The William Shakespeare tragedy Othello features various types of love, but none compare to the love we find between the protagonist and his wife. In this essay let us examine “love” as found in the play.
In her book, Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies, Maynard Mack comments on the love that exists between the hero and heroine:
Magical in my view, though I know how far opinions differ on this point, as a way of asking us to recognize that the love these lovers share before Iago’s corruption sets in does indeed have magic in its web, contains a “work” (3.3.296) that a relationship like Cassio’s and Bianca’s can never match or “take out,” commands a power that sets it as far above the commonplace as Desdemona is in the radiant generosity and innocence that makes her vulnerable, as Othello is in the “free and open nature” (1.3.393) that makes him vulnerable, and in the courage and determination to do justice on himself that earns the closing accolade: “For he was great of heart” (5.2.361). (131)
In similar fashion, Lily B. Campbell in Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroes indicates the perfect type of love emanating from both the heroine and the general:
The simple and noble love of Othello and Desdemona is known to us all, but it must be noted that Desdemona, like Cordelia, loves both her father and her husband in reason. [. . .] That her love is the perfect love which philosophers found to blend the love of body and of mind is evident [. . .] That Othello’s love too is a love that is noble and perfect is evident in his simple:
She lov’d me for the dangers I had pass’d,
And I lov’d her that she did pity them. (155)
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...ngs on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Shakespeare: The Pattern in His Carpet. N.p.: n.p., 1970.
Gardner, Helen. “Othello: A Tragedy of Beauty and Fortune.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from “The Noble Moor.” British Academy Lectures, no. 9, 1955.
Mack, Maynard. Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.
Pitt, Angela. “Women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Shakespeare’s Women. N.p.: n.p., 1981.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos.