Love and Politics Do Not Mix in the Shakespearean World Essay

1399 Words 6 Pages
Men of Power

In the plays, Othello, and Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare we are presented with a clear picture of love and politics and how the two mixed do not stand a chance. The political and social world of Shakespeare cannot fathom love or accept it as part of the struggles for power. Love and passion have no place in the world of power. For those in positions of nobility love is something that cannot truly be experienced in a peaceful manner. In the world of Shakespeare love must ultimately die in a world of political and social power.

In the play Othello we have a prince, Othello, who is slowly and powerfully deceived to the point where he distrusts his wife and kills her. He is the hock of one man, Iago, who is
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Iago does not even begin to understand the love between these two any more than the Romans understood Antony's love of an Egyptian gypsy whore in their eyes.

Othello and Antony will ultimately believe there wife is unfaithful, kill her, and then experience incredibly remorse and enlightment. Othello's story also has both lovers dying in the end, because neither can ultimately live without the other. One critic notes:

"Othello dies upon a kiss, but he dedicates his suicide to the woman he has just murdered. His last words poignantly convolute the Renaissance theme of love and death: 'I kissed thee ere I killed thee: no way but this, /Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.' That Othello suffocates Desdemona where and when he would normally be making love to her renders this Renaissance metaphor literal with devastating irony" (Henderson).

In so many ways Othello is the story of tragic love, just as Antony and Cleopatra is the story of tragic love. Both sets of lovers are misunderstood in their society and both lovers see no real positive or real way in which they can ultimately be together. One critic states that, "Othello is a tragedy of broken love: more real, more resounding because it is stripped of the conventional patterning of its more mythical cousins Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra" (Henderson).

There is little doubt that Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra is a different story…

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