Desdemona and Marriage - Aquinas Preliminary Advanced
relationship, unlike tragedies which involve political murders and on Othello is that of the responsibility for Desdemona's death, .. 0 God that I were a man!. Emilia Desdemona Relationship In the play “Othello”, by William Shakespeare, there are two major Emilia's husband is Iago who is the ancient of Othello. Next . Emilia's super-bitter take on her married life with Iago contrasts with Desdemona's (temporarily) idealistic marriage to Othello. Emilia's one dishonest act towards.
Nor are the two characters exact opposites. Compared with Iago, she has stimulated far less indepth critical analysis—perhaps because evil is more flamboyant and more easily discernable than good.
Relationships in Othello - dayline.info
That Shakespeare was concentrating on marriage rather than just discussing love seems apparent from the references to the long courtship of Othello and Desdemona, indicating an extensive period of love before marriage. Mutuality of respect and affection could survive then. The demoralizing effect of its conventions and institutions may be observed in Othello's new attitude toward Desdemona as property: O curse of marriage!
That we can call these delicate creatures ours, And not their appetites!
Finally, Shakespeare expands his canvas by his portrayal of Emilia who is explicable as a consistent character only if one constantly reminds oneself of the meaning of adjustment to the role of wife for a woman.
Rymer mockingly called this play the "tragedy of the handkerchief. Treasured by Desdemona as the first gift from Othello, the handkerchief is the key to his other life. Dropped by Desdemona in a moment of confusion, the handkerchief is stolen by Emilia and given to her husband. It becomes the symbol of fidelity and infidelity, of a woman's obedience and disobedience, of the cultural gap between Othello and Desdemona.
Othello- Emilia, Desdemona Relationship - words | Study Guides and Book Summaries
Asking Desdemona for the handkerchief after she has lost it, Othello entwines it in a tale of magic and mystery. An enchanted token, given him by his mother on her deathbed that he in turn might give it to his wife, the handkerchief has special powers governing marital felicity. Listening, Desdemona is terrorized by the intensity of Othello's emotion. While we as audience know that Othello has already been victimized into believing his wife unfaithful, she, knowing nothing of this, is repelled by his words.
But her question is ambiguous. To Othello, it merely challenges the authenticity of the story. The magic in the web of the handkerchief—the charmer, the furies—suddenly reveals to Desdemona a world she does not know. She is meeting a stranger: In this scene, Desdemona counterpoints Othello's references to the handkerchief with her second request for the reinstatement of Cassio.
Rosenberg cites the scene as an example of Desdemona's dishonesty, noting that "She 'meddles' in her husband's business, presses him to reinstate his dismissed officer—presses him at the worst moment, when he most needs understanding. Finally, she lies to him, and destroys their hope of love. Is this quite a heroine? Desdemona continues to strive for success in an unusual marriage, relying on her two major supports: At this moment in the play, however, she faces tremendous disappointment.
Unlike the comments on that scene, where critics do not worry about the truth or falsehood of Hamlet's, "I lov'd you not"they worry a great deal about Desdemona's honesty in the handkerchief scene. Nevertheless, in both instances, Shakespeare is presenting the emotional response of one character to qualities previously unknown in a loved one: Hamlet to Ophelia, Desdemona to Othello.
Desdemona's concept of her role is shaken. Othello's intense response to the seeming loss of the handkerchief forces her to rethink her expectations. What are the dimensions of her husband? Is he a mere man, not a god after all? Having rationalized excuses for Othello's behavior—attributing his unreasonableness to worries about affairs of state—she concedes: Nay, we must think men are not gods, Nor of them look for such observancy As fits the bridal.
Writing of the "shocks" a woman faces in marriage, Bernard includes the wife's discovery of the fallacy of the sex stereotype that women have been "socialized into accepting.
There are few trauma greater than … the wife's discovery of her husband's dependencies; than the discovery of her own gut-superiority in a thousand hidden crannies of the relationship…. These trauma are the more harrowing because they are interpreted as individual, unique, secret, not-to-be-shared with others, not even, if possible, to be admitted to oneself. No sooner has she come to the awful realization that her husband is but a man than she backtracks.
