Explore the Affect That Military Experiences Have on Love in: Othello, William Shakespeare; Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks and a Collection of War Poetry by Wilfred Owen.

Explore the affect that military experiences have on love in: Othello, William Shakespeare; Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks and a collection of war poetry by Wilfred Owen.

In the novels and poems selected, there are both similarities and differences in how war affects the presentation of love. Whilst Faulks and Owen focus on presenting love through the horrors of war, Shakespeare combines the imagery of love and war to give the reader an insight into Othello’s character. In Birdsong, aspects of love are seen through the eyes of the soldiers in WWI, allowing an impervious insight into the psychological effects that the war had on these men and the love they feel. Shakespeare explores how Othello’s military life took over his civilian life; Othello’s failure to make this transition to a rational human being and lover led to his tragic yet self imposed demise.
The military has a direct effect on the shaping of Othello and this is evident throughout; Iago’s hatred for Othello clearly stems from bitterness for not being promoted as “the moor’s” lieutenant. Immediately, Iago shows signs towards jealousy of Cassio, “a Florentine,” who got promoted as Othello’s right-hand man, “Forsooth, a great arithmetician.” Iago is shocked and appalled that he has been overlooked by his long-term friend Othello, who has instead turned to a foreigner that lacks battlefield experience. The decision to appoint Cassio in the position coveted by Iago is the obvious reason for his hatred of the Moor. He plots Othello's downfall, presumably for revenge, though his motives are unclear. Once he's supplanted Cassio and been named as Othello's lieutenant, long before anybody has died, Iago doesn't stop. This shows it was more than just the job he wanted, and his talk of the “lusty Moor … leaping into his seat'' is entirely implausible. This shows either Iago was truly hurt by the appointment of Cassio so much so he wanted to bring death to him and others, or that there was other, more deep...