The innocent being of Desdemona as a tragic victim suggests her naivety, feminine disposition, child like qualities and unspoiled soul. She cares about the other characters in the play and goes out of her way to try to help them and spare their feelings. The speech supports his argument by illustrating that Othello s. behavior in her presence was not coercive but drew her interest in a natural way. These characters are sexualized, cheeky and flirtatious. Desdemona is at times a submissive character, most notably in her willingness to take credit for her own murder. Desdemona does defend herself and tries to justify her actions, but the audience is given the insight that she acted on impulse, and perhaps she did not think her actions through thoroughly resulting in her rejection. Desdemona is a lady of spirit and intelligence. Her tendency to repel reflects her independent nature, and there are two approaches that justify why she may repel. Whether this is actually the case will be explored later in these notes. She allows men to mistreat her without her even consciously realising it, and it is Iago who cunningly manipulates her. However he is clearly driving himself away from answering the question but Desdemona carries on haunting him not realising her husband is getting annoyed. By clicking “Write my paper”, you agree to our, By clicking Send Me The Sample you agree on the. Iago makes Desdemona seem unfaithful causing Othello to become jealous and outraged, eventually murdering Desdemona. Photo by Carol Pratt. On the other hand, Desdemona is shown to be a weak female, as she is full of doubts and fears, as she does not stand up to Othello when it really matters. Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/is-desdemona-a-figure-of-weakness-or-strength/, This is just a sample. If you’re asking about the character herself, I would say yes, definitely, Desdemona was a progressive woman, for all of the reasons you listed and more. Like I said before, Desdemona is viewed as a strong woman who isn’t scared to stick up for herself. As a feminist she believes Desdemona is too independent for an Elizabethan wife, how from a modern day opinion, a woman’s independence is seen to be a great strength and quality which is highly valued. The use of a willow is important as a willow represents the idea of a woman being deserted by a lover. Farewell. Bloom argues that Othello and Desdemona never had sex—that Desdemona actually dies a virgin. The way men would portray women in the time of when Othello was supposed to be in, they were seen as they weren’t as strong or smart as men. However, women’s oppression in the play is tragic and the deaths of Desdemona and Emilia prove this. However, Desdemona, the female protagonist, is a highly passionate woman who even stands against her father, Brabantio, in order to obtain her true love as many other modern women would do: They are treated as inferior and dependent on men. Desdemona shows blatant signs throughout the whole play that she fails to realise she is being manipulated by the main vice character Iago. Through Iago we learn about his plans to use Desdemona so that his plot to seek revenge against Othello comes in tact. Her intercession with Othello to restore Cassio to his position as lieutenant also demonstrates her strong-minded and forthright character and her belief in justice and fairness. refusing the attempts of other suitors such as Roderigo. She describes her … Even Constance remarks on this. Therefore, Desdemona has been understood as striving for self-justification (cf. They are often working-class characters such as the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, Margaret in Much Ado about Nothing or Audrey in As You Like It.Mainly speaking in prose, as befitting their low social status, these characters often use sexual innuendo when conversing.. Low-class characters like these can get … Unlike Iago’s wife Emilia who has more marital experience and who does know when to walk away. Desdemona is a character in the play Othello written by William Shakespeare in the year 1601 – 1604. This is one aspect of her which has been repeated throughout the play, and which could to an extent mirror the insufficiency of her intelligence. “Desdemona, I thought you were different; I thought you … Women were supposed to be chaste, calm, patient and obedient, especially towards men. Another aspect, which makes Desdemona, appears, as a strong character is her ability to not be a traditional Elizabethan wife. Men wouldn’t be uncomfortable by lowering women to make themselves seem better such as Iago in the … Othello demonstrates his abuse when he silences in act three scene three. For all the claims of military straightforwardness of some other characters, Desdemona is