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Jordan J. Joshua F. English 102 April 10th, 2013 Bitterness of The Heart In Othello by William Shakespeare love plays a strong measure in making a mess of the characters lives. Shakespeare had a habit of taking the things a person wants and their desires for other people and twisting them in such a way as to create misery and tragedy. Love for example is supposedly one of the most beautiful things about the human experience; the soft affection for a beautiful woman, the care and attention shown to the person you desire above all others, even perhaps the sense of brotherhood in an army setting. The problem with love though, especially here, is that circumstances can go very, very wrong. The play starts out with Roderigo expressing his upset about the female he loved, Desdemona, daughter of Senator Brabantio, marrying a military man by the name of Othello instead of himself who had at some point made a bid for her hand. His upset is based in the fact that he was rejected, his love for her not enough to inspire her own. He shares this with Iago who shows a distinct lack of love for his fellow soldier Cassio who was promoted over Iago. Iagos problem with this is the fact that Iago was older and more knowledgeable in battle tactics as opposed to Cassio who was young and book smart with no experience. The brother-in-arms sense of camaraderie, platonic love, is missing. Iago hates Cassio which is the flip side of love though it brings to mind a saying about how love and hate are separated by a thin line. This

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makes a tenuous connection to the theory that Iago may have loved Cassio before this as anyone who risked their lives together would. Roderigos love left him desperate to win Desdemonas heart so he agreed to work with Iago who in reality didnt care about Roderigos cause and would use the mans influence to his own ends without delivering on his part to help Roderigo take Desdemona away from Othello. Roderigo feels so jealous of Othello and Desdemona that he loses sight of where his limits are and how little his actual ardor is actually capable of attaining from Desdemona which is similar to what is discussed in Irene McMullins Love and Entitlement: Sartre and Beauvoir on the Nature of Jealousy, saying the often overlooked part of jealousy is the sense that one is entitled to the affirmation provided by the love relationship. This means that Roderigo wants Desdemona so strongly that he feels entitled to her, becomes fairly obsessed with her. In this sense she is quickly losing her identity as a person to him and becoming an object to gain. Othello himself is ruled by requited love but faced with having that love questioned before then having his wife supposedly break faith, his love takes that step over the thin line into hate where he rages and kills Desdemona. His is the true stretch of love reaching its limits. Even though Othello later finds out that she had always been loyal to him, it does not negate what he has done and he realizes just how foolish he had been and rather than live with what he did, he kills himself after wounding Iago who had started the whole downpour of terrible fate. Othello allowed his misgivings to percolate in his mind which came to a head when Iago convinced him that Desdemona had given the handkerchief gifted to her from Othello to Cassio, which led to him solidifying his course against her. Love in Othellos case was ea sily disrupted, flimsy in a sense, and without trust.

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All of this would pale against Iagos hatred. And in this, his motivation may be a clue as to where Iagos own love could lay; with himself. Its not hard to postulate that his jealousy of Cassio reveals just how highly Iago thinks of himself. Earlier on it is stated that Iago laments about how he is the better choice for the promotion, being older and more experienced. This perceived slight against him is extremely insulting to his prowess as a soldier and as a man that he puts his not inconsiderable cunning to use in setting everyone up to pay for his hurt ego. Iago is as clever as he believes for his ability to stage incriminating conversations and manipulating the feelings of others while all the while seeming honest and good to the very people he is setting up and he is very truly that self-absorbed to believe he is doing only what is fair. Iago is selfish, smart, and charismatic enough to appear socially acceptable. He loves himself most and he will defend his ego to the destruction of everyone else. Love runs through the story of Othello in many lines, like a spiders web, connecting in every direction and with only a few strategically placed tugs can unravel everything, leaving the spider helpless and without stability. Roderigos fall was unrequited love that had him placing his trust in the wrong man for the wrong reasons and getting stabbed in the back for it. Othellos fall was in not trusting his love Desdemona and allowing another to set forth a plague of doubt, which also meant the death of Desdemona who did nothing wrong except not love Roderigo in return. As for Iago, loving no one but himself so strongly, he set about trying and succeeding in dragging everyone else down in revenge for himself and subsequently taking himself down with them. Love is the lynchpin of Othello, showcasing the f ailings of human nature and the different ways different people will demonstrate how horribly wrong they can be. Othello is every bit a tragedy composed of the heart.

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Work Cited McMullin, Irene. Love and Entitlement: Sartre and Beauvoir on the Nature of Jealousy. Hypatia. Vol. 26, No. 1 (WINTER 2011), p. 102-122. Print. Shakespeare, William. Othello. Paperback Literature. 2nd Ed. New York: Longman, Inc., 2008. Print.