Sep 19, have largely overlooked the textual issue of age: Othello and Desdemona are separated This article demonstrates how early modern views of age and aging work with ARTICLE TITLE: Yet that's not much: Age Differences in Othello . of marriage, they nevertheless question some of its fundamentals. However, in focusing on the play's Caucasian, patriarchal society, critics have largely overlooked the textual issue of age: Othello and Desdemona are. Jun 25, The relationship between Desdemona and Othello is central to of many a more suitable match, chooses a man despite his racial difference.
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. In his final speech Othello claims that he was "one that loved not wisely but too well" and it is clear that his feelings regarding Desdamona were extremely passionate and overwhelming.
Whether one lays all the blame for the tragedy at Iago's door, however, or holds Othello responsible is a matter for each individual audience member as they watch the play. Iago and Emilia - An Unhappy Marriage The relationship between Iago and Emilia is not that of a strong and equal tie of love which we expect to find existing between man and wife.
Relationships in Othello
When she exposes his scheme he kills her without a moment's hesitation and shocks the people who witness it: She steals the handkerchief in order to make him happy and perhaps strengthen their relationship: I'll have the work ta'en out, And give't lago: Her character is somewhat tarnished by her association with Iago but she seems self-aware enough to realise that this is the case: Her remarkable courage in standing up to him to defend Desdamona in the final Act redeems her character in the eyes of the audience: I hold my peace, sir?
No I will speak as liberal as the north: Let heaven and men and devils, let them all, All, all, cry shame against me, yet I'll speak. Iago's murder of Emilia exposes his true nature to the world and proves conclusively that he had driven Othello to kill Desdamona.
At the close of the play all of these key relationships have been irrevocably destroyed and love loses out to hatred and jealousy.
Relationships in Othello - webob.info
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. Professor Dowden has observed that "In the love of each there was a romantic element; and romance is not the highest form of the service which imagination renders to love.
For romance disguises certain facts, or sees them, as it were, through a luminous mist. But, between Othello and Desdemona, on the other hand, a most distressing conflict arose that almost completely overshadowed the original conflict and ended only in the greatest catastrophe of the drama.
Instead of bearing a comparison, the loves of the two plays are in almost every way a contrast. The marriage of Othello and Desdemona was a union of different races and colors that the sense of the world has never approved. The marriage of black and white seems always to have been repulsive to an Elizabethan, and dramatists before Shakespeare had always presumed that to be the case.
Paige Rowell AS English Literature: Desdemona and Emilia
Shakespeare no doubt shared this feeling, for in the two plays where no doubts on the matter are possible he follows the usual tradition. 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.
- By Elaine Dobbyn
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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 for the hand of Portia, and presented him as unsuccessful.
When the Prince of Morocco chooses the golden casket, only to find "a carrion death" awaiting him, Portia remarks: Let all of his complexion choose me so. His color is recognized as a natural barrier that makes him a very unwelcome suitor.