the most direct and honest speaker in the play. Instead she assumes that everyone will see her integrity and purity. In many of Shakespeare’s plays, women lack social agency, and therefore their lives are run by men. Read More. This causes Desdemona’s relationship to have communication problems. While some may say that Desdemona is not a strong woman because she is compliant and passive with Othello, the fact remains that she is outspoken and assertive, making her a strong women. Desdemona is remade to be a strong and solid woman who is willing to stand up to people. You could decide to look at Desdemona’s situation from a Structuralist perspective.Society is following patriarchal norms and values, however Desdemona could be seen as a renaissance character, thus it is society, which conforms her to resists against the Elizabethan society by speaking her mind and becoming an independent wife. Shakespeare scholar Harold Bloom thinks that Desdemona's virginity is the big driving question of the play. Here, Desdemona has been criticized for possibly repressing her subconscious guilt and her need to assure Iago as well as herself that she is not such a demeaned house wife (cf. At this time, a woman was expected to show total obedience to the male authority in her life, but Desdemona is now transitioning from loyalty to her father to loyalty to her new husband. She does have a weakness and that weakness is that she likes to see people getting killed. Iago starts filtering Othello’s mind, telling him to “think” where one thought can lead into another, which is the intention of Iago’s plot for revenge. This leaves his mind susceptible to the tragic poisoning by the scheming Iago, even though Desdemona has done nothing wrong. Women must either submit to a higher authority or suffer a fate similar to Desdemona's. By weighing up Desdemona’s weaknesses and strengths, it appears she is a figure of weakness.However the majority of her weaknesses appears because of surrounding characters, which funnily enough happen to be the men in her life. Dash argues that more is expected from Desdemona than from Othello and that in the play she is made weak and overly passive to her husband (103). My interpretation of this is Desdemona calls Cassio “lieutenant” because she feels that Othello loves her, thus he will do anything for her. The Bawdy Woman . You can get your custom paper from Desdemona does seem to be an all rounded person however it is her weaknesses, which brings about her downfall. She calls him “lieutenant” when she knows he isn’t. However Desdemona marrying against her father’s will is contradicting the innocent comments he made about his daughter, also Desdemona’s actions are seen to be disobedient and it is something that is not common in a patriarchal society. In the book Wooing, Wedding, and Power: Women in Shakespeare’s plays Irene Dash believes that Desdemona "is a woman slowly tamed in the crucible of marriage." Desdemona (Janie Brookshire) and Emilia (Karen Peakes) in Othello at Folger Theatre, 2011. Essay, Ask Writer For The man she loved had abandoned her. During the sixteenth century, Shakespeare Wrote the play Othello, a love story that ended in tragedy and death because of the lies that the character Iago told. Therefore she could perhaps be expecting an immediate, positive response. ” she says what she thinks and treats his words as if it is a joke. (2017, Oct 30). Desdemona does show courage to repel against her father when he objects to her love for Othello, and there is a repetition of this repelling against Othello later in the play. Her speeches are not as lengthy as those of the men, but with Desdemona, every word counts. Desdemona, as a young independent, strong determined young woman, ended up as a tragic hero because she was vulnerable to oppresion of society. Here the gentle, timid girl is transformed into the still gentle but firm woman. However Shakespeare may have created Desdemona as a refection of his renaissance thinking to rebel against her fathers oppression. As Othello’s wife, conventionally Desdemona is apart of Othello’s private life, however she has shown the audience a tendency to poke her nose into the public life of Othello. This is also a stark reminder that Desdemona is the real victim in this tragic play. Roderigo and Othello both were in love with Desdemona. 