectual exercises created for evening fun. Some became so engaging that a few of the famous evenings have even been documented. One enthusiast at games-collector.com/ noted in 1985:

In 1654, King Louie XIV (sic) ballet danced the clues to a comedy of proverbs in front of his entourage. Queen Catherine the Great, in 18th Century Russia, used to make up her own dramatic proverbs to be acted out and solved by her court. The noted poet Alfred de Musset wrote his own proverbs for the game in 1831, and by the mid 19th Century Charades became the rage in England.

Many times charades were presented in prose or verse. A good example is the following taken from the more well known ones created by Winthrop Mackworth Praed:

My first is company;
my second shuns company;
my third collects company;
and my whole amuses company.

The Atlantic Puzzler (The Atlantic Monthly) explains how to make up the spoken riddle form of the game by breaking, "the answer into two or more convenient parts and define them sequentially, as in ...FARMING (agriculture) breaks into "far" (remote) and "Ming" (Chinese dynasty), and could be clued as "Agriculture in remote Chinese dynasty."

Today's most fashionable form of this delight is the acted charade in which the meaning of the different syllables is acted out on a stage where players mime each syllable of a word, a book title or movie and so on in consecutive acts, while the audience attempts to deduce the whole word or title. A stunning illustration of the acted charade is demonstrated in William Makepeace Thackeray's novel Vanity Fair written as a serial beginning in 1847 and ending in1848. Many have hailed it as a clever and absorbing critique of early 19th-century society. In chapter 51 entitled In Which a Charade Is Acted Which May or May Not Puzzle the Reader the King has come to dinner and following the meal a game of charades is played. Thackeray's scheming and manipulative main character Becky is at the heart of the tale. She portrays a symbolic role in the game as Clytemnestra who murdered her husband, Agamemnon when her lover's courage failed. Thus Becky's inclination for bumping off her significant other is implicit in her successful rendering because she plays the Greek goddess so believably the audience is horrified leaving one member convinced that Becky could commit murder.

By now the party game has gained such legendary status that pretty much everyone knows the rules. Some examples of a few of the standard signals in common use today are: to indicate a book title, a player puts their hands together as if praying, then unfolds them flat. To signify a film title the player forms an O with one hand to mime a lens while cranking the other hand as if they are running an old-fashioned movie camera. To show that one word sounds like another a player typically pulls on their ear. Players usually hold up fingers to show the number of words in the phase, then they hold up a number of fingers once more to point out which word they want the audience guess, finally holding their fingers against their arm indicates the number of syllables in a particular word.

Even though the nature of the game has changed it's been around a long time. No one really knows when or where the game arose, but historians say that the record keeping from the middle ages tells that the name of the game came from the French Provencal word charrado meaning a "long talk" or "chatter." Some say it could be of an echoic origin of charrar implying more specially "to chatter" and "gossip." Etymologists add that the Welsh word siarad is borrowed from French or English and its sense of "speak, a talk" is close to the original Provencal. Eventually the word reached a metaphorical meaning as a, "readily perceived pretense; a travesty: went through the charade of a public apology. "

Sources:

The American Heritage Dictionary , charade

Charades
Accessed May 26, 2005.

games2collect, Charades
Accessed May 26, 2005.

LoveToKnow Article on CHARADE
Accessed May 26, 2005.

OED, charade

Accessed May 26, 2005.

Online Etymology Dictionary, charade

Accessed May 26, 2005.

Puzzler Instructions
Accessed May 26,2005

Shade_Jon, BoardGameGeek
Accessed May 26, 2005.

On the Late Massecher in Piemont


The story behind this piece is almost completely forgotten but I think it deserves a place here. The original text of the poem was first published in John Milton's, Poems, 2nd edn. (London: Thomas Dring, 1673).

