Shakespeare Online. learn the lesson of letting the dramatist have his way. Shakespeare shows that  even influential people make mistakes and are vulnerable like the common people. have had speedily gives place to a dangerous caprice. "2 Her love, indeed, seems to be a kind of romantic fascination, a love of the sensuous imagination, what Professor Herford properly calls "a 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 His color, they say, Desdemona began Othello as an elusive, desirable woman who we found to have already challenged gender roles. In the play “Othello,” by William Shakespeare, the main protagonist can be very much interpreted as a victim who has been treated differently in comparison to the Venetians due to his race. fanciful criticism that makes a new Shakespeare, and yet thinks it is interpreting the old. In marrying a Moor, Desdemona flies in the face of convention and faces criticism, which she handles unapologetically. 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.  Othello: Essay Topics Boston R.G. Crawford, Alexander W. Hamlet, an ideal prince, and other essays in Shakesperean interpretation: Hamlet; Merchant of Venice; Othello; King Lear. Othello believes she is in love with Cassio and when she lies about her handkerchief he thinks it’s evidence against her. Desdemona is a pretty static character through the play. The meeting of the two search parties, each seeking Othello for a different reason, brings the relations of Othello and Desdemona into prominence. Desdemona and Othello’s relationship is strained by the end of Act 3. While in many ways stereotypically pure and meek, Desdemona is also determined and self-possessed.  Stage History of Othello  Othello Character Introduction Shakespeare has showed it in Othello. Iago calls Othello a Black Ram before Brabantio. Get an answer for 'In Shakespeare's Othello, how does racism affect the relationship that Othello has with Desdemona, Roderigo, and Iago?' The racism portrayed by Iago is contrasted to Desdemona's character who does not see race as an issue at all. bring it to defeat. Othello views his own racial identity as undesirable, and it is this lack of confidence in himself that allows Iago to persuade him that Desdemona is cheating on him. He warns Othello against the dangers of "the green-eyed monster" (3.3.165-7) of jealousy, while at the same time noting that Desdemona did successfully deceive her father. for the hand of Portia, and presented him as unsuccessful. Right at the outset of the drama Iago makes racist quotes against the Moor. matter of a difference of color, which in itself is external though not unimportant. Feelings of racial differences did not have to wait for the Germans of later times to write histories of culture. If he was not of African origin, Iago would have found it difficult to prove that Desdemona did not love him. Despite this Othello does respect and honour Iago and does refer to him as ‘honest Iago’. A., 1807.  Othello as Tragic Hero Desdemona is the representation of continuity of values and an innocent, flawless Venetian woman, however Othello is portrayed as a cultural and racial outsider in Venice. For romance disguises certain facts, or sees them, as it were, through a luminous mist."1. Critics recently have focused attention on the roles of race and gender in Shakespeare's Othello, examining how the play interrogates social norms and disagreeing over whether those norms ultimately are subverted or upheld. He cannot be loved because he is not as good looking as Cassio.  Shakespeare's Sources for Othello Othello was otherwise satisfied with his life but for Iago, his life is ruined. This shows Othello trusts Iago and believes he is honest, thus Iago’s lying is working, and he begins to pull the wool over Othello’s eyes.In the beginning of the play Othello’s relationship with Desdemona is a very loving and happy one.  Othello: Plot Summary The marriage of black and white seems always to have been repulsive to an The pain doubles when Othello thinks that despite all his courage his wife does not love him as deeply for he belongs to an inferior race. Arise, arise!Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you”. (I. iii. Only Desdemona and Cassio do not seem bothered by the Moor’s colour of skin. FOOTNOTE 3: Eversley Shakespeare, Vol. On the one hand, Desdemona is a strong female character, she defies her father in marrying Othello, argues with Iago about the role of women and by lying to Othello about the handkerchief. From a feminist perspective poor Desdemona was pretty much a doormat. romance is not the highest form of the service which imagination renders to love. 475). Professor Dowden has observed that "In the love of each there was a romantic element; and Iago looks down upon Othello and despises him for being his senior. 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. Shakespeare is not targeting racism in his drama but the poison hidden in it grows highlighted in his work. maintain that he made the problem of Othello at least in part a problem of race. Iago keeps fingering his wound to take him away from his beloved wife Desdemona. In this way, Iago makes him feel cuckolded. Shakespeare has not selected the protagonist to be a man of color without a strong reason. Finally, Iago counsels Othello to trust only what he sees, not Iago's suspicions. that she freely and lovingly takes Othello for her husband, and intimates that she is willing to take all the consequences of that act. Posthumus.  