Summary: Love That Beats All Odds

Love can affect a person’s psychological patterns. In the play Othello by Shakespeare, Othello and Desdemona are caught in a difficult position as they love each other dearly but have a number of setbacks to their relationship including race, trouble with family members and village members that did not approve of their relationship. However, that did not stop Othello and Desdemona from being madly in love. Othello displays his affection based off of his infatuation through his humble character, jealousy from the people around him and betrayal from his inner demons towards Desdemona.

The progression of Othello and Desdemona’s love displays the true emotion that they had for each other. Othello and Desdemona have a tragic love story. Othello loved Desdemona to the point of her death. It was Othello’s love that pushed him to kill Desdemona.

Othello and Desdemona the two main characters of the play express their love for each other early on in their relationship.

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Although during the 16th century interracial marriage was forbidden (Lee, 1) Desdemona and Othello took each other’s hand in marriage (1.1.76) behind Desdemona’s father Brabantio’s back “…If’t be your pleasure, and most wise consent, As partly I find it is, that your fair daughter, at this odd-even and dull watch o’th night, Transported with no worse nor better guard” (1.1.118-121). Despite Brabantio’s outrage of the marriage “Fathers from hence trust not your daughters’ minds, by what you see them act. Is not their charms” (1.1.167-168) Desdemona and Othello still became one in marriage.

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Desdemona’s father Brabantio compared Desdemona to a deceiver, yet Othello and Desdemona still got married, not letting Desdemona’s father, Othello’s race, or 16th century norms get in the way as they felt a deep connection with each other “…I love the gentle Desdemona” (1.2.25). Brabantio compared Othello to a moor (1.1.161) and wanted him nowhere near his daughter however, Othello compared Desdemona to gentle which allows us to see his love for her through his kind attitude towards her (1.1. 25-27). Othello never once retaliated or started a fight instead he proceeds to explain in a calm way that he is married to Desdemona (1.2.26-28). Othello showcases his infatuation towards Desdemona through his actions as he could have been hurt or killed for marrying her (Lee, 1), yet Othello still married Desdemona. Othello was not concerned of the consequences of his decision as he loved Desdemona and did not want to lose his relationship. In coherence to the theme of love, Desdemona accepted Othello’s past which not only helped him grow as a person but also helped the love in their relationship grow (“The” 1). Othello loved Desdemona as she never made him feel less of himself based off of where he came from which was war, instead she was sympathetic towards him; “She loved me for the dangers I had past, And I loved her that she pity them” (1.3.166-167). Desdemona could have easily been with someone else who had a simpler life however Othello’s past fascinated her. Desdemona displayed her humble character towards Othello by accepting his past. The text invites us to believe that Othello’s love grew for Desdemona considering that she had remorse for his past and made him feel vulnerable to her emotions. Othello loved that Desdemona pitied his trials that he had been through (1.3.167). Othello and Desdemona’s love progressed and became stronger when Othello admitted that he did not steal Brabantio’s daughter but instead married her for the true love that he had for her “For such proceeding I am charged withal- I won his daughter” (1.3.93-94). Othello admitted to marrying Desdemona even though he could have been thrown in jail for his confession of his marriage. Othello proclaimed that Desdemona would have the same story as him and that it was in fact true that they had married each other “Send for the lady to the Sagittary…If you do find me foul in her report…Not only take away, but let your sentence, Even fall upon my life” (1.3.115, 117-119). Othello was willing to lose his life over his truth of the marriage, but Brabantio needed further affirmation as he did not believe Othello as he constantly called Othello a liar and a thief “O foul thief, where hast thou stowed my daughter?” (1.2.62-63). Desdemona confirmed her love for Othello just as he had previously done when she replies to her father saying that she did marry Othello “I am hitherto your daughter. But here’s my husband [Othello]” (1.3.183). Desdemona had a choice to either keep the relationship with her father and do as he would instruct her or to continue her relationship with her husband Othello. Desdemona chose to be with Othello, which was one of the greatest sacrifices she could have made (1.3.184-185) and she made that decision to show her commitment to her marriage. Both Othello and Desdemona condone in the theme of tragic love as they made sacrifices for each other which could have put them in great danger, but they did it for each other (1.3.119). Desdemona and Othello’s love solidifies true love as they were willing to injure great danger for each other including hatred, disgust and even death.

