Question: What is the constraining motive with Othello in killing Desdemona?
Answer: Honor - not jealousy, surely; for would the merely jealous husband give vent to such feelings as Othello does in
V, ii.? "It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul," seems to be the cry of a soul moved rather by love, pity, and the feeling of justice, than the cry of an enraged husband. Othello distinctly says that "Justice" bears the "sword" (V.
ii. 17). Whatever hold that stormy passion of jealousy may have had over Othello before, we feel convinced that the
calm, sorrowful, but determined feeling of justice reigns supreme, and love must yield to honor and justice. Here we
see that "calmness of intensity" which is such a striking feature in Othello's character.
How to cite this article:
Ragland, Fanny. Shakespeare Examinations. Ed. William Taylor Thom, M. A. Boston: Ginn and Co., 1888. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/othello/examqo/othellomotive.html >.