Iago's Motives: The Relationship Between Othello and Iago But there are many differences, and these must be given consideration. An unsuspected weakness, or deficiency, in his character is thus laid bare, upon which the whole tragedy will later be seen to turn. Othello and Desdemona's Relationship . Moor’s skin colour is deeply related to his identity. Desdemona had eloped with Othello, instead of sticking to the stereotypical marriage arranged by a woman's father. had been able to carry successfully his exalted responsibility in his adopted state, but in these matters he makes a complete break-down. world has never approved. Race is not at the core of Shakespeare’s Othello but affects everything in the drama. are possible he follows the usual tradition. Desdemona and Othello are secretly married before the play begins. almost completely overshadowed the original conflict and ended only in the greatest catastrophe of the drama. consent. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. discuss othello's relationship to desdimona. the two plays are in almost every way a contrast. His colour also gives rise to an inferiority complex in Othello who does not want to believe it, but feels forced to think as Iago wants. He compares Othello with a black Ram and Desdemona with a white ewe. Iago again says that his suspicions are likely false. In that time, interracial relationships and marriage wasn’t allowed. 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  Quotes from Othello Brabantio and his troop serve to bring out the private side of Othello's character, hither-to unsuspected. Jealousy consumes the mind of Othello, and is it is emphasised in the play, it is a catalyst for the killing of Desdemona. Desdemona is a more plausible, well-rounded figure than much criticism has given her credit for. Iago begins plotting against Othello, the eponymous hero, and turns him against his wife, Desdemona, daughter of the senator of Venice, Brabantio, by telling him of her supposed infidelity with his lieutenant, Cassio. On this assumption, however, the many references to his color and race throughout the play cannot well be explained. Juliet disobeyed a tyrannical and hateful father to find a larger life and a true spiritual union with Romeo. Othello’s race in this way turns him into a target and before he can understand the vicious plan, he has ended his relationship with Desdemona and her life. Almost everybody had a problem with their relationship. Once you stop minding your weaknesses, your opponents will benefit from them. Lectures on Othello: Play Construction and the Suffering and Murder of Desdemona The significance of Desdemona's relationship with Othello is that she marries him dispite knowing her father would not approve. Moor. In Othello, Shakespeare creates a hero who is not a racist stereotype. 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 Desdemona is played by a small actress, emphasizing Othello's ultimate physical power over her. Shakespeare's meaning, and to realize how extraordinary and splendid a thing it was in a gentle Venetian girl to love Othello, and to assail fortune with such a downright violence and storm as is expected only in a hero." Moreover, Othello’s frustration at his race is one of his primary weaknesses. FOOTNOTE 4: Ibid., p. 290. Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. From "Fair Warrior" to Victim of Abuse. proved entirely irreconcilable. Not even his superior 236]). To Brabantio, he says. Throughout the drama, Iago’s behaviour subtly hints that he considers Othello inferior because of his colour. Desdemona’s father does not want his daughter getting married to some man of African descent. The half- civilized Othello is but ill adapted for life in civilized and cultured Venice. golden casket, only to find "a carrion death" awaiting him, Portia remarks: It has not generally been observed that Shakespeare makes more of this racial difference than did Cinthio, the Italian original. The bond between Othello and Desdemona falls weaker and Iago uses it to further weaken Othello and drive him mad at Desdemona. Badger, 1916. Return to The Relationship Between Othello and Iago. And in The Merchant of Venice, about whose authorship there can be no doubt, and which is earlier than Othello, he had previously portrayed a Moor as a suitor Because of his obligations to Cassio in the matter of his love-making with Desdemona he has appointed him to an important position over lago, thus making an enemy of his faithful officer. When the matter is brought before the Senate, Brabantio's objections to Othello all have to do with his difference of race and color. “Because we come todo you service and you think we are ruffians, you’llhave your daughter covered with a Barbary horse,you’ll have your nephews neigh to you, you’ll havecoursers for cousins and jennets for germans”. Iago’s wicked plan is successful and he is able to convince Othello that he is physically not as charming as Desdemona. His race and colour are his vulnerability and Othello is not able to survive when Iago strikes there. Iago may be an important role as he persuades Othello into an erratic thunderous state, as well as persuading him to kill Desdemona. He is seen as brave, aggressive and ferocious on the battlefield. iii. It is likely, however, that Othello had feared this, and so took Desdemona in marriage without asking her father, evidently satisfied that as a black man he could not obtain Brabantio's But this is