For many individual the nature of love drastically changes as they go through different stages of life. This nature almost represents the four seasons throughout the year, each season bringing in change similar to how winter brings in snow on the delicate autumn leaves. Shakespeare uses this ever-changing nature of love that varies based upon the different stages that an individual goes through life, and implies it into his play Othello. He illustrates this ever-changing nature of love and bases it on the relationship between Othello and Desdemona. In the beginning of the play love between the couple is portrayed as lust through Iago’s perspective, and is can be seen when he makes remarks about the elopement of Othello and Desdemona such as “Your daughter covered with a Barbary horse” (Act I, Scene I, Line 125). Although Iago might be speaking out of jealousy and hatred towards Othello, the nature of love is merely portrayed as lust through the elopement of Desdemona and Othello. Later on in the play the nature of love which Shakespeare established to be based on lust changes to that of caring and compassion, and the audience becomes aware of this when Desdemona claims “That I did love the Moor to live with him” (Act I, Scene III, Line 283). This suggest to the audience that Desdemona loved Othello based on her compassion and not merely lust as suggested earlier in the play. Eventually the nature of love leads to the downfall of both Othello and Desdemona, this shows the reader the destructive nature of love and how vulnerable an individual becomes once in the state of love. Finally Shakespeare shows his reader that although love can be destructive, it is the compassionate nature of love that takes over between individuals.
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The nature of love portrayed earlier on in the play proposes to the audience that love is impartially based on lust. The audience gets this aspect of love when Iago is trying to convey to Rodrigo the elopement of Othello and Desdemona is only based on lust, and will wear off when Desdemona does not find the aging Moor attractive anymore. Iago’s strategies to manipulate Roderigo lead the audience to the conclusion that love is based on lust and his claims such as “It is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will”, hints the audience that love is nothing but lust. Although Iago might not be honest in his speech, because of his hatred towards Othello the audience has been painted with the picture that the nature of love is based merely on lust.
Later in the play this picture changes to represent love as being caring, thoughtful, and compassionate. This is suggested when Desdemona is introduced and claims that she only loved the Moor because of his courageous personality rather than lust as suggested earlier by Iago. She goes on to state that “I did love the Moor to live with him” (Act I, Scene III, Line 283), this shows the reader her compassion towards Othello and how much she cares and wants to be with him. Othello also shows that is love is based on compassion rather than lust by claiming that he does not want Desdemona to come with him to Cyprus for sexual needs but rather for supports and care as he says “I therefore beg it not/ To please the plate of my appetite” (Act I, Scene III, Lines 296-297). This shows the audience that the nature of love between Desdemona and Othello is based on compassion rather than lust; hence a new perspective of the nature of love is portrayed to the audience.
Finally Shakespeare portrays love as being destructive and making an individual vulnerable to commit acts of regret. This is evident through the downfall of Othello, who is transformed from a valiant commander to a tragic hero fuelled by jealousy. Through the downfall of Othello, Shakespeare shows his audience the destructive nature of love by suggesting to his audience that love played a significant role in Othello’s life and made him vulnerable of jealousy, which leads to his downfall and eventual death. Shakespeare shows his audience the dark side of love by showing how an individual is vulnerable when he is in love. This is evident due to the fact of how Othello acted towards Desdemona when he suspicious that she was cheating on him, because he could not bear the burden to see her with anyone else besides himself. Shakespeare also suggests to his audience that it was love that made Othello kill Desdemona because of the fact that he could not have a wife that loved anyone else besides himself. This destructive nature of love illustrates to the audience of how love can lead an individual to acts of regret and remorse, which in the case of Othello leads him to committing the death of Desdemona and eventually himself. Although the destructive nature of love is shown in the play Othello, the final picture that Shakespeare illustrates of love is of compassion, and it is evident when Othello before killing himself tells the dead body of Desdemona that “I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this/ Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.” (Act V, Scene II, Lines 420-421). This shows the reader that although love can be destructive and makes individual commits acts of regret, but eventually it is the compassionate side of love that takes over just like how compassion for Desdemona took over Othello before he was about to kill himself when he found out the innocence of his wife.
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Throughout the play Shakespeare shows his audience the different sides of love and how the nature of love varies as the individual goes through different stages in their life. Shakespeare first establishes the nature of love between Othello and Desdemona to be based on lust. This illustration is quickly changed and the nature of love between the couple is portrayed as being of compassion rather than of lust. Eventually the compassionate nature of love between the couple changes into a destructive nature, which causes Othello to commit acts of regret and remorse and leads to the death of the couple. Finally Shakespeare shows his reader that although love can be destructive, it is the compassionate nature of love that take over and it is evident when Othello kisses the dead body of Desdemona and after he takes his own life, both of them dying upon a kiss.
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