Shakespeare’s Desdemona Essay

In Shakespeare’s Othello. the thoughts of race. matrimony and green-eyed monster are explored at length. Through his work. Shakespeare criticizes popular impressions and biass based on race. He reflects the prevailing racialist thoughts through the addresss of characters like Iago. Roderigo and Brabantio. By doing his supporter a Black adult male of higher birth and nobler qualities. reflected in his refined address and mode. Shakespeare efficaciously breaks down stereotypes sing coloured people. Shakespeare uses the biass about Black work forces to qualify Iago alternatively.

For case. the inordinate lecherousness that Black work forces were often accused of is about wholly absent from Othello’s love for Desdemona. It is Iago alternatively who comes across as being lecherous and coarse. Another stereotyped thought. that Black work forces were incapable of commanding regard. is overturned in the figures of Cassio and Desdemona who are loyally devoted to Othello. Iago starts out with warning Brabantio that his girl. Desdemona. was infatuated with an “old black random-access memory ( Othello 1.

1. 89 ) / a Barbary horse” ( 1. 1. 111 ) Iago incites people to travel against Othello by doing racist remarks but ne’er does he state anything slanted to Othello straight. Shakespeare has portrayed Iago’s character as craft and manipulative and even though Iago uses racialist footings like “the Moor” ( 1. 1. 116 ) his hate of Othello is non because of his colour. Iago hates Othello with a retribution because he was his superior in the ground forces and had chosen Cassio to be his lieutenant and non Iago.

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This made Iago feel slighted and overlooked and promised to revenge this abuse by destructing Othello. That he uses Desdemona and Cassio shows his revengeful and manipulative nature. Othello does hold an implicit in racialist subject but that is non the cardinal focal point of the drama. Merely a smattering of characters make open mentions to Othello’s colour negatively. Roderigo calls Othello a “lascivious moor” ( 1. 1. 126 ) to inflame Brabantio against Othello. who he hates more as a show of solidarity with Iago than for any other ground.

No 1 in the drama except Brabantio refers to Othello as “the Moor” or uses racialist footings to his face. and Brabantio does that because he is upset with his girl and for political grounds than for any deep racialist bias. Desdemona’s maid-in-waiting. Emilia calls Othello “you the blacker devil” ( 5. 2. 131 ) out of desperation when she comes to larn that Othello has killed her kept woman. In composing Othello Shakespeare took a bold measure by presenting a coloured adult male as the hero of his drama.

The society at that clip was non every bit unfastened as it is today and it was an brave move to impute gallant and baronial qualities to a black adult male and portray a white adult male as the scoundrel. The fact that Shakespeare chose the brotherhood of a black adult male with a white adult female as the topic of his drama shows that he did non O.K. of racism himself. though he did admit that racialist feelings were present in the society. The two noteworthy matrimonial relationships explored in Othello are of class. those of Desdemona and Othello on one manus. and Iago and Emilia on the other.

In Othello’s and Desdemona’s matrimony there is common love and worship: Othello dotes on his “gentle Desdemona” ( 1. 2. 25 ) and Desdemona in bend worships her hubby. Yet. there matrimony is non interpreted as being really intimate. Othello confides in Iago that although he loves Desdemona “I [ Othello ] would non my unhoused free condition/ Put into circumscription and confine/ For the sea’s worth” ( 1. 2. 26-28 ) . This is a clear admittance that Othello values his freedom and his desire for escapade more than domestic cloud nine.

Desdemona besides makes a unusual remark in Act 4. Scene 3 where she is acquiring ready for bed: “This Lodovico is a proper man” ( 4. 3. 35 ) . she says. It is extremely uncharacteristic of a devoted married woman like Desdemona to all of a sudden do such light-minded remarks on another adult male. minutes after she has been discoursing her hubby ( Desdemona has merely said: “He hath commanded me to travel to bed. / And offer me to disregard you. ” ) . Possibly Shakespeare indicates that tired of her husband’s misgiving and green-eyed monster. Desdemona excessively may hold started to hesitate in her truenesss.

We ne’er do acquire to happen out where this leads as Desdemona is killed a scene subsequently. Iago and Emilia excessively have a far from ideal matrimony. Emilia is perchance the lone character in the drama who can see Iago for his true nature mentioning to him repeatedly with abuses like “wayward husband” and so on. But we must retrieve that Emilia has a hapless sentiment of work forces in general: “They are all but tummies. and we all but nutrient ; / They eat us hungerly. and when they are full. / They belch us” ( 3. 4. 103-106 ) . ” This may explicate why Emilia still wants to delight Iago.

