Was Othello a good husband?Was Othello a good husband?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is an interesting question.  There are times when it is difficult to apply modern standards to issues of the past.  In this instance, though, I feel pretty comfortable in suggesting that Othello was a bad husband then and now.  I think that major reason why he was a flawed husband was because of his own inability to trust his wife.  He cannot bring himself to trust her enough to believe her assurances of fidelity.  In another sense, I think that Othello is a flawed husband because he cannot bring himself to placing his insecurities and doubt within their own relationship.  Othello's inability to openly communicate with his wife, to place in her his own foibles and doubts, is what causes his ultimate downfall and also is the reason why he is a bad husband.  What might have been seen as endearing ends up tearing away at both of them.  Othello posseses a quality of doubt that represents a certain level of commitment in that he does not understand how someone like Desdemona could be in love with someone like him.  It is in this where the fundamental seeds of doubt grown into horrific weeds and end up controlling him in their relationship, causing doubt and mistrust to emerge.  It is here and in his ability to limit this insecurity that Othello becomes a bad husband.

Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although I am a strong believer that most anything can be proved with support from the text (even if taken out of context), I think it would be REALLY something to see somebody prove that Othello WAS in fact a good husband!  Ha!

Still, just to play devil's advocate for a moment, perhaps one could come up with some interesting proof of Othello being a good husband if only the beginning of the play is considered.

In my opinion, a marital relationship MUST be based on trust!  When mistrust abounds, jealousy ensues.  Jealousy stems from mistrust:  not the combo of a good and healthy relationship.  The two involved in a married have a sacred bond, and the idea that an outsider such as Iago is able to take control of Othello's mind through trickery (although I'll admit it's very deft trickery) is deplorable from a wife's point of view.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to agree with Post 3.  I just don't see where there is any way to argue that Othello is a good husband.  This sounds stupid, but you can't possibly be a good husband if you kill your wife.  There just is no excuse for that.  So here you have a guy who's so jealous that he kills his wife based on his suspicions about her.  How could anyone say he's a good husband?