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Othello: True Love and Self-love

Othello: True Love and Self-love

The William Shakespeare tragic play Othello manifests the virtue of love in all its variegated types through the assorted good and bad characters interacting with each other.

H. S. Wilson in his book of literary criticism, On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy, discusses the love of the Moor for his beloved even at the time of her murder:

And when he comes to execute justice upon Desdemona, as he thinks, he has subdued his passion so that he is a compound of explosiveness tenderness. Utterly convinced of Desdemona’s guilt and of the necessity of killing her (“Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men”), he yet loves her:

This sorrow’s heavenly;

It strikes where it doth love.(55)

In the volume Shakespeare and Tragedy John Bayley explains that there is both love and self-love in the play (201). 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.” In order to prove his love for Roderigo, Iago asserts in detail the reasons for his hatred of Othello, who has given the lieutenancy to Michael Cassio, a Florentine.

Secondly, Iago shows his love for his wealthy friend by rousing from sleep Brabantio, the father of Desdemona. Once the senator has been awakened, Iago makes a series of loud, crude, bawdy allegations against both the general and Desdemona. David Bevington in William Shakespeare: Four Tr…

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…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. No line nos.

Wilson, H. S. On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy. Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1957.

Othello Themes

In the play Othello by William Shakespeare there are many great themes that can be seen. For instance, jealousy, hatred, marriage, love, manipulation and more. This book can be related to the movie The Count of Monte Cristo by Kevin Reynold because they both share many themes. In the film there are themes like revenge, perseverance, ambition, manipulation, hatred, jealousy and more. The main themes that both stories have in common are hatred, manipulation and jealousy, because in both stories there were many situations were all these themes could be seen.

The first of many themes that were in these stories is hatred. In Othello, the villain seems to be motivated by hatred. Iago’s hatred and willpower to destroy the moor, Othello, appears out of proportion with his intensions. He is angry that Othello did not give him the position of lieutenant and he also thinks that Othello might have slept with his wife.

“Though I do hate him as I do hell’s pains

Yet for necessity of present life,

I must show out a flag and sign of love,

Which is indeed but sign.” (1.3.379-383)

“I hate the Moor:

And it is thought abroad, that ‘twixt my sheets

He has done my office: I know not if’t be true;

But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,

Will do as if for surety. “(1.3.379-383)

These two quotes are some of many that show hatred in this story. These two are Iago saying that his hatred for Othello is all based on jealousy. As A.C.Bradley says in his essay “Othello’s downfall lies with the fact that he is not observant and his nature tends outwards”. In the movie the theme of hatred is shown mostly through Fernand Mondego and Baron Danglars’s actions. Mondego is Dantè’s contender for Mercédès love. He helps set up Dantè so t…

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… then killing himself after he realizes that everything was a lie. In the movie, jealousy can be seen between Edmond and Fernand, they both wanted the same thing, which was to have the heart of Mercedes.

In conclusion, these stories are very similar in many ways. Out of all the themes that could be used to compare the two, the most important ones are hatred, manipulation and hatred. Hatred is disliking some one or something and there are many characters that dislike each other. Manipulation is using your creativity to come up with a way to get someone to believe something that is not true. Lastly, jealousy, which is wanting something that someone else has and doing things to get it which is what Iago did in the play and Fernand did in the movie.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William, and Jane Coles. Othello. Cambridge, England: Cambridge UP, 1992. Print.

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