The Varieties of Love in Othello

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The Varieties of Love in Othello The meaningful term “love” can be applied to differing relationships in Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello. In this essay let us examine under a microscope the “love” that we find throughout the play. David Bevington in William Shakespeare: Four Tragedies describes how “love” is attacked from the outset of Othello: Daringly, Shakespeare opens this tragedy of love not with a direct and sympathetic portrayal of the lovers themselves, but with a scene of vicious insinuation about their marriage. The images employed by Iago to describe the coupling of Othello and Desdemona are revoltingly animalistic, sodomistic. [. . .] This degraded view reduces the marriage to one of utter carnality, with repeated emphasis on the word “gross”: Desdemona has yielded “to the gross clasps of the lascivious Moor,” and has made “a gross revolt” against her family and society (II.129, 137). (218) Fortunately, the love between hero and heroine is allowed to survive the initial two scenes of the drama. Blanche Coles in Shakespeare’s Four Giants elaborates on the deep, pure love shared by the tragic hero and heroine of the drama: The Senate scene should be studied carefully in order to reach an adequate appreciation of the frankly declared love of these newly wedded people. Only by realizing the great depth of their love can one grasp the enormity of Iago’s hideous crime against them. Some of the commentators tell us that it was a love in which one great soul called to another, but each reader must find his own evidence of such a love in the lines of the play. Careful study will convince him that theirs was a greater, deeper love than the impetuous love of Romeo and Juliet or... ... middle of paper ... ...h. 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. WORKS CITED Bevington, David, ed. William Shakespeare: Four Tragedies. New York: Bantam Books, 1980. Coles, Blanche. Shakespeare’s Four Giants. Rindge, New Hampshire: Richard Smith Publisher, 1957. Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. No line nos.
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