Shakespeare's Othello - Othello's Relationship with Desdemona - Shakespeare and Race
This means that they have a close military relationship. However, the personal relationship between Othello and Iago is much more complex. The meeting of the two search parties, each seeking Othello for a different reason , brings the relations of Othello and Desdemona into prominence. The party of. In addition to race, another socially shocking issue regarding Desdemona and Othello's marriage is their age difference. Although their exact.
Several strokes of good fortune the handkerchief etc help Iago keep Othello on side until the murder of Desdamona but ultimately it is his genius for manipulation and trickery that ensures his success.
Desdemona and Othello - True Love? In marrying a 'Moor', Desdemona flies in the face of convention and faces familial and societal criticism for her bold choice. Her father is shocked and dismayed: She fell in love with his stories of valour; "These things to hear would Desdemona seriously incline". This also shows that she is not a passive, submissive character in that she decided she wanted him and she pursued him.
On the subject of her relationship with Othello, Desdemona says: That I did love the Moor to live with him, My downright violence and storm of fortunes May trumpet to the world: I saw Othello's visage in his mind, And to his honour and his valiant parts Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.
While Othello appears confident of her love for him in Act 1 deep down he is insecure in the relationship. He can't quite believe how happy he is that she loves him: If it were now to die, 'Twere now to be most happy; for I fear, My soul hath her content so absolute That not another comfort like to this Succeeds in unknown fate. When Iago starts making vague suggestions of Cassio's untrustworthy nature Othello's confidence is knocked sideways very rapidly: This would point to him being more worried about his hurt pride than about the fact that she might not love him.
Desdemona, unlike her husband, is not insecure, even when called a 'whore' she remains loyal to him and resolves to love him despite his misunderstanding of her; she is resolute and tenacious in the face of adversity. Her love for Othello is unwaning: My love doth so approve him That even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns - Prithee unpin me - have grace and favour in them. She bids Othello to do the sensible thing and ask Cassio how he obtained the handkerchief but this is too rational for Othello who has already ordered his murder.
Even as Desdemona faces her death, she asks Emilia to commend her to her 'kind lord'. She remains in love with him knowing that he is responsible for her death. He has also stolen away Desdemona from her father, and secretly married her, making an enemy of Brabantio, who had been one of his greatest admirers among the Senate. In both cases there is evidence of his callousness and dullness of mind. Up to this point Othello had been able to carry successfully his exalted responsibility in his adopted state, but in these matters he makes a complete break-down.
Not even his superior military training could save him. He could perform well the duties of military life, but now it begins to be evident that he is not fitted for the higher and more exacting arts of peace, and especially of love, in a civilized state.
When Othello leaves "the tented fields" for the streets and homes of a refined city he utterly goes to pieces, and whatever sense of honor he may have had speedily gives place to a dangerous caprice. An unsuspected weakness, or deficiency, in his character is thus laid bare, upon which the whole tragedy will later be seen to turn. This deficiency, it is now important to notice, the play implies is due to his racial character, and comes from the fact that he is a Moor. The half- civilized Othello is but ill adapted for life in civilized and cultured Venice.
Some critics endeavor to make out that nothing whatever of the happenings of the play are in any way connected with the fact that Othello is a Moor. They allege he is nothing but a man, though he happens to be a black man. His color, they say, is an entirely indifferent matter in the play, and can be all but ignored in the interpretation. On this assumption, however, the many references to his color and race throughout the play cannot well be explained.
This view takes for granted that the dramatist heaps up idle words having no significance, and refuses to believe that there was a meaning in all he wrote. It is not necessary to hold, as Professor Bradley would have us believe, that the dramatist must be credited with clear doctrines of Kulturgeschichte if we are to maintain that he made the problem of Othello at least in part a problem of race.
Feelings of racial differences did not have to wait for the Germans of later times to write histories of culture. In Shakespeare's day the discovery of new lands and new peoples must have impressed all thoughtful Europeans with the conception of their own superiority in all the arts and character of civilized life.
