Shakespeare's Othello - Othello's Relationship with Desdemona - Shakespeare and Race
In light of the above statement, Othello, is most certainly one of Shakespeare's more famous tragedies. This is largely due to the nat. Write a critical analysis of the relationship of Othello and Desdemona in Shakespeare`s tragedy Othello. Pay special attention to the interracial character of this. to the fall of Othello in the play? 2. Consider one of the male-female relationships in Othello (Othello and Desdemona; Iago and. Emilia; or Cassio and Bianca).
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.
Relationship of Othello and Desdemona Essay Example for Free
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. 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.the relationship between othello and desdemona essay
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.
Relationship of Othello and Desdemona Essay
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. It is unacceptable for a young white woman to be with an older black man.
Barbantio claims that only witchcraft can make his daughter, a spirit so still and quiet, to fall in love of what she fear to look on.
This refers to Othello, who, is now not seen as the man who was loved by Brabantio. His love is not approved immediately, because he is not what is expected from Desdemona to be married to. Her father rejects him, with prejudice on his race, and with fear about losing his good name in society.
On the one hand discriminated, on the other well accepted, The Moor is now not just a moor, not just a general; he is husband, respected by his wife and the majority.
He supports this impression, until his jealousy obsesses him and leads him to the most tragic display of it. Two people in love, each completes the other. That is how Desdemona and Othello, together, look at first sight. He has unruly temper, and she is calm; she is compassionate, he needs this; she adores him, and so does he adore her.
Both with such passion for each other. His lack of trust and his dubiety crush his common sense and Iago sows the seed of jealousy and suspicion so easily.
Nevertheless Othello never stops loving Desdemona, nor she stops loving and supporting him, even when he is far more different than a trusting, gentle husband. Yet the destruction of their initial idyll is inevitable. And then the fate of this marriage, this love would still be uneasy. The young beauty Desdemona is adored by several men in the play. So calm person she is, but is the one that causes such rage, resentment and jealousy among those men.
Ironically, the man with whom she is suspected of adultery does not fell like that for her. Although she appears as the unit of friction and suspicions in the tragedy, she is one of the most moderate characters.