Comparison of Beloved and Othello

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Beloved and Othello are two pieces in which the action of the text places a significant emphasis on the attainment, maintenance, and loss of paradise, paradise here meaning a faithful romantic relationship.

Both Othello and Beloved highlight the antagonistic relationship between romantic love and societal constructs that are widely upheld at the times when the works were written. Morrison speaks often about the harsh reality of love and slavery; she accentuates it with details like the fact that although Halle and Sethe were only married for a small number of years their marriage was still considered to be a long one because of the way in which slave-owners would often separate married couples and sell one spouse or lover onto another plantation. Probably the most important social construct in the time during which the Sweet Home aspects of the story take place was the institution of slavery, and it was a system that entirely impeded any existence of real love. Slavery not only tainted the romantic lives of slaves, but also affected the marriage of the slave owner. Almost as common a practice as slavery at that time was the repeated rape of female slaves at the hands of their white superiors; white men, most of whom had their own wives, were impeding their own attainment of paradise in the sense it is used here a). by being unfaithful to their wives and b). by commiting rape, which is arguably, and I would assume Morrison would agree, the antithesis of romantic love.

The main construct that effects the action of Othello and the title characters attainment, or lack-thereof, of paradise would be the ideal of a hero in his venetian society. Othello is first and foremost a soldier and a heroic one at that. Othello is entirely unable to separate himself from his militaristic pursuits, even managing to woo Desdemona through telling her about his heroic history in combat. Furthermore, when Othello loses some of his military standing in act III he begins to seem...
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