Othello themes – LOVE & MARRIAGE

LINE OF ARGUMENT? Shakespeare presents love and marriage as something both sacred and destructive in Othello.
FOUR POINTS? Emilia/Iago/Desdemona – Loyalty.Othello and Desdemona. Cassio and Bianca.Destruction as a consequence of love.
SIGN OF EMILIA’S LOYALTY TO IAGO The handkerchief.
EMILIA’S VIEWS ON MARRIAGE AND JEALOUSY “Jealousy is a monster”.
IAGO’S TREATMENT OF EMILIA From “*****” to “good wench”.
HONIGMANN – MEN Men in the play are “incapable of unselfish love”.
WHO IS EMILIA ULTIMATELY LOYAL TO BEFORE SHE DIES? Desdemona – loyalty and love for her is shown by Emilia at the end of the play.
HONIGMANN -EMILIA “Emilia’s love (of Desdemona) is Iago’s undoing”.
DESDEMONA’S LOYALTY, EVEN AFTER OTHELLO KILLS HER “Commend me to my kind lord”.
OTHELLO IN LOVE AND MARRIAGE – Othello’s distrust and doubt of Desdemona. – Even though loyal to his marriage, Othello still trusts Iago over Desdemona. – Perhaps, Othello fears Desdemona will betray him. like she did when she married him (to Brabantio).
CONTEXT – OTHELLO’S DISTRUST OF DESDEMONA At this point in time, father’s were known for choosing their daughter’s husbands. Othello sees Desdemona betrays Brabantio and then this makes Othello doubt Desdemona’s loyalty.
CASSIO RESPECTS DESDEMONA “Hail thee lady!”
CASSIO DOESN’T RESPECT BIANCA “She haunts me in every place”.
BIANCA’S LOVE FOR CASSIO “To the felt absence now I feel a cause”.
CONTEXT – BIANCA Bianca is looked down on for being an escort/courtesan.
HANDKERCHIEF – BIANCA “I was a fool to take it”.
CRITICS – DOUBLE STANDARDS Some critics have argued that Shakespeare criticises the double standards applied to male and female sexuality in Othello.
BIANCA ABOUT CASSIO AND HER “I am no strumpet”.
HELEN GARDNER Suggests that Desdemona is “loves martyr”. By dying she wins Othello’s love back again.
OTHELLO’S TRANSFORMATION DUE TO…. Love.
COLERIDGE Coleridge describes how Othello’s driven by “moral indignation and regret” that Desdemona’s virtue has described.
RODERIGO’S ROLE IN LOVE Lust for Desdemona – he agrees to kill Cassio for no reason, simply to win Desdemona and her love.
FREUDIAN INTERPRETATION OF THE PLAY Iago secretly loves Othello and this leads to him wanting to destroy him.

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