Jealousy is a prominent theme that lingers as Othello and Desdemona’s relationship progresses. However, the jealousy that Othello feels only persuades his love for Desdemona even more. Even after Iago is pushing for Othello to intrigue feelings of jealousy, Othello admits that he will only be jealous if there is proof “Think’st thou I’d make a life of jealousy…I’ll see before I doubt; when I doubt prove; away at once with…jealousy!” (3.3.179, 193-194). Even though everyone was forcing Othello’s love away by trying to prove suspicions that were not true, Othello stayed faithful in what he believed suggesting that he would only bring light to the situation if there was solid proof, which displayed his love for Desdemona even more that he would only believe that words that came out of her mouth (3.3.192-194). Furthermore, in the story as Iago tried to persuade Othello a little further Othello explains that he believes that his wife is honest “I do not think but Desdemona’s honest” (3.3.228). Othello being the bigger person in the situation still wants to see proof of Desdemona’s dishonesty “Be sure of it, give me the ocular proof” (3.3.361). Othello’s love for Desdemona has him blind to the fact that she might be with another man as Othello still agrees with his wife “I think my wife be honest” (3.3.385) where Iago then counter acts against him saying that he is distracted by his love “I see you are eaten up with passion” (3.3.392). The metaphor that Iago uses invites us to believe that Othello is deeply in love with Desdemona that he cannot possibly think about his wife possibly cheating on him. Othello continues to abundantly believe and side with his wife when Iago pushes at him with another metaphor; “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock” (3.3.168-169). Iago’s use of this metaphor compares Othello to a green-eyed monster (“The”,1) which associates Othello to the literal term which is someone who is jealous and wants to attack someone (“Green”, 1). Iago pushes Othello psychologically to think of hurting Desdemona just to prove that he loves her (3.3.168-169). Jealousy continued to build in Othello as his relationship with Desdemona continues; Othello is put in a position where he makes decisions based off the love (“The”,1), he has for Desdemona through his jealous feelings which overall contribute to the theme of his tragic love for Desdemona.

The love that Othello had for Desdemona took a turn from the feeling of jealousy to the feeling of betrayal when different emotions take over him from what he was hearing from everyone around him. When Othello thought that Desdemona had deceived him by sleeping with another man [Cassio], he decided that the only way to deal with the cheating scandal properly was to kill her “Death and damnation” (3.3.398). Even after the thought of murdering Desdemona arose, Othello still asked himself one more time what the reason was for him to harm her and if he should go through with his plan, as he loved her and was only making this decision to prove his love “Give me a living reason she’s disloyal” (3.3.410). Othello shows his thoughtful character one more time as he never jumped into any conclusions but let multiple clues lead him to this decision. Iago kept edging Othello on to believe that Desdemona had slept with Cassio “Their affairs; one of this kind is Cassio, in sleep I heard him say, “Sweet Desdemona, Let us be wary, let us hide our loves!” (3.3.418-420). In Iago constantly playing with Othello’s emotions, Othello felt as if he needed to do something quick to turn the attention back on him and his relationship with Desdemona. Iago knew exactly how to get a reaction out of Othello “O monstrous! Monstrous! (3.3.427). At this time as A.C Bradley put it in his short analysis, Othello brought the beast in himself out “such jealousy as Othello converts human nature into chaos, and liberates the beast in man” (Bradley, 262). Othello himself uses a metaphor when he says that he is going to hurt her “I’ll tear her all to pieces” (3.3.432). When Othello says he is going to tear her to pieces he is trying to convey that he is planning to kill her. Although Othello continued to proclaim his love for Desdemona his emotions change from sweet love to angry love when he realizes that Desdemona might have deceived him. Later in the story, Iago explains that he saw Cassio with the same handkerchief that Othello gave Desdemona “I am sure it was your wife’s-did I today, See Cassio wipe his beard with” (3.3.437-438). Iago kept pushing and pushing for a reaction out of Othello, as he kept trying to find evidence to speak his truth. Iago evoking Othello guided Othello to change his humble and gentle character to a harsh one “Arise, black vengeance, from the hollow hell!” (3.3.447). Othello was hurt that his dear love traded him for someone else considering that he poured his soul into his relationship (2.1.195). Othello still loved Desdemona dearly and did not want anyone else to be with her. Psychologically Othello thought the only way to solve the problem would be to kill her, so she would no longer be able to hurt him, and he would be at peace with his true love (3.3.447-450). With the thought of Desdemona betraying Othello in mind, Othello looks to find Desdemona. Desdemona pleads with Othello to spare her life as she explains that she never did anything to betray him “I never did offend you in my life; never loved Cassio” (5.2.59-60). Even though Desdemona pleaded, it was too late, Othello’s inner demons had already kicked in and he had made up his mind and killed Desdemona as the pain had gone too far and the love for Desdemona was too deep “She’s dead. Tis’ like she comes to speak of Cassio’s death” (5.2.93-94). Jealousy and betrayal pushed Othello to harm Desdemona as he thought it would be the only way to escape the hurt and misery that he felt. Othello loved Desdemona to the point of her death as he could not stand the thought of anyone else being with her. Othello killed her to prove his deep love for her.

Othello loved Desdemona dearly (1.2.25) and never wanted anything or anyone to get in the way of their relationship. Othello fought for Desdemona through many trials (1.3.166-167). Othello endured great depts to be with Desdemona. From race, to family members, and accusations, Othello put his foot forward and believed her up until the end. Even after when Othello killed Desdemona, he had a sigh of relief as he did not have to worry anymore about the thought of her cheating on him. Othello faced infatuation, jealousy and betrayal in being with Desdemona (“The”,1). However, he never lost his love for her. Othello remained faithful till the very end as his love for her was stronger than ever.

Works Cited:

  1. “Green-Eyed Monster.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, 2019, monster.
  2. Lee, Bruce. “Interracial Marriage in Shakespeare's Day.” Utah Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, 31 May 2018,
  3. Shakespeare, William, and Edward Pechter. Othello: Authoritative Text, Textual Sources and Cultural Contexts, Criticism. W.W. Norton & Company, 2017.
  4. “The Theme of Romantic Love in Shakespeare's Othello.” Othello Navigator: Themes: Romantic Love,
Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Summary: Love That Beats All Odds. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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