Greed and green | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 05, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, February 05, 2019

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Greed and green

Sure sure! Going green is always great when it comes to matters of littering, or saving the environment, or ditching cars for cycles and so on. But have you considered whether that applies to your persona as well, because green, in terms of persona, is not exactly something to brag about. There's a reason why the raging unstoppable Hulk we all know and fear from the comic book sports the colour, and not just to make him pop on the pages and screens.

Fun fact — the concept of envy, one of the seven deadly sins, and greed, being symbolised with green only came into being through two specific events.

The concept of green for envy and jealousy came about from William Shakespeare's famously tragic play, 'Othello,' a story filled with jealousy and betrayal. In the play, Iago, is driven mad with jealousy and envy and wreaks havoc on the life of the titular character. This entire notion was kicked off with Shakespeare's description of Iago's treachery as a "green-eyed monster which doth mock...".

There was a pervious mention in another one of Shakespeare's plays, The Merchant of Venice, where Portia says "green-eyed jealousy". But it was 'Othello' that cemented this relationship. As for its association with greed, look no further than the most powerful currency in the world — the US dollar bill, also in green. Of course, this 'green' term for money was mostly an American thing. So naturally, every Tom, Abdul, and Igor started using green to refer to money, even if their currency was a sickly looking shade of pink. You can chalk this down to our unhealthy obsession with replicating American culture.

Pop culture has not left green alone either, using the base Shakespeare had left behind, many fictional characters had been created with the colour palette, either to represent their association with the baddie camp, or to demonstrate the not so positive traits about them.

Remember Michael "Mike" Wazowsk from Monsters. Inc? You know, the round one eyed green monster who sometimes let his ego get the better of him? Or, Greedo, the green skinned alien bounty hunter from the original Star Wars film, who famously tried to kill Han Solo but got shot off instead because he could not control his greed for one minute?

How about the gill-man from the famous classic 'Creature from The Black Lagoon'? And who could ever forget the Grinch, the one who stole Christmas!

Let's also not forget that the most favoured colour to portray witches in cinemas has always been green. And then, there is of course the most famous representation of anger, loss of control, and disregard for anything, the Hulk.

Sure, the marvel movies have you believing that Scarlet Johansson could turn back the raging monster just by tickling his palm, but that just works because its ScarJo. In the comics, and without ScarJo, Hulk will do only one thing: smash!

 So one side of the argument for green is its symbolism for all things nature and eco and living in huts with no electricity and embracing the Tarzan life, while the other talks of the jealousy, greed, and envy that one only finds in high society circles or our aunties in the neighbourhood.

So which do you lean on?

Well, Shakespeare, and artists after him have done a mighty good job of creating the persona of green as a negative. But thanks, in part, to our own destructive nature, we have caused some mighty damage to the environment, and now, the green refers to all things eco and saving the planet.

So, go green, but remember, keep it just to cleaning and saving the planet, and not the other side.

 

Photo: Collected

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