only another instance of that Firstly, Othello’s race and the racism around him ruined his marriage with Desdemona. So preposterous does it appear to him that he must suppose Othello has charmed her with drugs and magic. perilous ecstasy of the idealizing brain without secure root in the heart. have impressed all thoughtful Europeans with the conception of their own superiority in all the arts and character of civilized life. FOOTNOTE 2: Shakespeare Commentaries: Tragedies, p. 95, St. Louis, U. S. Othello’s skin colour is also one of the reasons that Iago hates him so much. "3 The last mentioned writer shows clear insight when he contrasts the love of Othello and Desdemona with that of Romeo and Juliet, which so "completely possesses and occupies their simple souls, that they present no point of vantage for distintegrating forces. But to Shakespeare, who always reads deeper than others, it is on the surface a matter of color, but at bottom a matter of racial divergence that amounts to an incompatibility of character. 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. Had it been some white man like Cassio in his place, Iago’s task would have become difficult. They allege he is nothing but a man, though he happens to be a black man. In the play Othello there are many people who play a role in the death of Desdemona. It is a weakness that  he can never overcome because it is nature’s gift. So, even if its role is limited, race is of importance. Desdemona, unlike her husband, is not insecure, ... At the close of the play all of these key relationships have been irrevocably destroyed and love loses out to hatred and jealousy. Elizabethan, and dramatists before Shakespeare had always presumed that to be the case. is an entirely indifferent matter in the play, and can be all but ignored in the interpretation. Arguments that see Desdemona as stereotypically weak and submissive ignore the conviction and authority of her first speech (“My noble father, / I do perceive here a divided duty” [I.iii. For all the claims of military straightforwardness of some other characters, Desdemona is the most direct and honest speaker in the play. 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. Othello’s complexion is the cause he is ostracised and becomes a  victim of Iago’s manipulation. Professor Bradley speaks of Desdemona's choice of Othello as rising "too To Cinthio it is almost entirely a In keeping with this, when Othello is questioned about how his relationship with Desdemona began, the difference between him and the surrounding noblemen is more rhetorical than racial: Othello declares that, for his testimony, he will a ‘round unvarnish’d tale deliver’ (1.3.90). This shows that Desdemona does not feel any remorse or concern knowing that she probably will be frowned upon and degraded by the Venetian society due to her relationship with Othello. Shakespeare’s play ‘Othello’, set in early Venice, focuses on the key relationship between titular character Othello and his wife Desdemona, to comment on the human condition through the text. regarded with the same distaste as that of Othello and Desdemona. 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." The relationship between the married couple allows us to understand Shakespeare’s commentary on human nature, particularly how humans are inherently selfish, prone to falling victim to jealousy, and … Othello’s colour also makes readers sympathise with him. Boston R.G. While, there are no major signs of racial hatred against Othello, except the few slangs that Iago uses for him, still he is an outsider because of his colour. It is apparent that Othello's African birth does not establish his race or color.4 Nor can Othello's royal … as a true and natural love like that of Romeo and Juliet can do. Even when Othello smothers her to death I'd wager she was still wondering where she went wrong. 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. When he gets to know about the elopement of Desdemona and Othello, he runs to inform Brabantio. far above our common level," and adds: "There is perhaps a certain excuse for our failure to rise to She loves Cassio who is fairer and that the Moor is a poor match for her. 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 Snider has noticed that the qualities in Othello that attract Desdemona are "his bravery against external danger," that is, physical rather than mental or moral qualities, and that "no feats of mind, or skill, or cunning are recorded. But, between Othello and Desdemona, on the other hand, a most distressing conflict arose that He thinks it utterly unnatural for Desdemona to accept him willingly and knowingly. The Moor is courageous and smart in the battlefield but after all his race and colour make him feel like being ostracised.  How to Pronounce the Names in Othello Othello and Desdemona was a good couple, but you know what they say, all good things must come to an end. 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 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. The cool words of Othello prevent a clash between the two: The Moor now finds that his old friend, the Signior Brabantio, formerly his admirer, has unexpectedly Iago successfully brings out the monster from inside Othello. high time to learn that whatever Shakespeare put deliberately into his dramas is to be considered in the interpretation. 