In English-speaking cultures, envy is often associated with the color green , as in "green with envy", and yellow .  Yellow is the color of ambivalence and contradiction; a color associated with optimism and amusement; but also with betrayal, duplicity, and jealousy.  The phrase "green-eyed monster" refers to an individual whose current actions appear motivated by jealousy not envy. This is based on a line from Shakespeare's Othello . Shakespeare mentions it also in The Merchant of Venice when Portia states: "How all the other passions fleet to air, as doubtful thoughts and rash embraced despair and shuddering fear and green-eyed jealousy!"