What might seem to be evidence that Othello
is attempting to use language to regain his former glory as a renowned military leader can be seen in the following:
Othello employs metaphor
when he compares his death to the end of a journey, giving it some dignity by implicitly likening it to one of his military journeys, such as traveling to Cyprus to defend it from the Turks:
Here is my journey’s end, here is my butt,
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail.
Othello uses hyperbole
when he brags to Gratiano, who threatens him:
I have seen the day
with this little arm and this good sword
I have made my way through more impediments
Than twenty times your stop
This refers to his accomplishments and courage as a soldier who rose to the rank of general through his exceptional merits.
Othello uses simple powerful monosyllables when he follows this boast about his fighting skills with the following:
But, oh, vain boast!
In some ways these simple words above seem to undercut his leaning into his military prowess, but at the same time, could be interpreted as bringing us back to the man who didn't rely on bragging but on what he actually could achieve—in other words, we are brought back to his status as a man of honor.
Othello uses anguished and grand poetic language when he curses himself for killing Desdemona. This is also the language of hyperbole:
Cold, cold, my girl,
Even like thy chastity. O cursed, cursed slave!
Whip me, ye devils,
From the possession of this heavenly sight!
Blow me about in winds, roast me in sulfur,
Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire!
He is calling on the devils of hell, where he thinks he is headed, to offer him more pain than he ever met as a soldier, implying he will bear it with stoicism.
My issue with this contention that his language is meant to refer back to his glory is that, although Othello uses (at least implicitly) military references or metaphors, I don't think these are primarily an attempt to reclaim former glory. They simply come out of who he is. At this point, he is ready to commit suicide, and far, far beyond such egotistic concerns as presenting the image of the heroic soldier. He is primarily expressing a very deep anguish at what he has done to his wife, and his threat to Gratiano is less to impress him than to keep him away for the few moments he has left to live.
As for the other part of the question, these military references could possibly be seen as Othello remembering that Desdemona was attracted to him because of his stories of military glory—at least this is a connection back to earlier in the play.