Jealousy has led many people to do monstrous things. Everything from locker room pranks that undermine the confidence of a star rookie to murderous former spouses, starts with the green-eyed MONSTER called jealousy.
Iago — the prototype human manipulator monster — plays on Othello’s fear of marital betrayal.
Oh, 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, oh, what damnèd minutes tells he o’er
Who dotes, yet doubts— suspects, yet soundly loves!
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein — and the few films and plays that follow her original storyline — jealousy drives the monster’s most horrendous choices. After being repeatedly rejected by people, he demands that his creator make him a companion — a wife. Dr. Frankenstein agrees but changes his mind and destroys his second creation, leaving his first monster to fester in a jealous stew of angst.
Mary Shelley’s genius is in her ability to make you care and identify with the monster — with his core of loneliness and despair — while abhorring his revenge against his maker. (He kills the doctor’s bride, arguing that neither of them should experience the happiness and fulfillment of having a mate.)
It all boils down to jealousy!
The green-eyed monster is at the heart of so many great stories. Let’s be free of it in real life and enjoy it on the page.