Why else does she demo Iago Desdemona’s hankie and let him to take it? Despite her misgiving of Iago in some respects. Emilia does non till the terminal of the drama earnestly doubt Iago. It is merely when she Iago’s prevarication about where he got the hankie is revealed to her that she realizes the outrageousness of his evil nature. Iago is besides highly indurate in his intervention of Emilia. He insults her. calls her a “common thing” ( 3. 3. 202 ) and even suspects her falsely of holding an matter with Othello.

Both matrimonies hence are non based on common love and regard at all. Even with the facile pledges of love that Desdemona and Othello exchange. their love is really based on nil concrete. While Iago and Emilia are both astute and practical but do non love or swear each other at all. Shakespeare uses Othello to do these misanthropic remarks on matrimony in general. Possibly he wants to remind his audience of the importance of both trust and common sense in a relationship. in add-on to love.

Iago has been the polar character of this drama. of import plenty to hold changed the full class of the flowering of the drama. by his negative influence on Othello. However. giving Iago the recognition for dominating Othello and bust uping his matrimony with Desdemona is likely traveling excessively far. The fatal defect was present in Othello. His credulousness and the inability to see through Iago’s strategy were every bit much responsible for the failure of his relationship with Desdemona as anything else.

Added to this was Othello’s failing of being blindly covetous and non being able to apologize the alleged behaviour of Desdemona. He practically worshipped her and set her up on a base from which she would hold to fall if she were to populate a normal human life. So if it were non for Iago there would hold been any other individual or agent to hold fed his green-eyed monster and brought about a similar if non indistinguishable result. Inter-racial matrimonies in the fifteenth-sixteenth centuries were really rare and did non hold the countenance of the society of that period.

So the instance of the brotherhood of a white Venetian adult female. Desdemona and that of a black Moor. Othello. was more than unusual and though Shakespeare was himself indifferent and used a black adult male as his hero. the remainder of the society of Venice was non that impartial. We see right from the beginning that Brabantio flew into a fury when he heard that his girl was infatuated with a “moor” . So it would hold been hard for the matrimony to hold survived even without the evil abetment from Iago because of the built-in failings in the characters of Desdemona and Othello and the force per unit area they would hold to undergo from the society.

Emilia. who is soft and sort and does non belie Desdemona’s eulogium of Othello. falls back on her native bias and calls Othello a ”black devil” and a “dolt” when she hears of her kept womans decease. Rodrigo is openly sarcastic and violative about Othello’s colour and the fact that Iago uses racialist remarks to turn people against Othello bears testimony to the fact that Othello would ever hold to walk on egg shells in order to keep peace and maintain to the right side of white people to be accepted whole-heartedly by the people.

Brabantio. Desdemona’s male parent was a senator and was placed above Othello in hierarchy of Venetian society. This was one of the grounds why he entirely expressed disdain of Othello’s race and abused him publically. He was shocked when he heard of Desdemona run offing with Othello and made a immense chromaticity and call about it. He considered his girl dead to himself and the universe and blamed Othello for utilizing witchery to acquire his daughter’s fondness. However. we are cognizant that it was he. Brabantio. who had been responsible for the meeting of Othello and Desdemona in the first topographic point.

Brabantio was really affectionate of listening to Othello’s alien narratives of escapade and courage and likely felt responsible to some extent for the eventual infatuation of Desdemona. Brabantio was highly commanding of Desdemona’s life and everything she did. Desdemona may hold felt rebellious and decided to run off with Othello to get away his dictatorship. This may be another index to the destiny of their matrimony in the long tally. ? Works Cited Garner. S. N. “Shakespeare’s Desdemona. ” Shakespeare Studies 9 ( 1976 ) : 233-252.

Rpt. in Shakespearian Criticism. Ed. Lynn M. Zott. Vol. 68. Detroit: Gale. 2003. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 5 May 2010. Neely. Carol Thomas. “Women and Men in Othello. ” William Shakespeare’s Othello. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. 1987. 79-104. Rpt. in Shakespearian Criticism. Ed. Lynn M. Zott. Vol. 68. Detroit: Gale. 2003. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 5 May 2010. Shakespeare. William. Four Calamities: Hamlet. Othello. King Lear. Macbeth. New York: Bantam Books. 1988.