Jealousy is the most prominent theme in Othello. It is the driving force behind the play's tragic events. Othello's jealousy of his wife Desdemona's perceived infidelity leads him to murder her, and his own undoing. Shakespeare presents jealousy as a destructive emotion that can lead to madness and violence.
Betrayal is another major theme in Othello. Almost every character in the play is betrayed in some way. Othello feels betrayed by his wife, who he believes has been unfaithful to him, and by his friend and advisor, Iago, who manipulates him into believing this lie. Desdemona is betrayed by Othello, who murders her based on false accusations. Even Iago, the play's primary villain, is betrayed by his own wife, who betrays him by revealing his plans to Othello.
Racism is also a significant theme in Othello. The play is set in Venice, where Othello, a black man, is a military general. He faces racism from several characters, including Iago, who repeatedly insults him and refers to him as an "old black ram." Shakespeare portrays the consequences of racism through the play's tragic ending, which is the result of Othello's internalization of the racist attitudes towards him.
Manipulation is another key theme in Othello. Iago manipulates almost every character in the play to achieve his own goals. He manipulates Othello into believing that Desdemona is unfaithful, and he manipulates Cassio into getting drunk and losing his position as lieutenant. Through his manipulation, Iago reveals the dark side of human nature and the ease with which people can be persuaded to act against their better judgment.
In conclusion, Othello is a play that explores several themes that are still relevant today. Jealousy, betrayal, racism, and manipulation are all explored in depth through the characters' actions and dialogue. Shakespeare's portrayal of these themes has contributed to the play's enduring popularity and its continued relevance to modern audiences.