Monday, July 11, 2011

Relationship of Othello and Desdemona

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The Relationship of Othello and Desdemona

The relationship between Othello and Desdemona is one typical to the times. It is a relationship of power. Othello has complete and total control over Desdemona, which is why Othello becomes so enraged when he learns of Desdemona’s infidelity. Othello is used to being in power and when an action was taken on behalf of Desdemona without his consultation and in his worst interest he lashed out.

As a General, Othello had command over many men, horses and townsfolk. He was the one who barked the orders and created the plans. Nothing was done without his approval and if it were, then the most extreme consequences were carried out.

Desdemona eloped with Othello because in her eyes he was the most perfect man. He was wise and noble. He was not only the physical but mental essence of a man. Othello saw Desdemona as the woman with esteemed feminine grace. They fell in love with each other based on the differences that

Custom Essays on Relationship of Othello and Desdemona


they perceive in one another. To Othello a woman is someone who succumbs to his every beck and call and does not resist power or his authority. Desdemona with her naïve nature is only willing to comply. Iago who cannot stand to see these two people so well in tune with each other devises a plan to ruin that relationship.

Being a General when Othello was told of Desdemona’s infidelity by Iago it was treason. He treated Desdemona as one of his troops. She was his wife, he was in charge of her, how dare she betray and commit treason against him and all that he stand for. More so how dare she show such disregard for his stature and position in society?

This is why Othello could not and for that matter would not show Desdemona any sympathy or forgiveness. He had to maintain his General status and demeanor. If he allowed just one person to betray him, then mutiny would occur.

The relationship between Othello and Desdemona is quite reflective of the emphasis put on women to be their man’s property from birth until death. “O heaven! How got she out? O treason of the blood” (Brabantio, I.i.185) A daughter was the fathers property until marriage. ”Sweet soul, take heed, Take heed of perjury; thou art on thy


deathbed.” (Othello V.ii.60) From her birth and upbringing and later to her marriage and death, her father and husband controlled Desdemona. This woman was controlled by men her entire life, and suffered the consequence of not being able to be believed.

Each of the two men controlling her life accused her of treason. She disobeyed them and gave up her respect. To Othello the General and her father the Senator, treason was the worst possible crime committable. Her father gave up all communication and rights to his daughter, and Othello killed her.

The relationships in Desdemona’s life were all about control and power. Both her father and Othello dominated her every movement and those that they didn’t control were acts of treason.

“My mother had a maid called Barbary,

She was in love; and he she loved proved mad

And did forsake her. She had a song of “Willow.”

An old thing ‘twas; but it expressed her fortune,

And she died singing it. That song tonight

Will not go from my mind. I have much to do

But to go hang my head all at one side

And sing it like poor Barbary.”

Adams 4

(Desdemona, IV.iii.-4)

Desdemona tells a similar story of a maid whose love deserted her and the sad song she used to sing. At this time her naïvet� nature shows when she asks if there are women who betray their husbands. Desdemona remains innocent with her only desire to comply with the men in her life.

Othello and his power are what does not save Desdemona. As he kills her he weeps, and his pain and love become more apparent as he learns the truth. His last words before his death show that true love and passion remained under the General exterior. “ I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this � Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.” (Othello, V.ii.41)

I honestly feel that Othello loved Desdemona with all his heart but bound by the laws and emotions of a General and the society which he was involved in, forced him to kill her as consequence for her actions. Their relationship was one of love and passion second to power and control.

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