Antigone is a tragedy play written around 442 BCE by Sophocles about the burial of Antigone’s brother Polynices against the rule of Crone and the country, as well as the tragic effects of her act of civil disdain. Othello is a tragedy play by William Shakespeare that was written around 1603 and is based on a “Moorish captain.” Othello, a Moorish general, his wife Desdemona, his lieutenant Cassio, and his ensign Lago are the four primary characters in the novel. Despite the fact that these two plays were composed by different authors at different ages, they are both based on tragedies. In both plays love is the determinant factor that propels its characters to go against the social norms and eventually leads to their downfall in one way or another .The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of the nature of love of the two plays by comparering and contrasting them.
Love surpasses all in the play Antigone where by Antigone has great love for her brother therefore sacrificing her life for her brother’s self-respect. This is clear when she decides to give her brother a proper burial against the strict rules of her cousin crone who is the king. Though she is very aware of the consequences her dedication makes it easy (Sophocles and Mark 13). In Othello the play reveals that love can triumph larger obstacles and this same love provides Othello with intensity but not direction and at the same time it gives Desdemona access to his heart (Shakespeare and Gayle n.p).The strong passions are a central factors to the involved individual’s choices and defiance. Whereas Antigone goes against the king to give her brother a proper burial, Othello and Desdemona pursue their love by overlooking their racial difference.
In Antigone the love in friendship has not been depicted at great lengths however it is clear that Antigone’s love for her brother goes beyond blood relation as there is also friendship that amounts to good relations between them.In Othello the love of friendship is also revealed and it is vivid that it can be betrayed as others use it as leverage. It is also shows that it can be misinterpreted by jealousy as adulterous love just as Othello views Desdemona’s love in friendship for Cassio. It also reveals that true love in friendship also exists as is with the case Emilia’s for Desdemona who stands up as a witness in the honor of her dead mistress Desdemona and ends up being killed for it (Shakespeare and Gayle n.p)
Antigone play shows the extent to which Haemon is in love with his fiancée Antigone and upon finding her dead both he holds on to it in sorrow and later slays himself as the value of his life seem to have diminished without his beloved. The idea of a life without her is unfathomable to him and compels him to commit suicide without even flinching or thinking of his mother who adores him dearly (Sophocles, and Mark 17). It is also revealed to us the extent to which Othello loves Desdemona that he gets into epileptic fits at the thought of her unfaithfulness as a result of jealousy (Stuke 69). When Othello murders his beloved because of her supposed unfaithfulness and later realizes his mistake, he is unable to comprehend without her and consequently kills himself.
In Antigone Crone is in love with power and together with love with himself causes him to costs him both his wife and son. His son upon knowing of the death of Antigone slays himself to death and his mother upon hearing of his death she kills herself. Thus his way of love ultimately brings about his down fall (Stuke 70). In the play Othello is madly in love with his wife and his jealousy of the notion of her unfaithfulness brings about his down fall when he murders his wife in a fit of rage due to the supposed unfaithfulness. He later kills himself when the reality of what he had done hits him (Stuke 71).
In AntigoneCrones obsession with power and himself causes him to lose his family as he focuses on everything else rather than cultivate love in his family.it is only when he loses both his son and wife that he sees their value (Benardete17). Othello reveals that love particularly in marriage needs time to be cultivated and the building of trust therefore as Othello finds out but fails to equal Desdemona’s steadfast devotion build on their passion (Benardete 17). The difference here is that where Crone does not even have time to learn and observes his family’s value. Othello on the other hand is keen at observing his marriage and even notices that relationships are hard work and that it cannot survive on auto pilot and he fiercely loves his significant other.
Several types of love are portrayed in the play Antigone the most prevalent being between members of a family. Antigone has great love for her brother therefore sacrificing her life for his brothers self-respect .This is clear when she decides to give her brother a proper burial against the strict rule of his cousin crone who is the kings. When Iseme wants to die as her sisters Antigone death affects her (Benardete 19). The play Othello also depicts several types of love but the ultimate contender is the romantic love between Othello and Desdemona.While Sophocles focuses on the family ties that ultimately causes Antigone to sacrifice herself, Shakespeare focuses on the romance between Othello and Desdemona accompanied with jealousy that ultimately brings the demise of Desdemona.
Love also causes Haemon to lose his life by killing himself due to his great love for her and when he finds Antigone’s dead body he is inconsolable. This demonstrates the strong and immense love that he felt for his fiancée. This depict show love causes people to do preposterous acts that turn out to cause harm and bring sorrow to other people besides themselves (Stuke). .In Othello the situation is slightly different as Othello murders his wife when he learns of her supposed unfaithfulness and he later on kills himself. Though both plays depict the ultimate demise of a pair of lovers each pair has a different reason for dying and also different reasons that propels their significant others to commit suicide.
Lessons learned from Sophocles and Shakespeare
Sophocles play Antigone bring up the element of taking the high road when faced with conflicting viewsand the one a person chooses is going to bring irreparable damage to them. This brings out courage and bravery when standing for what a person believes in. Antigone depicts these values by going against Crones laws and following her conscience.
Shakespeare’sOthello brings out the importance of trust in a relationship especially when confronted with an issue that is sensitive, rather than being rush and later find out that things have been blow out of proportion and the consequences that follow are dire. This is the case when Othello hears of the supposed unfaithfulness of Desdemona and he murders her in a fit of rage only to regretlater. He tries to atone this by committing suicide.
Benardete, Seth. “Sacred Transgressions: A Reading of Sophocles’ Antigone.” (2014).
Shakespeare, William, and Gayle Holste. Othello. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, 2002. Print.
Sophocles, and Mark Griffith. Antigone. Cambridge New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Print.
Stuke, Nadine. An Analysis of the Shakespearean Villain in ‘Othello’ and ‘Much Ado About Nothing. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2012. Print.