When people think of envy, they usually have a negative connotation that goes along with it. Envy is the green-eyed monster and one of the seven deadly sins so it must be bad. As defined by one of Webster’s dictionaries, envy is “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage”. It is easy to say it is not a good thing to be envious of what another person has because one should be content with what they have in life. But envy can help motivate a person to get things they want that others have. It can help a person reach their goals and make that person more determined to get what they want.
I am currently reading Othello by Shakespeare and, no, I have not gotten very far into reading it. But speaking of envy I noticed that the villain of the story, Iago, is envious of what he does not have. Iago is envious of Cassio who has a higher position in the military than Iago. Iago expected to receive Cassio’s position but was disappointed when he did not get it. Instead of trying to work harder to out work Cassio for his job, Iago decides that if he cannot have that position than neither can Cassio. Iago devises a plan to make Cassio look bad in front of their commanding officer, Othello, to get Cassio fired. Iago’s plan works, and Cassio is fired. This leaves the position open for a new person and Iago hopes that Othello will assign him that position. Like I mentioned earlier, if Iago had worked harder than Cassio for his position than Iago would have been using envy in a good way. But when a person is envious of what another person has but does not want that person to have it, it is an example of bad envy.