Character Analysis of Desdemona in Othello
Othello is one of the most important plays in English Literature. As we know that it is a domestic tragedy. In this play, Desdemona is an example of perfect womanhood. Desdemona is the daughter of Brabantio, a man of some reputation in Venice. As such, she is part of the upper class of Venetian society. Apparently, she has many suitors vying for her hand in marriage, but she freely chooses to marry Othello, a decision which greatly upsets Brabantio, Iago, and Roderigo.
She is beautiful, tender and gentlewomen. She is a naive victim of this tragedy. She falls in love with a man who is poor and ugly. She displays her courage and tells her father that she must show her ‘duty’ to her husband. She does not want to be ‘moth of peace’ while her husband is fighting for the country. She is loved by everyone. Even Iago the villain often speaks about her honesty and goodness. She is the most wonderful and exquisite lady. She is so simple that she can trust anybody blindly. She is so naive that she can’t even think of cheating her husband. She is not like Emilia. Emilia also believes that she is ‘Honest, chaste and true’.
She is true to her husband. She tries to defend him. She is an unselfish victim. Even after death, it seems that she does want her husband to be responsible for her death. She claims ‘nobody but I myself committed this tragic deed’. She is not brave like Emilia. Emilia tries to teach her evils of society. She knows the women who can cheat and betray their husbands. She is not afraid of a man likes Desdemona. Desdemona is not confident, calm and rational like Emilia. She does not have uncontrollable tongue like Emilia. Emilia is also loyal to her husband. Desdemona is naive like Ophelia in Hamlet. Both seem too lost in the world; both are obedient, childish and loving woman. Both are involved in a tensioned human world, always torn between fateful decisions. Both seem to belong to another world.
Both are incapable to fit this world, because of their naivety they are lost in this world. They seem to be torn between father ‘decision and her lover not respecting her feelings and her brother treating her like a child.
The same tragedy is marked by Gertrude Hamlet’s mother. For Lady Macbeth only salvation is death. No doubt Desdemona is powerful like other women characters. She was both blessing and a curse in the life of Othello. Like Cleopatra, she is able to influence Othello life. She is not given the main character yet her role is important. Despite Iago’s innuendoes, she is an ideal wife to her husband.
We take any example whether it is Beatrice in Much ado about nothing, Celia in As you like it, Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, Cordelia in King lear, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Ophelia in Hamlet, Rosalind in As you like all enjoy power for some time but in the end, there is marriage and declaration of their subservience to men and reversion to the conventional female role.
Conclusion: Shakespeare’s heroine plays a vital role in his plays. Shakespearean is trying to capture the essence of feminism. He gives them power. They seem to be stronger than Elizabethan women but this power and freedom ends in marriage and declaration of their subservience to men and their reversion to the conventional female role. They have the power to influence other characters but also often underestimated. Even though they are given power still they are supposed, to be honest, and chaste. They enjoy power for some time, at the end they are made to return to their conventional role.
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