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Love and Hate in Othello

In the preface, to his edition of ShakespeareÆs plays, Samuel Johnson (1765) maintains that ShakespeareÆs plays are neither comedy nor tragedy but ôcompositions of a distinct kind; exhibiting the real state of good and evil, joy and sorrow, mingled with endless variety of proportion and innumerable modes of combinationö (247-251). Love and hate are two among many of the human emotions and motivations Shakespeare employs in a variety of his works. Hamlet loves his father and hates his uncle; Macbeth loves power and hates himself for the deeds to win it; and King Lear hates his inevitable decline but loves his daughters. As with these three of ShakespeareÆs four major tragedies, Othello exhibits many aspects of love and hate. There is the love of Othello for Desdemona contrasted by IagoÆs hatred of Othello. Cassio loves Othello in contrast to IagoÆs hatred of him. Finally, there is OthelloÆs love for Desdemona balanced by his hatred of the thought that he has been cuckolded. If Othello is tragic, it is because he comes to an end of a battle between love and hate a loser.

Samuel Johnson (1765) also maintains in his preface to ShakespeareÆs plays that the world created by Shakespeare is one ôin which the loss of one is the gain of another; in which, at the same time, the reveler is hasting to his wine, and the mourner burying his friend; in which the malignity of one is sometimes defeated by the frolick of another; and many mischiefs and many benefits are done and hindered without designö (252-258). In short, the world created by Shakespeare is a human one, where king and commoner are prone to the same emotions, habits, and behaviors. Thus it is with Othello. He is so unused to the ways of love, despite being a master on the battlefield, that he is brought to his tragic end by his inexperience with love and the hatred of those around him.

Certain aspects of hate pervade Othello, despite OthelloÆs true love for...

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Love and Hate in Othello. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:13, April 21, 2019, from