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Love in the Tragedy "othello"

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The various types of love exemplified in the play are all questionable. Brabantio's love for his daughter seems more like possessiveness, and he is quick to disown and repudiate her; his dying of 'pure grief' may be a consequence of his loss of respect in Venetian society because of his daughter's 'match' and his shame at the prospect of 'filthy' progeny. Desdemona does not seem unduly worried to have lost her father's love and does not express her feelings towards him, except in one comment 'I have lost him too' (IV.2.46).

Self-love, the primary sin of pride, could be laid at Iago's door, and possibly Othello's. Roderigo is in the grip of infatuation, and obsessive but illusory form of love which can depart as quickly as it arrives, and apparently does so in his case. For Iago, romantic love does not exist, being 'merely a lust of the blood' and 'a permission of the will' (I.3.331), and this seems to describe not only his marriage but also Cassio's relationship with Bianca. Iago dishonestly avows his love for Othello, in the ancient and feudal traditions off dutiful affection between master and servant and brother-in-arms. Emilia is willing to lie for her husband and die for her mistress (despite having known her for only a matter of days), but both of these forms of love seem adulterated by impure motives--self- interest and guilt respectively.

For Othello, love is related to one's immortal soul and is expressed in heavy rhetoric and heavenly imagery, but this doesn't enable it to survive the first test. Desdemona's love does, but it is mixed with duty and the fear of being cast off again, and the audience wonders how much her vision of Othello is distorted by an unworldly and romantic lens.



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