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Love Through The Ages | Othello

Ruth Owen | Wednesday October 12, 2011

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Guide Navigation

  1. Studying For The Exam
  2. Examples From Literature
  3. About The Exam
  4. Further Reading
  5. The Examination
  6. Symptoms of Love, Graves
  7. On Chesil Beach
  8. The First Tooth, Lamb
  9. The Deserter
  10. The Soldier, Brooke
  11. A Lady of Letters
  12. Sonnet 130, Shakespeare
  13. Measure for Measure
  14. Hamlet
  15. King Lear
  16. Equus
  17. Great Expectations
  18. Enduring Love
  19. Mid-Term Break, Heaney
  20. Your Last Drive
  21. The Going
  22. The Waste Land, Elliot

Othello

William Shakespeare 1565-1616

Othello is a very suitable play for the examination of several types of love. Because of the link with Lear, it would be a good idea to start an exploration of the different types of love dealt with in Lear by once more looking at the parent / child bond. Desdemona, a high class Venetian white woman has married, without her father’s knowledge, Othello, a black general of the Venetian army. Desdemona, no matter how romantic it all may seem, has committed an act of betrayal in marrying without her father, Brabantio’s, consent. Brabantio asks her directly in front of the Duke and the Senate where her loyalties should lie.

Brabantio:

Do you perceive in all this company
Where most you owe obedience.

Desdemona:

My noble father
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 lord of all my duty,
I am hitherto your daughter. 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.

Brabantio:

God be wi’you! I have done.

Note the speed of the change in attitude here to the daughter who has wronged him and see how similar this turnaround is to King Lear’s hasty casting off of the daughter but minutes earlier he had referred to as ‘our joy’.

Brabantio’s final words to Othello are of great significance – can you say why?

Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see.
She has...


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