William Shakespeare's Othello

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What are some of the first themes that come to mind when thinking of Othello? Perhaps a theme that comes to mind is treachery, exploitation, envy, or even racism. What about love versus war? What about the fact that Othello was a soldier who was not able to balance his war love with his love life? Othello is a military general who has a long experience of war as well as a long experience of victories. He has spent most of his life defending Venice due to his strong will, his love for the city, and for his hate of defeat. His victories in battle and war have brought him Desdemona’s love, but alas, it has also taken her love away from him. The incompatibility of military heroism and love is a battle that Othello loses within himself. As Shakespeare explores this theme of military heroism’s incompatibility with love and the internal struggle between man as soldier and man as lover, its shocking climax erupts on the isolated island of Cyprus. As a Moor of the highest ranking in the Venetian army, Othello is provided with acceptance, respect, and honor of all as a soldier. His reputation granted him entry into the white society around him, and his countless victories and war stories have won the heart of the senator’s daughter Desdemona. She says, “I saw Othello’s visage in his mind, And to his honors and his valiant parts Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.” (Navigators). Having captured the love of his life’s heart with his war stories and dangerous experiences, Othello struggles to live up to this image of a striking soldier in everyday life (Alzoabi). In the play, once the Turks have gone down, Othello was left with nothing to do. No longer having means of proving his manhood on the battlefield, he felt stripped of his power.... ... middle of paper ... ...his is when Othello truly shows that his career and his life as a soldier mean a little bit more to him than his love life does. Here he is saying that he would have happy if the whole army had sex with Desdemona. He did not care if the lowest ranking grunts or even all of them had sex with her, as long as he did not know about it. Othello goes on to say his goodbyes. He says goodbye to his peace of mind. Goodbye to his happiness. To the soldiers and the wars that make men great. Goodbye to the horses, the trumpets, the drums, the flute, the marvelous banners, and all those proud displays and flaunt of war. Goodbye to the deadly cannons that roar like thunderbolts thrown by the gods. He ends by saying, “Othello’s career is over.” Othello is more disappointed that his career as a soldier and warrior is over for good than he is that Desdemona is accused for adultery.

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