This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Shakespeare's Othello Desdemona The Wonderful

2561 words - 10 pages

Othello: Desdemona the Wonderful  

    The innocent and charming personality of the wife of the general in William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello can hardly be rivaled – and yet she died the victim of a horrible murder. Let’s consider her case in this essay.


Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar in “The Engaging Qualities of Othello” comment on the virtue within the innocent wife of the Moor, and how pain came into her life:


Desdemona is warmhearted, tender, faithful, and much in love with her husband. No thought is further from her mind than the infidelity that Iago suggests to Othello. The suspense of the play increases as we watch Iago subtly poison Othello’s mind and witness Desdemona’s bewilderment, despair, and ultimate death, and this suspense is retained until the last lines when the spectator is left to imagine the tortures awaiting Iago, who is dragged off the stage to judgment.(129)


Just how innocent is the heroine? Robert Di Yanni in “Character Revealed Through Dialogue” examines the dialogue between Desdemona and Emilia, and finds that it reveals the former’s innocence:


In this dialogue we not only see and hear evidence of a radical difference of values, but we observe a striking difference of character. Desdemona’s innocence is underscored by her unwillingness to be unfaithful to her husband; her naivete, by her inability to believe in any woman’s infidelity. Emilia is willing to compromise her virtue and finds enough practical reasons to assure herself of its correctness. Her joking tone and bluntness also contrast with Desdemona’s solemnity and inability to name directly what she is referring to: adultery.(122)


Angela Pitt in “Women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies” comments on Desdemona as the ideal wife:


Handbooks of the period explain in some detail what is required of the ideal wife, and Desdemona seems to fulfill even the most conservative expectation. She is beautiful and also humble:


A maiden never bold

Of spirit so still and quiet that her motion

Blushed at herself. (I.iii.)


Her concern for Cassio shows her generosity, for she will intercede for him with Othello. She is wise, and also a ‘true and loving’ wife – ‘the sweetest innocent that e’er did lift up eye’. (44-45)


David Bevington in William Shakespeare: Four Tragedies describes the depth of virtue within this tragic heroine:


We believe her [Desdemona] when she says that she does not even know what it means to be unfaithful; the word “whore” is not in her vocabulary. She is defenseless against the charges brought against her because she does not even comprehend them, cannot believe that anyone would imagine such things. Her love, both erotic and chaste, is of that transcendent wholesomeness common to several late Shakespearean heroines [. . .]. Her “preferring” Othello to her father, like Cordelia’s placing her duty to a husband before that to a father, is...

Find Another Essay On Shakespeare's Othello - Desdemona the Wonderful

The Relationship Between Othello and Desdemona

1469 words - 6 pages The Relationship Between Othello and Desdemona We first learn of there being a relationship between Othello and Desdemona when Iago and Roderigo are telling Roderigo (Desdemona's Father), that ''an old black ram is tupping your white ewe''. This is referring to Othello and Desdemona having sexual intercourse, and shortly after hearing this, we become informed that Desdemona is ''Tying her duty, Beauty, Wit, and Fortunes

Examine how Shakespeare presents the relationship between Othello and Desdemona here and elsewhere in the play

1577 words - 6 pages This section of the play is where Othello has just arrived in Cyprus and they have found out there was a storm in which the Venetian ships survived but the Turkish ships were destroyed. Othello and Desdemona have a strong relationship, which is full of love and devotion. However, this changes throughout the play as, in Act 1 Scene 3, we hear of Iago's plan to ruin their marriage because he suspects that Othello has slept with his wife:"He's done

Play and Film-"The death of Desdemona" (Act V Scene ii): Oliver Parker's "Othello" and "Othello" by William Shakespeare

1607 words - 6 pages This comparative essay focuses on the murder of Desdemona (Act V, Scene ii) of William Shakespeare's 'Othello', in both the Folger version of the play, and Oliver Parker's film adaptation of the play. Through omissions to the script, use of lighting, and added scenes, Oliver Parker alleviates Othello of guilt, and preserves his honour in his adaptation. This paper will examine the original play as performed in the Globe Theatre in the

The Other in William Shakespeare's Othello

2741 words - 11 pages weak merits, Othello once again draws attention to his lack of confidence and insecurity; he is actually shocked that such a fair and wonderful woman would choose to be with an inferior being like him. Othello is not simply jealous, and by jumping so quickly to believe in Iago?s tale, it is obvious that he imagined something like this could potentially happen all along; he is merely preparing for the ultimate ego blow ? from his love, Desdemona