A striking piece of propaganda based on the Waldenses, an ancient Christian church many who under pressure from the Roman church during the 13th century, moved their settlement from Lombardy in the 13th century, into the hills of northern Italy and southern France (the Piemont or Piedmont). A series of bloody struggles in the late 15th century gained them the right to worship freely. Of central importance of the Waldensian religion was the rejection of graven images. This conviction was common as well to the Protestant sects which came into being in the 16th century; and the Waldenses were highly regarded by these new Protestants for the success with which they defended their faith.

Religion had become a central issue by the middle of the 17 th century and two camps formed Protestant and Catholic among the subsequent continental alliances . It was during this period that the Duke of Savoy annulled the treaty under which the Waldenses were protected from persecution. The subsequent massacres of the Waldenses by the Catholic authorities were among the most ghastly of that gruesome period.

Protestant entities, including England took a dim view of this. Milton's sonnet is just a small glimpse of the protest, but it is by itself in respect to anyone else other than scholars knows about any more.

In documents written by Milton as Latin secretary, Cromwell emphatically protested against such cruelty and treachery. Later in the year 1673, possibly after Cromwell's emissary, Sir Oliver Cromwell returned with his report, who may well have given Milton the details on his return, Milton composed his sonnet.

It was understood that the audience was to recall Tertullian's famous phrase, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church" along with the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:3-9 where the seed that fell on good ground brought forth as much as a hundredfold. The "stocks and stones" in the fourth line are the images around which worship centered in the Roman church. Such was to be the blood of these martyrs sown where the Pope-- The triple Tyrant: that from these may grow, a reference to his mitre with its three crowns, still rules. The last sentence is addressed to the Protestants to encourage conversions from the Whore of Babylon or the Roman Church from the rhetoric of the day, a referent to the Babylon of Revelation 16:19.

Sources:

Cromwell, Oliver:
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.

Lombary

Milton, John

Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner

Waldenses

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Green-Eyed Monster

The most talented artist of wordplay in the English language is clearly the Bard of Avon and by understanding his use of idioms his work becomes a part of why he remains fresh even today. William Shakespeare coined this colorful figure of speech in Othello. The imagery is so captivating that it has spun off any number of stories including ones for children, songs, as well as, recipes for alcoholic beverages. The Story of 'O' is director Tim Blake Nelson's controversial retelling of 'Othello' in a contemporary high school setting. Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen employs the unnatural beast in his lyrics for a concept, transforming a progression of emotions from green to blue.

    I love a small green candlestick,
    into a green-eyed monster
    of an altogether different stripe:
    I lit a thin green candle
    to make you jealous of me ....

    The poor man could hardly stop shivering
    his lips and fingers were blue
    I suppose that he froze when the wind
    took your clothes
    and I guess he just never got warm
    but you stand there so nice
    in your blizzard of ice
    oh please let me come into the storm.

    (Songs Of Leonard Cohen)
Green-eyed monsters come in all shapes and sizes, envy, avarice, revenge, suspicion, deceit, slyness, guilt, vanity, conceit, ambition, pride, and humility. Shakespeare's comes in the form of jealousy. So how did envy become associated with the color green? Perhaps it's because when people become sick they look green about the gills. Or maybe it comes from the color of bile. During the days of Shakespeare a doctor would frequently diagnosed ailments according to the color of bile and certainly jealousy can cause a gnawing feeling in the pit of the stomach.

Its unsavory reputation is firmly linked with one or more of three primary human instincts: the ego instinct, which is self-aggrandizement and preservation; the sexual instinct of self-perpetuation and extension; and the social instinct, or the self-alignment and identification with others. Through them humanity preserves its psyche, species, and the community. Jealousy has been a part of human relationships for a very long time, many experts speculate that jealousy is hard-wired into the human psyches by evolution as a way for ancestors who needed a good jealous rage to challenge other males who displayed bit too much interest in their mate. After the dust settled, the dominant male gets the female and the species propagates along his bloodline. But since head to head combat is no longer a socially acceptable resolution, modern men and women look to find other ways to dissipate these gripping and overwhelming emotions. So how about a good story about it?

