Love vs. War in Othello

Categories: Othello

What is love? Such a simple question can have an infinite amount of answers. To some love towards someone is always unconditional. To others love is sacrificing your own happiness for someone else’s. And of course there are some that even say that love is nothing but a myth. However, in Shakespeare’s Othello it is revealed that love is dangerous, has no restrictions, and may turn into a toxic battle. The protagonist, Othello, is an old black military general who is married to Desdemona, a young, white, and Venetian woman.

The dichotomy of love and war is explored in Othello through Othello’s incapacity of detachment with Desdemona and preservation of his own dignity; which causes him to kill his own wife.

Desdemona goes against the Venetian custom of marrying a white, rich man and instead marries Othello. Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, is against her marriage with Othello, making their love a forbidden one. Desdemona falls in love with Othello and goes against her father.

As Desdemona explains why she wants to join Othello to Cyprus, she says, “I saw Othello’s visage in his mind, And to his honors and his valiant parts Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate” . Desdemona admires everything about Othello’s nature and character. She is truly drawn to him because of his work, adventures, and heroism. Othello’s experiences of victories and war is what attracts Desdemona, but is also what steals her love away from him.

The love that Desdemona and Othello share has no emotional restrictions.

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Although there are devastating physical boundaries such as the command set between them to not interact, Desdemona and Othello’s love never dies out. Consequently, Othello attempts to preserve his dignity, honor, and dominance by killing his own wife. After Othello murders Desdemona for supposedly cheating she still manages to love him indefinitely. When Desdemona is asked who has murdered her, she replies, “Nobody. I myself. Farewell. Commend me to my kind lord. Oh, farewell!” (5.2.125). On Desdemona’s death bed she is still taking the blame for Othello’s actions since she is absolutely in love with him. immense satisfaction and pleasure is only temporary and must come to an end at one point or another. In Romeo and Juliet, their immense love for each other did not end, however their

Although though Romeo and Juliet’s love was dangerous and included many restrictions, it was unbreakable. After Juliet is told by her father that she must marry Paris, she runs to Romeo’s father, the priest, and asks for death. This is showing how powerful and everlasting Juliet’s love for Romeo was, that she would rather die than be with anyone other than her Romeo. In the book, Juliet tells her nurse, “That ‘banishèd,’ that one word ‘banishèd,’ Hath slain ten thousand Tybalts. There is no end, no limit, measure, bound, In that word’s death. No words can that woe sound.” Juliet is comparing the banishment of Romeo to the death of Tybalt by saying that Romeo being banishment is far worse. For Juliet, being separated from Romeo is the same as being dead.

All in all, love is a very powerful word that expresses true commitment. Romeo and Juliet convey this image of love by teaching us that you must never give up on the ones you love, no matter how difficult the battle is. Shakespeare quotes, “If love be rough with you, be rough with love”. This quote reveals to us that you must treat love the same that love treats you, and if it is rough with you, you must be rough with it in order to continue loving.

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Love vs. War in Othello. (2021, Apr 22). Retrieved from

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