The Importance of Emilia in Shakespeare's Othello

1969 words - 8 pages Emilia.  Emilia is telling the truth.  She knows for a fact that Desdemona has been faithful to her husband and that she loves him wholly.  But in Shakespeare's style of character development; Emilia is playing coy to the fact that her husband has lead Othello to believe differently.  Emilia is now the only character to have direct interaction with Othello, Desdemona and her husband and be knowledgeable of her husband's scheme. The design of the

The Character of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello

1655 words - 7 pages .  Included in a text written by Stephen Greenblatt, Roderigo and Barbanizo believed that "Othello used magic to win Desdemona."(Norton Shakespeare, pp. 2091).  You also see many references in the play where a character will refer to Othello as being a devil or beast.             It was no secret to the reader of the play that Iago possessed a hatred for Othello.  In fact, in act one of the plays the reader sees hints of Iago's racial prejudice

The Power of Language in Shakespeare's Othello

1187 words - 5 pages become the all powerful initiators of action, once spoken they cannot be counter-acted , they alone determine the course of the future. Othello's monologue before he murders Desdemona is an excellent passage to study Shakespeare's thesis of how words relate to action. 7              Put out the light, and then put out the light! 8              If I quench thee, thou flaming minister, 9              I can again thy former light

Shakespeare's Othello, The Moor of Venice

1114 words - 5 pages . He takes on a journey that will see him avenge both Cassio for taking his position and Othello for not promoting him. When the Duke orders the three gentlemen; Othello, Cassio and Iago, to go to war against the Turks in Cyprus, accompanied by their wives, Iago finds an opportunity to plot his revenge. He starts by sowing seed of discord between Cassio and Othello. He accuses Cassio for having an affair with Desdemona, who happens to be Othello’s

The Major Themes in William Shakespeare's Othello

1370 words - 5 pages The Major Themes in William Shakespeare's Othello Irony and double meaning are the basis and patterns of Othello, in which nothing is what it seems to be; white is black and generally the characters and themes have contradictory aspects. Irony is one of the characteristics of tragedy as the outcome, although inevitable, is unfair. In Act 1 scene 1, Shakespeare sets up the main themes of: jealousy, revenge, xenophobia

The Failure of Love in Shakespeare's Othello

1050 words - 4 pages In William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Othello, there are numerous important ideas that are expressed throughout the play. One of the more significant ones is love, which is demonstrated in different types, through various characters. Shakespeare is conveying the message that the occurrence of negative incidents will overthrow even the strongest feelings of love. The relationship between Othello and Desdemona, the brotherly love between the Moor

The Meaning of Love in Shakespeare's Othello

2299 words - 9 pages in life, many different types of love, with some characters displaying different sorts of love depending on with whom they are sharing their love. Probably the most obvious love is between Othello and Desdemona, characterised by their happiness to see each other after Othello's separation due to the storm: Othello: O my fair warrior! Desdemona: My dear Othello! Othello: ... O my soul's joy, If after every tempest come such calms May

Similar Essays

Shakespeare's Othello Pitied Desdemona Essay

2037 words - 8 pages Othello and Pitied Desdemona         William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello sees the destruction of two very beautiful people because of a sinister intervention by a third. The most beautiful of all is the lovely and irreproachable Desdemona. Let us in this essay consider her character.   In her book, Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies, Maynard Mack comments on the heroine’s final song

Shakespeare's Othello Desdemona In Othello

1883 words - 8 pages Desdemona in Othello         In William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello, the wife of the protagonist is Desdemona. She is a lovely, intelligent, wholesome and pious person. This essay will analyze her.   In Act 1 Scene1, Iago persuades the rejected suitor of Desdemona, Roderigo, to accompany him to the home of Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, in the middle of the night. Once there the two awaken him with loud shouts about his

Desdemona In Shakespeare's Play "Othello" Essay

602 words - 2 pages Of all the characters presented in Shakespeare's "Othello" I want to discuss his portrayal of Desdemona who is the most beautiful figure in the play. I find Desdemona's character contradictive in some ways. She seems a very independent person in the beginning of the play but at the same time we see that she is described like somebody's property. From her first speech I can say that she is a very good daughter and highly respects her father: "My

The Flaws Of Othello, Murderer Of Desdemona

1733 words - 7 pages In Shakespeare’s play Othello, the main character Othello is typically victimized and portrayed as a mere scapegoat of the villainous Iago’s devious plans. However, Othello is not completely void of responsibility for the death of his wife. Othello, the tragic hero, is just as responsible as Iago for his premeditated murder of Desdemona due to his own internal flaws. Specifically, flaws such as his vivid imagination and his self over