How age, social position and race impact the relationship between Othello and Desdemona
And the play makes Othello quite as conscious as any one else of his diversity of race, though it is to other causes that he assigns his want of grace and culture. When charged before the Senate with the abduction of Desdemona, Othello's defence consists of a frank and free admission that he had taken Brabantio's daughter, and an apologetic account of his "whole course of love.
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In the course of his apology, his "round unvarnished tale" becomes eloquent with a barbaric sincerity and splendor that almost enlists the sympathy of the Senate. The story of "the battle, sieges, fortune" he had passed is almost as potent with the senators as it had been with Desdemona, who, he says, "lov'd me for the dangers I had passed, And I lov'd her, that she did pity them. He further says he is ready to abide by the decision of Desdemona, and advises the senate to call her to speak for herself.
He considers the marriage to be a matter for themselves alone, and implies that the lady has a right to choose her husband without her father's consent. There are numerous Shakespearean plays which seem to bear out the idea that the dramatist thought it to be the woman's right to choose her own husband, without meeting her father's wishes in the matter.
But there are many differences, and these must be given consideration. Shakespeare undoubtedly approves such choice when it means a larger and fuller life.
Royalty Secret Intride: Othello de Moor and Desdemona’s
Juliet disobeyed a tyrannical and hateful father to find a larger life and a true spiritual union with Romeo. In the same spirit Imogen refused the coarse and villainous Cloten, to join hands and hearts with the virtuous Posthumus. The lovely Jewess, Jessica, ran away from the miserly Shylock to marry the Christian, Lorenzo, and at the same time accepted the religion of her husband.
In all these cases the maidens found their true life with the men of their own choice, and the dramatist gives his verdict in making their love happy and successful, and in bringing out of their marriage a larger good to all. There are in these and other instances, however, many differences from the case of Othello and Desdemona. It is not so much the wilful disrespect to her father that is the fault of Desdemona, though some critics make a great deal of this, but the fact that in marrying Othello she showed a wilful disregard of her own highest interests.Shakespeare: Othello - Summary and Analysis of the Theme of Love
It can scarcely be maintained that the marriage of Othello and Desdemona was a complete spiritual union, for there were too many diverse elements that at the time seemed incompatible and in the end proved entirely irreconcilable.
It is true, of course, that as in the case of Juliet the passion of love transformed Desdemona from a meek and blushing maiden into a strong and self-reliant woman. There need be no attempt to deny the reality of the love of these two, and its effect upon their development, but it was not strong enough or natural enough to overcome all its enemies, as a true and natural love like that of Romeo and Juliet can do.
Under some conditions it is possible that their love might have outlived their lives and overcome its handicaps, yet it is to miss the art of this drama not to see that the dramatist is here showing its unnaturalness by placing it in the conditions that test it to the uttermost and that reveal its weakness and bring it to defeat. When Desdemona is brought into court to speak for herself in the matter of the marriage, she declares that she freely and lovingly takes Othello for her husband, and intimates that she is willing to take all the consequences of that act.
She affirms her love for the Moor, and her desire to live with him, and requests to be permitted to accompany him to Cyprus. She says she understands fully what she is doing, recognizes Othello as a Moor, but that she accepts him as he is, or, as her words imply, she finds compensation for his color in the quality of his mind, in his honors, and in his courage: Seeing her determination and her willingness to abide by her decision, her father accepts what seems inevitable, but leaves them with the needless and cruel mark: She has deceiv'd her father, and may thee.
These words let us see where Desdemona got her wilfulness, and relieve us of the necessity of grieving much over the sorrows of her father in this most unfortunate marriage. In some recent criticism there has been an attempt to glorify the purity and beauty of the love of Othello and Desdemona, and to place it among the most spiritual of the loves of Shakespeare.
Professor Bradley speaks of Desdemona's choice of Othello as rising "too far above our common level," and adds: If Goethe's suggestions for the re-casting of Hamlet in order to express better the meaning have not helped but hindered the understanding of Shakespeare's drama, we should learn the lesson of letting the dramatist have his way.
Some of the critics before Professor Bradley have more truly seen the character of the love of Othello and Desdemona.