"True love is the reason behind Othello's murder of Desdemona". Do you agree with this statement? Use quotations from the play.

Expert Answers
sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

True love must embody compassion, empathy, and a determination to do what is best for the beloved. It must also embody trust. Othello’s love for Desdemona is full of fiery passion, but he does not trust her, does not feel compassion for her, and certainly the fact that he murders her indicates he does not have her best interest in mind. He only wants to satisfy what he experiences as a broken heart and possess her forever, for if she is dead, certainly no one else can ever have her. His lack of trust in her becomes obvious in Act 3.3 when he chooses to believe his buddy Iago over Desdemona, and his lack of compassion is evident in Act 3.4 when he grills her for information about the handkerchief when she is clearly upset about the fact she lost it. When Iago first begins to seduce Othello to believe his wife is flirting with Cassio, Othello says of Iago that “This fellow’s of exceeding honesty,” which inclines him to believe that his wife might be “haggard.” He is frustrated because he cannot own Desdemona completely, saying “That we can call these delicate creatures ours / And not their appetites” (261-274).  He arrogantly interrogates her over the handkerchief, his tone full of disdain: “Is’t lost? Is’t gone? Speak, is't out of the way?” (3.4.82), and she can only respond that he speaks “startlingly and rash” (81). In his jealousy he calls her a “strumpet” (5.2.78), and then murders her.  Lots of passion, to be sure; but true love?—no.