In Othello, jealousy drives the main characters to acts of deceit, betrayal and violence. At the most extreme end of the spectrum, Iago is a man no one wants to become. In The End of Jealousy, Hannah regards Iago and the other characters as a pipe dream. She teaches the words of Othello over and over again, but can’t relate to the emotion behind them – jealousy is an emotion that only exists on paper.
Tomorrow her students will face the death of Desdemona and, eventually, of Othello, too. Hannah will do her best to answer their questions about motives, but she will end the day with the same bittersweet sense of triumph and failure as she does every year. In two days’ time, her students will be happy to return to reading Walden, or at least as happy as her students are to be reading anything, and Hannah will return her beloved copy of Othello to her nightstand shelf at home.