Male Perspective of Love in Literature

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Kiran Brar
Compare and contrast the ways writers use form, structure and language to portray the male perspective of love in Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’, Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ and the Poetry of Robert Browning. The male perspective of love is interesting to look at when looking at different texts in comparison. Although they have been written in different literary movements male characters portray very similar attitudes and reflect the same aspects towards love and relationships. This essay concerns the male perspective of love, however it is important to analyse the factors that cause these interpretations of love that the writers have created for the male characters. For example a reoccurring perspective is the need for dominance over their significant other for example in Shakespeare’s Othello, Othello establishes his dominance over Desdemona by murdering her, similarly in the poetry of Robert Browning his poems ‘My Last Duchess’ and ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ where they also kill their lovers in order to reinforce their male dominance over their partner. In The Great Gatsby Daisy’s partner Tom displays his dominance over Daisy when he abuses her by punching her in the face. The male perspective of love is understood when looking at the theories of causation. As stated one of the most prominent male perspective of love conveys the need and desire to be dominant over their partner. In the Shakespearian play ‘Othello’ set in 16th century Venice looks at the idea of unconditional love despite the fact that Othello and his love Desdemona are from two completely different worlds. Othello is a Moore which refers to the Islamic – Arabic inhabitants of North Africa, whereas Desdemona is a Venetian. Contextually their love for one another would be seen as highly controversial and taboo, however despite Desdemona insists that she marries Othello. ‘To you, preferring you before her father, so much I challenge that I may profess due to the Moor my lord.’ Here Desdemona recognises that her duty is divided, however her honesty with her father shows how willingly loyal she is. A literary interpretation of Othello’s character would suggest that Othello feels the need to dominate over Desdemona due to his much insecurity as a character, directly associated with the idea that he is not of the Venetian culture. Leavis views that Othello is a ‘weak and stupid character’ that doesn’t understand himself or Desdemona, Othello is an outsider to the Venetian community where as Cassio isn’t, hence his insecurities structure between Cassio and Desdemona when Iago suggests that they are having an affair together. As a result Othello may realise that to maintain his prestige and respect as a soldier he must justify what has been done on him by killing Desdemona. To some extent I do agree more with the analysis that Leavis’ creates as looking within the context of the time although Othello and his achievements have been celebrated he evidently is a cultural and racial outsider. In addition to insecurities that Othello it is also a possibility that Othello is threatened by Desdemona’s sexual nature, as a character she is very flirtatious and friendly with most of Othello’s comrades including his lieutenant Cassio, whom has suspicion of sleeping with his wife. Desdemona’s supposed infidelity and unfaithfulness to her husband has caused her death. In the patriarchal Venetian society, women were told to remain submissive and meek at all times. However, in ‘Othello’, the women express independence, though in private, and Emilia, Desdemona’s maid, presents us with feminist opinions when she warns that “the ills we do, their ills instruct us so”. Feminist readings of ‘Othello’ suggest that even though women are shown to be submissive, possessions and are even called ‘whores’, when they do express their feelings and disobey their husband, as is the case with Emilia when she tells Othello of the handkerchief and Iago, she is killed. This, similar to what...
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