Does Othello Love Desdemona and Why Jealousy is Blind

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Through William Shakespeare’s Othello, not only does it show the consequences of blindly trusting others, but it also shows exactly how this may happen. Readers are able to witness the development of the main “protagonist” Othello, who was a highly respected leader and soldier. But, his change in language, dialogue, and tone show how he went from being a very understanding and caring person, to becoming accusational and angry, especially towards his wife, Desdemona. This change heavily influences the play because it expedites the plot and Desdemona’s ultimate death.

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At first, Othello was shown to be a compassionate and very understanding person, especially towards his wife, Desdemona. He concisely states, “But that I love the gentle Desdemona”. By using the words “love” and “gentle”, it makes it obvious to readers that Othello truly loves and cherishes his wife. The word “gentle” also brings about a feeling of innocence and usually describes someone who could do no harm, which shows that in this moment, he adored her and viewed her in a positive light. Later on, Othello says about Desdemona: ‘Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul, But I do love thee! and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again’. At this point, Othello is having doubts that Desdemona is actually cheating; he still wants to believe she would never do such a thing. Because he is still not fully convinced, he obviously can’t stop loving her. By using the oxymoron “excellent wretch”, it highlights the idea that Othello’s view of Desdemona is conflicting. But, he goes on to use the word “love” and “chaos”. With this, it shows readers that because he still loves her so much, if he ever stopped loving her, chaos would follow. This is significant because for readers, it foreshadows the plot and shows a glimpse of the “chaos” that would arrive if he stopped loving and being understanding towards Desdemona.

As the play goes on, Iago is able to get into Othello’s head and suggests to him that Desdemona was actually cheating on him with Cassio. Because of this, Othello starts becoming more and more angry and accusational, losing his love for Desdemona. Othello confirms this idea when he says, ‘Look here, Iago; All my fond love thus do I blow to heaven. ‘Tis gone’. By directly saying that his “fond love” is “gone”, it shows that the plot is quickly changing from this point on. After this, readers know that Othello no longer loves Desdemona, which makes readers wonder what will happen to Desdemona as a result. Othello goes on to say that his ‘bloody thoughts, with violent pace, Shall ne’er look back, ne’er ebb to humble love, Till that a capable and wide revenge, Swallow them up’. His use of harsh and sharp words like “bloody”, “violent”, and “revenge” show that Othello is extremely angry and will not stop until he gets revenge and does damage to Desdemona.

So, does Othello love Desdemona? In the end, Othello’s development from being understanding and caring to becoming angry and wanting revenge heavily affects the plot because it pushes him to the edge. This ultimately leads to Desdemona’s death because Othello was so blinded by anger that he couldn’t give her the benefit of the doubt and instead, jumped to conclusions. Even though Desdemona stayed faithful to Othello and continued trying to plead her innocence by saying, “I never did, Offend you in my life; never loved Cassio”, Othello refused to believe her. Desdemona even says, “A guiltless death I die”, as one of her last attempts to convince Othello, but in the end, he kills her.

This goes to show that although the plot of a story can stand on its own, the characters in it and how they develop throughout are important to the plot’s progression. Othello is seen to have changed from being an understanding person, to someone who only wanted blood and revenge. This unfortunately lead to him killing the one person who truly loved him the most, making the plot more interesting and unique.  

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