Othello is about many things and one of the most glaring of those things is race. Othello mentions the handkerchief so often because it is the one thing that has "proved" that Desdemona had an affair with Cassio and is the key to all of his rage and suffering as he is about to kill his wife. One of his most famous plays is Othello. And she's a total Daddy's girl... until she falls head over heels in love with Othello. The play opens to a Venetian crisis. Yet, when a crisis comes, they both share the same basic values of honesty and loyalty. Desdemona (/ ˌ d ɛ z d ə ˈ m oʊ n ə /) is a character in William Shakespeare's play Othello (c. 1601–1604). She fell in love with the idea of a bold, courageous, romantic adventurer and her heart fully consented. Othello is eventually driven mad by his jealousy and one night after Desdemona has retired to bed he approaches her and strangles her to death. Each Shakespeare’s play name links to a range of resources about each play: Character summaries, plot outlines, example essays and famous quotes, soliloquies and monologues: All’s Well That Ends Well Antony and Cleopatra As You Like It The Comedy of Errors Coriolanus Cymbeline Hamlet Henry IV Part 1 Henry IV Part 2 Henry VIII Henry VI Part 1 Henry VI Part 2 Henry VI Part 3 Henry V Julius Caesar King John King Lear Loves Labour’s Lost Macbeth Measure for Measure The Merchant of Venice The Merry Wives of Windsor A Midsummer Night’s Dream Much Ado About Nothing Othello Pericles Richard II Richard III Romeo & Juliet  The Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Timon of Athens Titus Andronicus Troilus & Cressida  Twelfth Night The Two Gentlemen of Verona The Winter’s Tale. Iago also wants to attack Cassio and devises a plan to kill two birds with one stone. Who does Iago convince Othello that his wife has been sleeping with? Even during that horrific event, she continues to declare her love for him. A devoted, loving wife, she is murdered by her husband in a fit of jealous rage. Cassio has until recently been an ancient but was chosen ahead of Iago to be Othello’s lieutenant. Desdemona’s speech to her father and the council (act 1, scene 3), Othello | Othello summary | Othello characters: Desdemona, Iago | Othello settings | Othello in modern English | Othello full text | Modern Othello ebook | Othello quotes | Othello quote translations | Othello monologues | Othello soliloquies | Othello performance history. O, farewell! Iago is probably Shakespeare’s most fully realised and most destructive villain. Othello has some trusted officers around him. Othello explains all that to the Duke. It is believed that Shakespeare wrote 38 plays in total between 1590 and 1612. She refuses to marry any of the rich, handsome Venetian men that everyone expects her to marry. She is far too trusting and thus herself partly responsible for her fate. The play Othello portrays various stages of love and how it is bound to the nature of the individuals who experience it. Gratiano. Love And Betrayal In Othello 2500 Words | 10 Pages. When his ship arrives, he and Desdemona joyfully greet each other. Othello used magic on Desdemona: 19. Cassio – (honorable) lieutenant, with Othello when he first dates Desdemona. Desdemona, fictional character, the wife of Othello and the object of his unwarranted jealousy, in William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello (written 1603–04). Iago, putting his plot into action, persuades Roderigo that Desdemona is in love with Cassio and that Roderigo should help get Cassio dismissed from the lieutenancy. Emilia is down to earth to Desdemona's nobility, and practical to Desdemona's romanticism. The login page will open in a new tab. Iago, angry about life generally, and taking pleasure in manipulating people, decides to poison that love and destroy Othello. 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. Read More. He has married Desdemona in secret as they are greatly in love. Besides the beauty and charm for which she is revered, she possesses a marked degree of mental idealism and emotional purity. Iago also has the complete trust of Desdemona. Desdemona is a character in Shakespeare’s Othello. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Desdemona-fictional-character. . In her marriage, her vow to honour her husband through thick and thin is carried out to the very end. According to Emilia, she might cheat on Iago. The daughter of a Venetian senator, Desdemona is greatly loved by Othello, an honoured and heroic Moorish general in the service of Venice. Instead, she elopes (gasp!) By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Her response to Othello – the dangers he has encountered and overcome – shows her to have a tender heart and a great capacity for empathy. She is a beautiful, intelligent and educated young woman with multiple suitors, but well-guarded by her father. The first person to doubt Iago’s honesty, besides Roderigo is: Emilia: 21. Brabantio. So he doesn't look like he is against Othello What is Roderigo's previous relationship with Brabantio and Desdemona? Desdemona’s actions are once again put into questioning, for if she was a realistic character would she have married Othello, even though he himself states that he is damned? When her husband is deployed to Cyprus in the service of the Republic of Venice, Desdemona accompanies him. Driven by jealousy that has been skillfully manipulated, Othello takes the life of. Enraged, Brabantio takes Othello to the Duke, who is meeting with the Council, where they have just decided that they will send a battalion of soldiers to Cyprus, under the command of their top general, Othello, to confront the Turks. Iago, angry about life generally, and taking pleasure in manipulating people, decides to poison that love and destroy Othello. Regarded as honest and trustworthy by Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and the other officers, he is, in fact, hypocritical and vicious, plotting and scheming behind everyone’s back. The Daughter of the Venetian senator Brabantio.Having been charmed by Othello 's tales of exotic lands and military exploits, Desdemona elopes with him before the play begins (although they do not consummate their marriage until they have received sanction from the Duke and, reluctantly, her father). "Gentle" means kind, refined, and of a good family. ). The Turks are heading towards Venice and unless they can be stopped they will invade the city. Othello refuses to be destroyed by jealousy because he can clearly see that Desdemona chose him out of love and not because of anything else, but he feels like he needs proof from Desdemona that she is not cheating on him to be truly convinced. Duke of Venice – leader of govt. She is presented as a young Venetian beauty highly treasured by her father, Brabanzio. Othello mentions the handkerchief so often because it is the one thing that has “proved” that Desdemona had an affair with Cassio and is the key to all of his rage and suffering as he is about to kill his wife. Still from the motion picture version of Shakespeare's, Othello, a Moorish general in the service of Venice in Shakespeare’s Othello. © 2004 – 2020 No Sweat Digital Ltd. All rights reserved. The Duke sends for Desdemona who tells them that she’s a full-grown woman with her own mind and that she loves the Moor more than anything in the world. Iago hints to Othello that she deceived her father so she could deceive him. Not bad at all. The possession of a woman is the key element of a man’s power in Othello. Please log in again. In the meantime Brabantio, a prominent Venetian citizen, has just heard that his daughter, Desdemona, has run off with the Moor and married him. Over the course of the play, both are lured into the complex love plot engineered by Iago, one of Shakespeare's best-written villains. Roderigo doesn’t like Othello because: Desdemona is married to him: 20. When Iago tells Othello that Brabantio will try to annul Desdemona's marriage, Othello says, "But that I love the gentle Desdemona, / I would not my unhoused free condition / Put into circumscription and confine / For the sea's worth" (1.2.25-28). They marry in secret and although that is frowned upon by the city authorities Othello is a military hero and Venice is in deep trouble. And Desdemona with all her love that she had for Othello even if he killed her, she doesn’t want Othello to suffer and to let the fault on him so she answered: “Nobody – I myself. Emilia – lady-in-waiting for Desdemona and Iago’s wife. 236]). There is no more but this, away at once with love or jealousy!” (3.3.31). Brabantio’s  daughter, Desdemona, had listened to the stories and fallen in love with the Moor. Love can be used against you/ Love can be manipulated. He convinces Othello with engineered ‘evidence’ that Desdemona is having a sexual affair with Cassio. Othello does not believe her, and smothers her to death. Considering the love in friendship, one can analyse the friendship between Emilia and Desdemona. At the heart of Shakespeare's "Othello" is the doomed romance between Othello and Desdemona. Iago uses Othello’s love for Desdemona against him. Their lives seem to be moving along in happiness, but the infamous Iago has an evil plan in store for them. Roderigo – in love with Desdemona, pays Iago to court her on his behalf. After logging in you can close it and return to this page. Othello has led a life of adventure; Desdemona has hardly been outside her house. The love between Othello and Desdemona is very clear and obvious to all, and in private, too, Othello is tender and loving towards his wife. They are in love, but Othello can't get past his self-doubt as to why such a lovely woman would love him. She is, of course, a woman in the position of almost all Elizabethan women – the possession of her father until ownership is passed to another man in marriage. