To Will One Thing

American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (2):153-166 (2013)
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Abstract

Before committing suicide, Othello says, "Speak of me as I am; . . . speak of one who loved not wisely, but too well." Thinking of his love for Desdemona, we are not likely to agree with his assessment that he loved her "too well," especially if loving well is supposed to require some kind of dependability or concern for her well-being; we would be loath even to grant that he loved her "too much." Othello's love for his wife seems, rather, to have been firmly subordinated to his love for his honor. Perhaps, then, his statement could be saved by saying that it was his honor that he loved too well, and that in devoting himself so completely to it, he did not love wisely. He needed a better way of coordinating his two concerns, one that wouldn't give him cause for regret—a way of loving well that was also wise.

Author's Profile

Alexander Jech
University of Notre Dame

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