The problem of Othello's jealousy has been studied a lot. Othello falls into mental disorder and murders Desdemona by jealousy. Critics argue that Othello's jealousy stems from his age, birth, race, impotency and so on. But these approaches do not tell us about Othello's unconsciousness. The purpose of this study is to examine Othello's psycho-pathological aspect from Cameron's and Rychlak's theory on paranoia.
Cameron and Rychlak classified paranoia into paranoid delusion of persecution, paranoid delusion of jealousy, paranoid erotic delusions, paranoid delusions of grandeur. Among the four the delusions of persecution and jealousy are conspicuous in Othello. Othello thinks that he has been victimized and suffers from the sense of inferiority due to war and racial discrimination, which cause him to be trapped in these two delusions. Othello attacks Desdemona and Cassio owing to the delusion of persecution, because Othello has the fear that she commits adultery with Cassio. So he projects the fear on them unconsciously. In result he believes he is going to be attacked and killed by them.
Othello also threatens to kill Desdemona and Cassio because of the delusion of jealousy. This delusion reconstructs and distorts reality and keeps Othello from seeing it. So Othello suspects that Desdemona and Cassio conspire and he believes his guess is true. As a result Othello harbors hatred for Cassio and Desdemona. Othello believes he is betrayed by her, for he is a Moor and she desires sexual relationship with Cassio. Othello decides to kill Cassio and Desdemona in order to protect his self-esteem.
Through Othello's delusions Shakespeare shows us how Othello murders Desdemona due to the false belief that he is victimized and the inferiority complex.Othello teaches us that we must overcome our inferiority complex and marital relationship should be based on mutual confidence.