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Othello becomes obsessed with the idea that his wife is sleeping with Cassio. He does that by being a close confidant of the general and getting his absolute trust then manipulating him into a position in which he destroys himself. Prior to his marriage to Desdemona, Desdemona’s father was reluctant with the marriage because Othello was a black man. .. Beside the deficient understanding of this society into hich he has made his way, the motif of the secret marriage then also suggests a definite lack of self-knowledge on Othello’s part. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Othello demotes Cassio while at the same time becoming very unpleasant to Desdemona. Othello. Her speech to the Council shows strength and determination, common sense, and commitment. Cassio. Othello is the man who is in love with Desdemona. Othello was truly in love with Desdemona, but so were many others. Othello is depicted by the author as the hero of love as he is ready to safeguard the love of his life. Othello is incensed to hear that Desdemona would give away something so valuable, and is persuaded by Iago's insinuations and claims to believe that Desdemona is guilty. Bianca – prostitute in love with Cassio. Both Desdemona and Cassio appeal to Iago to help them and while pretending to do that he draws them both deeper into his trap. Othello then swears to have Cassio dead, and to be revenged upon Desdemona for the non-existent affair. Farewell. Iago also knows that Desdemona is the love of Othello's life and the person he adores the most. Desdemona is a model wife, if perhaps too trusting of Iago. In the end, Othello … The eponymous character, Othello, is a Moor. Desdemona is a foil for the male characters in the play, emphasizing their masculine characteristics. However, she shows a strong independent streak in choosing to defy her powerful father and marrying where her heart is rather than where her father’s economic interest lies. Urged by the Duke Brabantio reluctantly accepts that but refuses to have her in his house. Brabantio makes his complaint against Othello and Othello explains that he and Brabantio had struck up a friendship and that Brabantio had often invited him to his house and questioned him about his many adventures around the world. This list of Shakespeare plays brings together all 38 plays in alphabetical order. Two of the key characters are Cassio, Othello's loyal captain, and Roderigo, a man who is love with Othello's wife, Desdemona. Corrections? Desdemona is a more plausible, well-rounded figure than much criticism has given her credit for. The daughter of a Venetian senator, Desdemona is greatly loved by Othello, an honoured and heroic Moorish general in the service of Venice. Othello is the main character of the play who falls in love with Desdemona. … Desdemona and Emilia are newly in each other's company, but quickly develop a friendly style of conversation that contrasts their different approaches to life. Desdemona, fictional character, the wife of Othello and the object of his unwarranted jealousy, in William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello (written 1603–04). She decides to betray her Venetian custom when she falls in love with the main character (Othello), who is a man of color, and later marry him. This leaves his mind susceptible to the tragic poisoning by the scheming Iago, even though Desdemona has done nothing wrong. The Duke agrees that she should go to Cyprus with her husband. The two most senior are Michael Cassio, who he has just promoted to be his second in command, and Iago, an ancient – the third-ranking officer. When Iago gets Roderigo to ambush Cassio, he hopes: both will be killed: 22. Desdemona is introduced as one of the Central characters in the play Othello. They decided to elope and get married without her father knowing. . On the one hand, he is a Christian (probably) and experienced military leader, commanding respect and admiration from the Duke, the Senate, and many Venetian citizens. Desdemona is a beautiful, young, white, Venetian debutante. 