betryal othello Question:Examine the role of love and betrayal in the play? Othello is one of the many brilliant plays, which capture hearts of a wide audience, written by the great author William Shakespeare. This play is considered to be one of Shakespeare’s excellent pieces of writing based on tragedies, up to date. The play unfolds with themes such as romance, love which eventually ends in betrayal, tragedy, agony, which makes the Othello a wonderful play to discuss. What is love?
How Shakespeare illustrates delicately the qualities of love as tolerance, compassion, kindness, sensitiveness, happiness and sadness within different characters in the play. What is betrayal? How Shakespeare portrays the theme of betrayal by changing the love into mistrust and misunderstanding which finally leads to hatred and untimely death of compassionate lovers. It is interesting to know how both themes together create a brilliant play of tragedy. With in all the themes blended in the play “Othello”, Love is a theme that is very much evident to the wide audience of Shakespeare plays.
Like in other stories of Shakespeare, “Othello” speaks of love by using main characters to influence the audience with the idea of love. Greatest love of all characters is shown by Desdemona the honest and truthful wife of Othello. Desdemona, because of the love and trust she has on Othello chooses to leave her dad, to lead a happy life with the love of her life. “I do perceive here a divided duty. To you I am bound for life and education; My life and education both do learn me How to respect you. You are the lord of duty; I am hitherto your daughter.
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But here’s my husband, And so much duty as my mother showed To you, preferring you before her father, So much I challenge, that I may profess due to the Moor my lord” (758). The love Desdemona has for her husband makes her hide the truth about her missing handkerchief because she was well aware that Othello will be hurt to know the truth. Love and passion Othello has towards Desdemona are shown in many parts of the play. Overflowing love that Othello has towards Desdemona creates jealousy and in return causes the death of Desdemona.
Unconditional love that Othello has for Desdemona is clearly shown when he kills himself after the death of his lover. “I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss” (858). The love Desdemona has for Othello was not shaken till her last breath even though Othello’s love for Desdemona is corrupted by jealousy. Roderigo another brilliant character who is enticed by the emotion of love goes to an extent of killing others because of the love he has towards Desdemona.
One other relationship of love and friendship is seen between Emilia and Desdemona. Emilia stands up for Desdemona, her innocent mistress, to prove her innocence by bringing her husband’s bad deeds to the sight of Othello. Even though Emilia steals her mistress’s handkerchief because of her love towards her husband, she ends up standing up for her loving mistress. Iago uses love as a source of advantage to gain success in revenge. He fakes love as a friend to Cassio, Rodrigo, as a husband to Emilia for his own benefit.
Iago’s idea of love is control. “It is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will. ” (763). He uses people’s affections towards love as a weapon to create a friction between characters which eventually leads to betrayal. One element that is often pointed out by Shakespeare in the play is betrayal. Iago a well known character plays the center role in most betrayals that’s taking place in the play. The character Iago is addressed as honest Iago. “Iago is most honest” (Shakespeare 2. 3. 777).
Even though he is known to be honest he uses everyone’s trust against them and plants fake ideas which crate conflicts. Iago, jealous of Cassio who is second in command to Othello, gets Cassio drunk and brings shame on him in the presence of Othello. Roderigo is a person who can be tricked easily; this fact gives Iago a chance to create hatred between Roderigo and Othello. Iago is convinced that Roderigo is in love Desdemona so he creates friction between Roderigo and Othello with the idea of Othello mistreating Desdemona.
Above all Othello is being betrayed by Iago in numerous parts of the play. Iago’s jealousy towards Othello’s position as a great general, Iago develops rude intentions of getting revenge by running Othello’s reputation, then creating doubts in Othello’s heart about his dear wife Desdemona. Othello being fooled and manipulated by Iago, convinced Desdemona’s love is fake, end up murdering his innocent wife. “I follow him to serve my turn upon him” (Shakespeare 1. 1. 44:742).
However, even though Iago plays an important part in the play, all the other characters play a role of betrayal at some point or the other. Emalia who is playing the character of Iago’s wife betrays her husband by telling Othello that she stole the handkerchief for her husband, which eventually leads to the death of both Emalia and Iago. “O thou dull Moor! That handkerchief thou speak’st of I found by fortune and did give my husband; For often, with a solemn earnestness, More than indeed belonged to such a trifle, He begged of me to steal ‘t” (853).
The character Desdemona who is known to be innocent, sweet wife of Othello betrays her husband by hiding the fact that she lost the handkerchief, making her husband suspect her more on the fact that she is having an affair with Cassio. “It is not lost; but what an if it were? ” (Shakespeare 3. 4. 809). “Fetch me the handkerchief! My mind misgives” (Shakespeare 3. 4. 809). The biggest betrayal is somehow caused by Othello by blindly trusting evil Iago and not listening to his loving, truthful wife, which causes most of the deaths in the play.
Trusting the wrong person and reacting to certain situations without thinking can lead to great tragedy which Shakespeare the great writer has depicted in the play “Othello”. As mentioned in the introduction the theme love is a combination of various different factors. At the beginning Shakespeare leaves a question mark within the audience as to what love is. After a throw analysis, Desdemona and Othello’s love seems as innocent, romantic love fails because of the lack of a strong foundation of trust, communication which causes romantic love eventually turns into a love of profane.
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