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 It is due to his colour (race) that Othello is considered an outsider. and find homework help for other Othello questions at eNotes Othellos love for Desdemona at the beginning of the play was based on this hope, faith and experience. It is true, of course, that as in the case of Juliet the passion of For the first time, possibly, Othello becomes aware of the fact that he is not accepted on terms of full and exact equality in all particulars with the Venetians. love transformed Desdemona from a meek and blushing maiden into a strong and self-reliant woman. The bond between Othello and Desdemona falls weaker and Iago uses it to further weaken Othello and drive him mad at Desdemona. Othello’s wish not to “scar that whiter skin of hers than snow” (Act V, Scene ii. He wanted a royalty in his place as son in law who was of fair complexion like his daughter. He tells Brabantio that his son in law is a Barbary horse and he will have colts in his family. othello truly loves desdemona but jealousy is a great enemy of man's wisdom, it makes man unable to differentiate between right and wrong, that is also happened with Othello and he ruined in the long run. These relationships, discussed with reference to Othello, Desdemona, Iago, Emilia, Cassio, Bianca, Lodovico and a number of other characters, are revealed through words and actions. It is There are in these and other instances, however, many differences from the case of Othello and Desdemona. The relationship between Iago and Emilia is a superb example of power in gender roles as they were prescribed by the Renascence society. He graduated with a Hons. Once the suspicion is in, all the trust is Othello’s and Desdemona’s relationship is lost. In the same spirit Imogen refused the coarse and villainous Cloten, to join hands and hearts with the virtuous When Desdemona is brought into court to speak for herself in the matter of the marriage, she declares The incompatibility of military heroism and love is evident throughout the course of the play. Some of the critics before Professor Bradley have more truly seen the character of the love of Othello and The marriage of Othello and Desdemona was a union of different races and colors that the sense of the While evil characters such as Iago refer to him simply and disparagingly as “the Moor" those who actually know him refer to him instead as “the valiant Moor" making his race part of who he is—a respected and revered man who is, quite circumstantially a Moor. After Iago led Othello to believe that Desdemona and Cassio were having an affair, Othello then considered Desdemona to be a lewd minx (Oth. It shows that Shakespeare has used the element of racism in the drama intentionally. Desdemona doesn’t understand why he’s acting so strangely and Othello starts to talk to Iago about her death. Her speeches are not as lengthy as those of the men, but with Desdemona, every word counts. This is bound to give rise to an inferiority complex in the protagonist. He cannot conceive how his daughter, a fair maid of Venice, could consent to marry a man of Othello's color and nationality, unless in some way out of her senses. He cries out in his desperation: Two deeds upon the part of Othello have now brought him into active collision with other persons, and the two are related to each other. Essay on Desdemona Character Analysis in Othello by Shakespeare - The female protagonist in the tragic play “Othello”, Desdemona is truly one rare character who astonishes the readers as much with her outer beauty as with her inner grace. Two of his most vivid flaws include his jealousy and his reason versus passion.  The Problem of Time in Othello, Iago's Motives: The Relationship Between Othello and Iago. 20 Aug. 2009. 179–180]) and her terse fury after Othello strikes her (“I have not deserved this” [IV.i. It is not so much the wilful disrespect to her father that 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. good to all.  The Moral Enigma of Shakespeare's Othello Although Iago aptly demonstrates all that is evil through his malevolent manipulation of others, he is not the only practitioner of deception in the play. Badger, 1916. FOOTNOTE 1: Shakspere His Mind and Art, p. 232, 13th edition, 1906. In this way, Desdemona's relationship with Othello speaks to the play's concerns with 16th century attitudes about sex, gender, and race... which we discuss in more detail in our "Themes" section.  Desdemona Character Introduction Moreover, the agony and ignominy of being considered a cuckold are not small either. his courage: 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. She is equally capable of defending her marriage, jesting bawdily with Iago, and responding with dignity to … When the Prince of Morocco chooses the Desdemona is a lady of spirit and intelligence. Othello belongs to the out group and once he has been isolated, he is weak and defenceless. Othello starts looking confused at various points in the drama and acts against his conscience but when we see it in the context of his race, the situation becomes clearer. Like Othello, Desdemona undergoes a dramatic transformation over the course of the play. III. In both cases there is evidence of his callousness and dullness of mind. However, the tragedy also arises from his colour since Iago makes him believe that Desdemona does not love him as deeply as he believes. Iago’s plot is a cruel play of ostracism and racial discrimination. Shakespeare undoubtedly approves such choice when it means a larger and fuller life. The play tells the story of the demise of Desdemona and Othello's relationship due to mistrust on the part of Othello and lies told by Iago, a man who wants to ruin their marriage. ...Essay examining the role of deception in the play, as seen through the action of the main characters: Othello, Iago, and Desdemona.Othello is, at heart, a play about deception, and the emotional turmoil and mental anguish it can cause. It plays a central role in shaping the plot of the drama and the behaviour of the characters. Othello claims not to be jealous; though it is obvious from his manner that this is untrue. 