The thought must be obliterated, pushed aside. For a woman brought up to think of man as superior, the shift requires too much psychological energy.
Before she completes her speech, Desdemona begins to blame herself—retrogressing—becoming forgiving and apologetic.
I was … Arraigning his unkindness with my soul; But now I find I had suborn'd the witness, And he's indicted falsely. Bernard's explanation sounds more valid. This retraction by Desdemona marks her first major decline. Draper, a critic writing in the nineteen-thirties, suggests that in creating the contrast between the Desdemona of Act I and the Desdemona of the other acts, who "becomes increasingly naive and innocent," Shakespeare was combining English and Venetian mores of the period—the free versus the restricted life for women.
Demonstrating the decline and confusion in a woman's value system, Shakespeare contrapuntally presents Emilia in the scene where she hands her husband the stolen handkerchief. Rationalizing that she hopes to "please his fantasy" III.
No sooner has she handed Iago the handkerchief than she seeks to retreat from the deed, desiring to absolve herself of responsibility by weakly demanding the handkerchief's return. Since she knows that it will not be returned, her action merely characterizes a woman who, although she has not lost her ability to discern right from wrong, finds it simpler to be guided by her husband's moral code than her own.
She prefers not to confront him. Observing the intensity of his reaction to the handkerchief, she momentarily reconsiders what she has done. Unfortunately, Emilia has learned her role too well. In actions she conforms to her husband, hoping to evade responsibility and rid herself of guilt.
In many ways, she presents the syndrome of the battered wife. After Othello leaves, having shocked Desdemona with the story of the magic in the cloth, Emilia can rant about men: They are all but stomachs, and we all but food; They eat us hungerly, and when they are full They belch us. The images in the quote above are ugly and sensual, indicating man's attitude toward woman as object rather than person.
They also fairly accurately suggest what has happened to Othello. Trying to conform to the societal patterns for a husband's behavior, he has allowed all former interchange with Desdemona to be wiped out by this new relationship: We witness his further sense of ownership of his wife in the famous brothel scene IV.
Desdemona, already broken by a hostility she cannot fathom in a marriage to which she cannot adapt, clings to the one strength she still retains—her ability to reason.
And then reminding us of the third scene when she challenged her father, she mourns the loss of Brabantio's love: Not hearing her, Othello speaks only of his own anguish.
Still unknowing and inexperienced in the new art of wifely compliance, Desdemona attempts neither to soothe nor to placate him.
Rather, she returns to her earlier theme, "I hope my noble lord esteems me honest? Not a question, but a plea, the words nevertheless arouse his anger, reminding him of the original purpose of the interview.
From "chuck" and "Desdemon," the affectionate names he called her at the scene's opening, he spits out the epithet, "O thou weed" And still Desdemona persists, as Emilia would not. This new young bride has not yet learned the lesson that wives must know—to absorb insult without responding. But reason has fled. Othello names her "whore" and "public commoner" Automatically she rebels, "By heaven, you do me wrong" After he leaves, Desdemona recognizes that "his unkindness may defeat" her lifebut concludes that it will "never taint" her love.
Because of these lines, Desdemona's critics hail the noble, selfless, Desdemona—constant, forgiving, loving. By then, however, she is a woman defeated by marriage. Even were she not murdered at the drama's close, her tragedy has occurred. Bradley found her "helplessly passive … because her nature is infinitely sweet and her love absolute. Her love is absolute but her nature seems more varied than Bradley would grant. He continues to say that, although we may pity Othello more, we are aware that he is "a man contending with another man; but Desdemona's suffering is like that of the most loving of dumb creatures tortured without cause by the being she adores.
On the other hand, a man who is a husband may think he knows women well because he may know one woman very well, the woman to whom he is married. And in fact, this is the source from which any knowledge worth having on the subject has, I believe, generally come. But most men have not had the opportunity of studying in this way more than a single case: Again the tendency is to consider a force acting for good rather than evil as being passive.