179–180]) and her terse fury after Othello strikes her (“I have not deserved this” [IV.i. He comes to believe that she is having an affair with Cassio when Iago manipulates him. with Othello—an older black man, an outsider to Venetian society (gasp! Desdemona Doing that demonstrates enormous courage. Her love of Othello appears as a mental decision rather than a vital infatuation. The love between Othello and Desdemona is very clear and obvious to all, and in private, too, Othello is tender and loving towards his wife. A black man from North Africa, Othello has traveled the world, been sold into slavery, escaped, and ended up as the military commander of the Venetian military, guard to a powerful Italian city-state. Desdemona obviously did not share this view, as she was a devoted Christian, and so would not have falling in love with something unholy. “But even Othello’s love affair with Desdemona, judging by his own report, seems to have developed smoothly, without painful moral searchings of any kind . He takes his own life once he finds out. As it advances the other characters are drawn in. Othello kills his great love only to learn that she was in fact faithful to him. Updates? By doing that he plants jealousy into Othello’s mind. The theme of love is blinding is best shown in Desdemona and Othello, Emilia and Iago, and Brabantio and Desdemona. Desdemona is an exceptional woman. Although he is a highly accomplished and experienced general and head of the Venetian army he is subjected to racial abuse. She is one of the most pitiable victims in all of Shakespeare’s plays. Shakespeare's Desdemona is a Venetian beauty who enrages and disappoints her father, a Venetian senator, when she elopes with Othello, a Moorish man several years her senior. Commend me to my kind lord. “But even Othello’s love affair with Desdemona, judging by his own report, seems to have developed smoothly, without painful moral searchings of any kind. (She dies) (Act 5, Scene 2, 125-127)” Love is the driver for all great stories. Othello, a black man, has gained the love of Desdemona, the daughter of a wealthy citizen. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. In spite of that, she is basically innocent and unaware of the dangers of life. Not bad, Othello. In the play, one gets to see the love of Desdemona and Othello and also the kind of love between Emilia and Iago. Othello sensed her feelings about him and was emboldened to speak out about his love for her. Othello and Desdemona are deeply in love with each other, even though they are very different. Act 1, scene 3 The duke and the senators discuss the movements of the Turkish fleet and conclude that its target is, indeed, Cyprus…. Desdemona has a very loving and faithful nature and continues to love Othello, while he uses increasingly violent language towards her. On the other hand, bein… Shakespeare’s most fully realised and most destructive villain, Shakespeare’s 10 most influential characters, A Midsummer Night’s Dream Characters List, All’s Well That Ends Well Characters List, The Merry Wives of Windsor Characters List, The Most Powerful Shakespeare Female Characters, The Two Gentlemen of Verona Characters List. Iago warns Othello about Brabantio’s anger, but Othello is confident in his own strength and in his love for Desdemona…. Even though Desdemona goes against her father,’s wishes and marries Othello, in the end she is murdered by her own love, Othello. Othello was loved and respected by some. true: 23. Othello is a General in the Venetian military. Omissions? Like most of Shakespeare’s plays, Othello is a tragedy. She is inevitably a victim of her times – times in which regardless of her courage and independent spirit, she is destroyed by the men around her. Othello's status in Venice is pretty complicated—he's both an insider and an outsider. In killing Desdemona, Othello destroys any sense of power he previously had. Desdemona anxiously waits for Othello. Roderigo is in love with Desdemona but she rejected him Barbantio's reaction to othello and desdemona's marriage Iago engineers an incident in a pub by making Cassio drunk and framing him for a small act of violence. It is difficult to assess Desdemona’s character as Shakespeare presents her as just about a perfect human being. Increasingly violent language towards her towards her 's `` Othello '' is the love of Othello 's life the. 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