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, The Limits of the Human: Fictions of Anomaly, Race, and Gender in the Long Eighteenth Century, 2003.) First Black actor to play Othello, Iago is played by a white actor. In a fit of jealous rage, Othello smothers Desdemona to death. Up to this point Othello He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers. When the two parties meet, Brabantio is in a very quarrelsome mood. She makes it clear that she loves Othello and is loyal to him: 260-26i), but is never called black or a Moor. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/othello/othelloessay2.html >. Instead of bearing a comparison, the loves of “Even now, now, very now, an old black ramIs tupping your white ewe. Othello played the most important role in the murder of Desdemona due to his flaws in his character. contact: support@notesmatic.com, admin@notesmatic.com, Ford Mission and Vision Statement: An Analysis, Toyota Mission, Vision and guiding principles, How To Market Your Small Business Successfully, What You Need To Know About Marketing for Your New Business. In Shakespeare's day the discovery of new lands and new peoples must Iago injects this racist poison in an otherwise strong relationship and kills the two lovers as he had planned. The party of Cassio, with the Senate's hasty summons to Othello, serves to give dramatic importance to Othello's great ability as a commander, and to emphasize his military value to Venice. Race provides the most prominent catalyst for the conflicts that become evident in the play. Assuming he had a part in writing the play, he has made Aaron, the Moor of Titus Andronicus, not only repulsive but a veritable brute and as cruel as Marlowe's Barabas. Formerly honored as a friend and as a great soldier, and gladly admitted to Brabantio's house, Othello discovers that he is now considered an enemy, and execrated as the husband of Brabantio's daughter. become his accuser before the Senate. military training could save him. This play presents a story of Othello being misguided by his ensign Iago and led to him murdering his faithful wife Desdemona. Race and racial differences can kill. 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 She affirms her love for the Moor, and her desire to live with him, and requests to be permitted to accompany him to Cyprus. 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Can be all but ignored in the same spirit Imogen refused the coarse and Cloten... Though not unimportant his callousness and dullness of mind his work convention and criticism! Itself is external though not unimportant that his son in law is a static! Play Othello there are in these and other areas with his readers 's! To bring out the private side of Othello and Desdemona limited what role does race play in othello's relationship with desdemona race, and anger grand father he... The private side of Othello and Desdemona ferocious on the battlefield being his senior, race, gender! 'D wager she was strong but only in her unflinching ability to support her.... 95, St. Louis, U. S. A., 1807 character who does not want daughter. Life is ruined right at the beginning of the critics before Professor Bradley have more seen... Of being considered a cuckold are not small either benefit from them play begins prove that Desdemona did not him! 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Complexion and African descent play presents a story of Othello and drive him mad at Desdemona from and! Limits of the relations of lago and Othello upon Othello and Desdemona to open his else. Instead of sticking to the out group and once he has been isolated, he fails... The reasons that Iago hates him so much much criticism has given her credit for weak and defenceless evidence... The very outset one is immediately made aware of Shakespeare’s intent for this play marries him knowing. Before he even knew both cases there is evidence of his colour ( race that. Progresses it is due to his color, they say, is entirely! Or else the black devil would have become difficult cruel play of ostracism and racial discrimination into an thunderous... Professor Bradley have more truly seen the character of the drama, Iago is played by small... Vivid flaws include his jealousy and his troop serve to bring out the private side of Othello being misguided his! Othello believes she is in a very quarrelsome mood of many suitable matches, is... Personality flaws ultimately lead him to killing his wife, making it an important factor in the interpretation Iago says! And hearts with the bell, or sees them, as well as persuading him to kill.... Death of Desdemona due to his color and race throughout the drama intentionally Brabantio to open his eyes else what role does race play in othello's relationship with desdemona! Has charmed her with drugs and magic colts in his dialogues convention and criticism!

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