Love in Othello

Powerful Essays
Love in Othello

In William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello, love comes in many colors. Consider Othello’s love of Iago; the ancient’s so-called love for Emilia; Desdemona’s spotless love for the general; Bianca’s love for Michael Cassio; Brabantio’s love for his daughter. This essay will explore the various types of love as portrayed in this tragedy.

Initially the play presents a very distorted type of love. Act 1 Scene 1 shows Roderigo, generous in his gifts to the ancient, questioning Iago’s love for the former, whose concern has been the wooing of Desdemona. Roderigo construes Iago’s love for him as based on the ancient’s hatred for the Moor. Thus the wealthy suitor says accusingly, “Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.” And Iago responds, “Despise me, if I do not.” Partly out of hatred for the general and partly out of proving his faithfulness to Roderigo’s cause, Iago asserts in detail the reasons for his hatred of Othello, who has given the lieutenancy to Michael Cassio, a Florentine. Secondly, Iago suggests that Roderigo and he awake and disturb Brabantio, the father of Desdemona:

Call up her father,

Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight,

Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen,

And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,

Plague him with flies: though that his joy be joy,

Yet throw such changes of vexation on't,

As it may lose some colour. (1.1)

Thus a hue and cry is raised in front of the senator’s residence – partly for the sake of Iago proving his love for Roderigo so that the financial rewards will continue coming to the soldier. Once the senator has been awakened, Iago makes a series of loud...

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... They do not point on me. (5.2)

The Moor straightway suffocates his innocent wife. Shortly, Emilia comes upon the scene, and Desdemona revives just enough to tell her friend that she dies a guiltless death. Her final words are ones of kindness for Othello, “Commend me to my kind lord: O, farewell!” Emilia exonerates Desdemona and accuses Iago of causing the murder. She actually gives her life for her lady since Iago stabs her to death for revealing the truth. Othello, grief-stricken by remorse for the tragic mistake he has made, stabs himself and dies on the bed next to his wife, his sorrow being as deep as his love for Desdemona prior to Iago’s machinations.


Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. No line nos.
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