133–134). Iago and Desdemona enter, fighting with swords, and Constance nearly kills Iago, thinking that she is saving Desdemona. On the other hand, Desdemona is shown to be a weak female, as she is full of doubts and fears, as she does not stand up to Othello when it really matters. Too often played as a weak character, Desdemona is strong and bold, especially when it comes to Othello. They are not embarrassed to show their genuine self. Although Desdemona is a strong character, the fact that she is a woman creates room for Othello to doubt her. Desdemona’s strengths are not right for the patriarchal society; her strengths are better off in a modern day society, which is why some would argue Desdemona is a figure of renaissance thinking. . And Desdemona still manages to stay by Othello side knowing Othello is being rude and not trusting Desdemona loyalty. Desdemona does show conformity to Othello, she says in act three scene three “I am obedient” but she also shows obedience to Cassio, whom she tells that she will use her “abilities in thy behalf” to get Cassio reinstated. This objectification of women is a strong feature of any patriarchal society, as it would have been during Shakespeare’s time. It's a lavish show full of excitement, thanks to the shimmering performance of Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and the luminous Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva, who sang Desdemona. The possession of a woman is the key element of a man’s power in Othello. 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. https://graduateway.com/is-desdemona-a-figure-of-weakness-or-strength/, Get your custom Men have used this kind of thinking to paint women as inferior beings who do not deserve anything. Therefore, I make the argument that Desdemona is a somewhat powerful woman and this reflects Shakespeare's attitudes towards women. Iago plants ideas into Othello’s mind, however it is Desdemona’s innocence which feeds the seeds that leads to the growth of Othello’s suspicion and jealousy.The first matter she speaks about to Othello is “lieutenant, Cassio,” whom she promised as a kind gesture to try and persuade Othello to reinstate him. As Desdemona does not follow the hidden requirements of an Elizabethan wife, it can be said she is trying to escape from the patriarchal society. Desdemona explains that this song was sung by Desdemona’s mother’s servant and indeed she “died singing it”. Desdemona is one of Shakespeare's most self-sufficient and strong-minded heroines. your own paper. She is one of the most pitiable victims in all of Shakespeare’s plays. Women were not supposed to hold any personal opinions but to automatically follow the orders from their parents even for their marriage. At the heart of Shakespeare's "Othello" is the doomed romance between Othello and Desdemona. And Othello believes because Iago manipulates him and finds a way to earn his trust. Desdemona is remade to be a strong and solid woman who is willing to stand up to people. Desdemona (/ ˌ d ɛ z d ə ˈ m oʊ n ə /) is a character in William Shakespeare's play Othello (c. 1601–1604). This is noticed when Othello says “O curse of marriage” which is a dramatic statement to say, and it is Desdemona’s interference and her tragic timing which inflicts this feeling upon Othello. Desdemona's eventual death in Act V is a classic example of the way women are treated in patriarchal societies. Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca are the major female roles in Othello and they show all the aspects of how are the lives of a woman at that time. Desdemona is totally drooling over Othello's "valiant parts:" Othello's a hottie with a body. They had to stay at home and be housewives and mothers, while men earned the money and made all the decisions. She goes from a liberated maiden to an innocent victim, “By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in’s hand. However, the characters Desdemona in William Shakespeare’s Othello and Dame Alison from The Wife of Bath’s Prologue in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales seemingly go against common conventions of women, as they are bold characters who have strong opinions and exert dominance. / Commend me to my kind lord. 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. Desdemona A Strong Female Character Analysis. The quote shows that Desdemona is so virtuous she cannot even understand why a woman would betray her husband. Is Desdemona a figure of weakness or strength? Desdemona does also show the renaissance side of her personality, by trying to break free from the patriarchal society, and critics would argue why should she not speak her mind, however some other critics such as feminist Jardine would disagree. This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged emilia , evil iago , iago , othello , role of women in othello , Shakespeare , Shakespearean women by Katie Gantley . “you” is Cassio and she decides through her own will that she wants to help Cassio. Shakespeare has portrayed Desdemona to have both weaknesses and strengths that make her personality appear normal. Ü#5E s5ÈV³yfMàxªÝÝn6Oí~Ûå~§¢”áÚ Î•ö­½æ셺n@oOéÍ3Þ}Nõ§ÔŸ'áéÒ¬Ud(•r–ßPE…™¢t¡m]™Vª›kÀ­N½£È Ñ¹[Aç.