What is the nature of Othello's relationship with Desdemona?
Late in the play, Othello describes himself as "one who loved not wisely, but too well." Do you agree with him? What is the nature of his relationship with Desdemona?
this is a particularly astute question to ask about Othello. We could reason that the tragedy in this play is down to the fact that Othello actually loves Desdemona too much as his murderous revenge at the end of the play shows. The thinking for this line of reasoning would assume that Othello would only bother to kill Desdemona if he loved her so intensely that he could not bear the thought or the idea of her loving another. Jealousy, which is of course Othello's failing, is coupled with his love for Desdemona. In one sense therefore Othello is completely right when he says he loved "not wisely but too well." It was his excess of love for Desdemona that made him so angry when he suspected her of having a relationship with Casio.
On the other hand, however, it is possible to argue that what Othello says about himself just isn't true. His jealous, possessive love of Desdemona is not wise, but it is also not good, too. It does not feature any trust, which is clearly a key component of any relationship. Desdemona's faithful love for her husband is something that is well established in this play. The play's tragedy is that Othello is not able to accept, understand and return that love. His jealousy prevents him from loving well.