Eyed Monster Which Doth
Love is patient, love is kind. It always trusts, it always protects, it does not envy, it is not rude, it is not easily angered. In Shakespeare's play Othello, Othello the Moor is an honorable black general in the Venetian army and has secretly gone off an married Desdemona, a white woman. When people hear of their marriage they are outraged, especially Iago who enacts his own personal revenge on Othello. Throughout the play, there are several questions that the reader could raise, regarding the love that Othello has for Desdemona. There are multiple instances in the play that put Othello’s love for her into question. He shows that he does not really love her through jealousy, impulsiveness and the fact that their relationship was originally based off of pity and Desdemona being intrigued by who Othello was.
Othello allows his many insecurities to get in the way and hinder his relationship with Desdemona but he also allows his provoked jealousy to overcome him. Othello is very self-conscious, “I crave fit disposition for my wife. Due reference of place and exhibition with such accommodation and resort. As levels with her breeding” (1.3.10). He feels unworthy of Desdemona because of how he looks, especially the color of his skin. Othello enables Iago to toy with his mind and lead him to think that his wife is cheating on him with Cassio, “O, beware, my lord of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster which doth mocks the meat it feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger; but O, what damned minutes tells he o’er who dotes yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!” (3.3.8). Iago says this to put doubt into Othello's mind about Cassio’s loyalty. He also causes Othello to assume that Desdemona is being unfaithful when she is not. Iago also tells him not to be jealous but in all reality Iago wants Othello to be consumed with jealousy like he was. If Iago was not there to toy with Othello’s mind and make him into his jealousy, Othello and Desdemona's relationship would have turned out differently. Othello’s rash actions also point to the fact that he truly does not love Desdemona.
Impulsiveness is one of Othello’s flaws and it enables him to make hasty decisions. Othello becomes impatient with his wife and strikes her in a savage manner (4.1.12). Othello losing his patience and hitting Desdemona reveals how he now feels and shows that he has had it with her. Meaning that he let Iago get into his head and now believes his faithful wife is a cheater. Othello seems to take Iago's word for the truth without actually confirming the accusations against his wife. Othello's impulsiveness drives him to jump to conclusions without fully examining his actions and their consequences. It can be revealed through his obsessing over his wife's handkerchief, “Lie with her! That’s fulsome. Handkerchief - confessions - handkerchief!” (4.1.3). He uses the handkerchief as his only reason to believe Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio. Othello acts on this one piece of evidence and does not see a reason to look into it or find any more evidence against his wife. If he truly loved her he would do more investigating and decide what is the truth and what is not. Ultimately Othello’s impulsiveness leads him to make a decision that cannot be undone.
Othello and Desdemona’s union started off inadequate because it was simply based off of pity and not true love. Othello tells the Duke of Venice how their relationship began, “She loved me for the dangers I had passed, and I loved her that she did pity them” (1.3.7). Desdemona would listen to his stories about the things at war he had to endure and in them, she found pity for him. Othello telling this makes it evident that there was no natural reason why they became husband and wife and no true love holding them together. Othello is basing their love on pity and not feelings or deep affection. Also by Othello being different in general initially is what interested Desdemona. Despite Othello being of lower social status, being a black man, and his age, she still chose to “pursue him after she fell in love with his stories” (1.3.7). Desdemona did not care about these things that were socially unacceptable she wanted Othello and she got him. Although Desdemona did show her true love for Othello it was not reciprocated in the same way.
There were many moments in the play that revealed, Othello did not sincerely love Desdemona through his self-doubt, rash decisions, and the fact that their relationship was based on Desdemona's empathy & attraction towards him. Ultimately these things caused his feelings for her to be tainted and ultimately drove him to kill her.