¢üõ`¤šG|„‹îºÓ’ý æìug 8“5³ÑFýØ«$^SßU\DÜADˆV. But at times, Desdemona also seems a bit naïve, especially when it comes to marital relationships—at one point, she asks an incredulous Emilia if it's possible that a woman would ever cheat on her husband. Iago shows Desdemona the page from the Gustav manuscript, saying that he found it in Desdemona's underwear drawer. All men are born and raised by a woman. In Othello, Desdemona proves to be very strong and liberated. The story of Desdemona can be linked to the Biblical book of creation which argues that a woman was created from a man's rib an indication that she is inferior to men. Desdemona is a foil for the male characters in the play, emphasizing their masculine characteristics. Desdemona Analysis . In response to Emilia’s question, “O, who hath done this deed?” Desdemona’s final words are, “Nobody, I myself. She took action and resulted in … So was Juliet, for many of the same reasons, and Beatrice is super progressive, as well as a number of other Shakespearean ladies. Desdemona is believed to be a weak female character by many critics. Desdemona shows it to Constance, who confirms that it is hers. Despite Othello’s character is supposed to develop to regret marrying Desdemona, the “curse of marriage” could be a statement that reflects Shakespeare’s thoughts. For example, she was determined to marry Othello, a Moor when racism and prejudice against black people was normal. “He” is Cassio, and through this question, Othello can see she is eager to invite him for dinner to settle the dispute, which makes him more suspicious. Shakespeare’s construction of Desdemona’s fall, Othello’s perception of Desdemona as a seductress who is no longer pure and chaste and thus kills her, coincides with the contemporary view that female independence “leads to dislike and rejection”[4] as independent females who are not pure or submissive are not considered “acceptable version[s] of the feminine” woman. Through Desdemona’s naivety, she fails to see that Iago’s vengeful tactics are causing her marital harmony to be broken down. The other approach is more subtle; the rebellion could just be apart of her personality considering there are repetitions of the rebellion. Looking at Desdemona’s situation from a Marxist perspective, it could be radically said she is being oppressed by her father, considering Marxists believe the family serves as an institution to oppress and undermine women. Whenever you see this start to develop you start to realizing that Desdemona starts to become more of a subordinate wife. Another aspect, which makes Desdemona, appears, as a strong character is her ability to not be a traditional Elizabethan wife. Feminists argue that women are denied rights of freedom, equality, and decision making. Desdemona’s actions within Othello does imply that perhaps as a figure renaissance character, she is trying to break free from the Elizabethan, patriarchal society which can be seen as a strength from a modern point of view.The rebellion does imply that Desdemona is trying to break free from the patriarchal society. Othello begins to trust what Iago tells him more than he … However her kind gesture is playing reversibly against her. Another characteristic we can spot in Desdemona is her ability to speak her mind as she shows in act two scene one. Desdemona’s rebellion is a strength in herself however from an outsider’s view, it is not socially acceptable for a woman of her status in Elizabethan society to go against her father or her husband, she would have to accept their decision because patriotism is the status quo in Elizabethan society. Feminist critic French does not accept Desdemona’s behaviour, as French believes Desdemona should accept cultural dictum and be obedient to men. In act one, Desdemona’s father, Brabantio could not accept the truth that his “jewel” eloped with the Moor. The words in the song echo Desdemona’s situation. She reads its clue that she … Desdemona fails to see Iago is using her, and it is through him her troubles thicken.She is playing into Iago’s plot to make Othello’s “jealousy so strong/That judgement cannot cure. Like I said before, Desdemona is viewed as a strong woman who isn’t scared to stick up for herself. ” This is a classic example of Desdemona’s manipulation and confusion that broke the peace between her and her husband.Feminist critic Jardine believes Desdemona is too independent, however Desdemona is oblivious to the manipulation therefore her blindness would not make her successful at being independent. Desdemona is a character in Shakespeare’s Othello. Lastly, Bianca serves a specific role in … Her role is determined by her relationship to the male characters, and her behaviour is directed by the males as well. Constance muses about what a strong woman Desdemona is. This is an example of a weakness; she does not think her action through.Another weakness Desdemona faces is the mistreatment of men. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email. Constance muses about what a strong woman Desdemona is. the contrary, presents an image of a woman going against the cultural expectations that society has placed on her, and instead choosing to follow through on her own convictions which primarily concern loving her husband Othello, proving to be a great and resilient woman. In contrast to that, Shakespeare presents Desdemona as a strong woman who makes her own decisions and is committed to them. Whenever you see this start to develop you start to realizing that Desdemona starts to become more of a subordinate wife. They have already identified their needs and their goals. She innocently claims Cassio “truly loves” Othello, and that he is “honest” and carries on her persistent nagging not knowing when to stop. Although Desdemona is a strong character, the fact that she is a woman creates room for Othello to doubt her. Shakespeare has deliberately used this comment to reflect Iago’s capability, so it can be said that Desdemona is too weak to sub-consciously resist against Iago’s power. She cannot be the same Desdemona again and the role that society plays in her story is even tragic leaving women to the mercy of their men. Some modern feminist critics see Desdemona as a hideous embodiment of the downtrodden woman. Desdemona speaks her mind and makes her own decisions like in act three scene three when she is speaking to Cassio.She decides that she will “have my lord and you again. My mother is a strong woman, and so is my grandmother, my great-grandmother, and every woman, because they have faced life in a way that no other can, and just like Antigone, Desdemona and Sita, they are fearless. Othello begins to trust what Iago tells him more than he trusts Desdemona, which shows how little. Deats 245, Rice, Desdemona 211-212) but instead “a deserving woman indeed” (2.1.144-145). our expert writers, Copying content is not allowed on this website, Ask a professional writer to help you with your text, Give us your email and we'll send you the essay you need, Please indicate where to send you the sample, Hi, my name is Jenn In Othello, Desdemona is a very feminine character. Desdemona does not accept female degrading comments. Desdemona is far from being a wilting flower, said soprano Sonya Yoncheva: "Desdemona is a strong woman who knows exactly what she's doing. He tells her “to leave me but a little to myself. However, her position as a woman made her vulnerable. Is Desdemona a figure of weakness or strength?. Shakespeare’s choice of words re-establishes Othello’s thoughts on Cassio, and these negative words Desdemona says shows her awareness of her husband’s feelings. Desdemona fails to see that she is mixing both Othello’s public and private life, therefore this interference is causing problems for her marriage. Desdemona’s marital bliss is slipping rapidly, and her blind nature is letting it happen. It could be a hidden message to either inspire women of that time or warn men that women will start to interfere with the men’s business and will be sooner or later apart of public affairs.Jardine feels that there is no place for a private woman in a public male society. The speech supports his argument by showing that Desdemona was a strong, independent woman who was perfectly capable of making her own decisions. She was a loyal and nice wife all the time, but her husband Othello still didn't trust her that she didn't give the handkerchief to Iago. ” The audience can clearly see an irritation on Othello’s part and can also see in reaction to Othello, Desdemona is “obedient”, as an Elizabethan wife should be.This reflects what French thinks; she feels Desdemona should be obedient to men. A devoted, loving wife, she is murdered by her husband in a fit of jealous rage. Iago and Desdemona enter, fighting with swords, and Constance nearly kills Iago, thinking that she is saving Desdemona. Desdemona’s love for Othello results her repelling against her father’s wishes in act one which reflects great courage and strength for an Elizabethan daughter. 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. The fact Desdemona has been disrespected her father, Iago and her husband does reflect the common attitudes in the Elizabethan period.From a contemporary point of view, her mistreatment could seen as a weakness in today’s society, Desdemona would get a lot of today’s people trampling over her. Suffice it to say, there is a large body of evidence to support this critical stance. Show More. 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. Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. ” Shakespeare compares Desdemona to a jewel because jewels are considered precious, and precious is what Desdemona was to Brabantio, so to reject her is a harsh move. The audience witness an ugly side to Iago when he degrades women and the audience pick up a negative, cynical attitude towards women.He refers women to be “players” and in response Desdemona speaks; “O fie upon thee, slanderer! She goes from a liberated maiden to an innocent victim, “By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in’s hand. Thus, one may infer that Shakespeare’s intention behind her construction is to reveal to women what version of feminine behaviour is acceptable in order for one to find a husband, which was considered the aim of every woman. Examination Questions on Othello Question: How do you reconcile Desdemona's character as described by Brabantio and as shown in the handkerchief scene, with her elopement and her bold stand before the Duke's council? This has stemmed from the apparent strength that she first shows in act 1 scene iii to her death in act V scene ii. The speech refutes his argument by detailing his plot to entice her interest with his wild … ... Desdemona is the woman whom Iago uses to bring down both Othello and Cassio. Desdemona says this line when she realizes she is torn between her father and her new husband. Desdemona is what men want to see in a wife and to be true to their husbands and will do as they say. The Female Protagonist. O, farewell” (V.ii. The speech refutes his argument by underscoring that Desdemona was young and innocent when she first met Othello, and therefore easily impressed by his tales. Brabantio asks Desdemona “where most you owe obedience? Do Othello and Desdemona Ever Consummate Their Marriage? Even Constance remarks on this. 1. But on the other side of the coin it can be said that she has been put in the situations, and it is for the audience to assess and witness her reactions. It is crucial to keep in mind that Shakespeare is also a proto-feminist. It is difficult to assess Desdemona’s character as Shakespeare presents her as just about a perfect human being. Shakespeare, through contrast between men and women, illustrates that women can be strong and possess power while men, such as Othello, can disintegrate into madness and violence. In case you can’t find a sample example, our professional writers are ready to help you with writing She does have a weakness and that weakness is that she likes to see people getting killed. Othello does not believe her, and smothers her to death. It is as if the women, as is the entirety of the story, are fulfilling the role that Iago seemingly assigns to all women when he tells Desdemona and Emilia how he perceives women. Woman is not allowed to raise her … Here the gentle, timid girl is transformed into the still gentle but firm woman. 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. 1429 Words 6 Pages. Examination Questions on Othello Question: How do you reconcile Desdemona's character as described by Brabantio and as shown in the handkerchief scene, with her elopement and her bold stand before the Duke's council? Desdemona asks herself the question, " Desdemona asks “when shall he come? Despite this awareness of hers, she still decides to bother Othello about Cassio. ” and once having heard her explanation; he disowns her for having no obedience for her father within one speech, which justifies the Marxist perspective. Desdemona, as a young independent, strong determined young woman, ended up as a tragic hero because she was vulnerable to oppresion of society. When her husband is deployed to Cyprus in the service of the Republic of Venice, Desdemona accompanies him. Get Your Custom Essay on. She is described as a daughter and a wife. Strong women know who they really are. Manipulation is a major flaw within Desdemona, and it is this flaw that has played into the trouble that has been stirred by Iago. All you need to do is fill out a short form and submit an order. As Desdemona does not follow the hidden requirements of an Elizabethan wife, it can be said she is trying to escape from the patriarchal society. Help, Use multiple resourses when assembling your essay, Get help form professional writers when not sure you can do it yourself, Use Plagiarism Checker to double check your essay, Do not copy and paste free to download essays. Victim, “ trapped in total obedience and subservience to her strengths do shine through her actions and words glaring. Had desdemona is a strong woman Desdemona with such a lovely woman would love him her behaviour is by... Is described as a strong, independent personality in ’ s hand Venetian senator and.! 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