Shakespeare makes an earlier hint of monstrosities to come with a similar description of jealousy through Portia in The Merchant of Venice. Her circumspection at the point of ecstasy is notably clairvoyant and an accurate forecast of the stages of Othello's career and couples it with a prayer that Desdemona's fate not be hers:

    How all the other passions fleet to air,
    As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair,
    And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy! O love,
    Be moderate; allay thy ecstasy,
    In measure rein thy joy; scant this excess.
    I feel too much thy blessing: make it less,
    For fear I surfeit.
    (The Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene 2)
Jealousy proceeds from the extravagance of love and is the most dangerous passion of the mind. In both plays strategic moments establish jealousy as an important component of the relationship between them. Shakespeare describes Envy as lean-faced, or black, or pale, and it's Desdemona who falls victim to this toady fiend in a tale of trust and betrayal, jealousy and envy of the noble Moor whose love for his wife Desdemona soon turns to tragic mistrust, anger and rage from an unfounded rumor of adultery. Duped by his disloyal underling, Iago, Othello reaches the point of even doubting his steadfast lieutenant, Cassio. By the end of the scandalous saga, Othello's faithful wife, Desdemona, (who can no longer surprise anyone who's been through high school English) it's revealed that the "honest" Iago teems with malicious subplots, emotional torture and eloquent lies. Desdemona stands wrongfully accused, and Othello has become the quarry of his own passionate nature. Using an allusion to cats as green-eyed monsters and the way that they play with mice before killing them. The villainous Iago hooks Othello like a fisherman angling for a prize salmon, turning his love for his wife into murderous jealousy, in his cunning plot to destroy the Moor of Venice:
    O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
    It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock
    The meat it feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss
    Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
    But, O, what damned minutes tells he o'er
    Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!
    (Othello; Act III, Scene 3)
Iago, jealous of the couple's relationship and Othello's position of military power, spins a web of lies that entangles everyone, exploding in disastrous results. But what Shakespeare tragedy would be complete without disastrous results? With a wink of Othello's "green-eyed monster," the author lays bare the basest of human emotions. The monster is symbolic of Othello's dark feelings, a specter lurking in his mind that begins to steer his behavior. Iago's deeply ironic speech highlights Othello's flaws, and the source of his tragedy; Othello has no idea of the significance of these statements.

Jealousy is common to everyone even more so we are all in one way or another victims of it and he destroys all of his characters as it over powers them leading to desperate and irrational acts. Getting in touch with the inner green eyed monster can consume one to the point of destroying everything in its path; relationships, trust, personal integrity and self esteem. Exceptional suffering and calamity, affects Othello the tragic hero, extending far beyond him.

Desdemona is completely innocent and killed by her jealous husband Othello, and guileless Cassio is nearly destroyed by his jealousy. Othello is the victim of Iago's jealousy, but it is really his own jealousy that brings about his death and the others in the play. However, Iago is far from a victim. He has all kinds of motives for wishing to destroy the happiness of others. Iago thinks Emillia has been unfaithful to him with Othello and is jealous of Cassio, Emillia attempts to protect her mistress' reputation and expose the real villain, her husband Iago, who silences her by killing her. Shakespeare seems to tell us that as painful as it may be, it is better to stare the monster in its green eyes, grieve the loss and move on than to be left dangling in the limbo of uncertainty and self-doubt. All of his characters have given way to their jealous feelings as the monster wreaks its destruction in this intense tragedy. Iago the cat torments the mouse over and over again in battle between order and chaos. Chaos wins out, Othello abandons reason by using Iago's "proofs," plunging all into chaos. Speculations and raging emotions rule Othello's fate, as he comes closer and closer to his tragic end and the audience watches its destructive influence on the characters with sympathy and horror. Sure, the play's the thing but one has to wonder just how innocent is Othello in all of this?