Here the early religious tradition of the psychomachia for the soul of mankind may have contributed to Shakespeare's development of Desdemona as a more vital character than usually believed. However critics, seeking to understand her, continue to think primarily in terms of "Other.
Or is she, like Hamlet, aware but unwilling to compromise her ideals? Traversi, another twentieth-century critic. He finds that, "like Isabella and even Ophelia before her, Desdemona has the power to exercise upon men an influence of whose nature and strength she remains until the last moment very largely unaware; and this power, given a logical basis and a perverse interpretation in Iago's 'philosophy' of 'nature,' becomes a principle of dissolution and destruction.
Surely she has confidence in her ability to sway the senators and to match wits with Iago at Cyprus. Nor does she believe herself lacking in power when she promises Cassio: My lord shall never rest, I'll intermingle every thing he does With Cassio's suit. Somehow, Desdemona here sounds evil despite her inherent goodness. Then there are the almost classic interpretations of the woman's role as forgiver or supporter of men.
We are told that Desdemona learns the depths of her love through suffering. Bernard McElroy, in his recent study of tragedy, offers a version of this approach when he observes that Desdemona comes eventually "to know her love only by discovering the powers of loyalty and forgiveness with which it endows her. Had she no perception of the meaning of forgiveness? I find it difficult to accept the theory that woman is enhanced by her ability to be the constant "forgiver" in an inequitable arrangement.
She may also be destroyed by suppressing the self and continually accepting others' affronts. Too often, a woman painfully adjusts to a vision of marriage that she had never anticipated. Whereas many critics have idealized Desdemona, others have found her responsible for the tragedy—usually because she did not fulfill her role properly.
Both types of criticism are based on expectations about women's behavior and both have persisted into our own time. Bryant in a recent work comments, "Othello represents the figure of God….
Desdemona is the ideal—truth, goodness, beauty—made flesh, an incarnation of her creator's ideal excellence. Desdemona can be perceived as being old fashioned and idealistic who is votary at the shrine of love.
They are all but stomachs, and we all but food; They eat us hungrily, and when they are full, They belch us. To Desdemona, unchaste is unthinkable.
But Emilia knows there are faithless wives and she feels that she can explain why some wives fail in chastity. Emilia expresses her belief in equality. Her worldliness becomes evident as she says she may be willing to transgress the bounds of virtue, if the whole world is offered as a price.
When Othello abuses her faithlessness, she is unable to argue or expostulate with him. She uses her language to defy the fear of death: The view of both women to their husbands takes different paths at the end of the play.
Relationships in Othello
She briefly appears in 5. She calls for help and Iago, Montano and Gratiano appear. Emilia having heard from Othello that Iago told him of Desdemona "cheating" on him with Cassio, accuses him of gross dishonesty leading to an unjust murder.
When she hears about the handkerchief, she reveals her role and Iago threatens and then kills her at the first opportunity. Analysis[ edit ] Emilia is a comparatively minor character for much of the play; however, she serves to provide a strong contrast to the romantic and obedient Desdemona, demonstrating that she is both intelligent and distinctly cynical, especially on matters relating to men and marriage — her speech to Desdemona listing the faults and flaws of the male sex in 4.
She also states in the same scene that she would be willing to commit adultery for a sufficiently high price — this shows her cynical and worldly nature in sharp contrast to Desdemona, who seems almost unable to believe that any woman could contemplate such an act.
Throughout the play, Iago uses Emilia's close friendship with Desdemona to gain access to her and, in particular, asks her to steal Desdemona's handkerchief, which he subsequently drops in Cassio's house and later uses this as evidence to convince Othello that Cassio has been with Desdemona.
Emilia does not agree to steal the handkerchief for Iago. Iago snatches it from her and all she can do is ask about what he'll do with it III. Iago is the one who drops the handkerchief in Cassio's chamber. Later Emilia even lies to Desdemona, saying she doesn't know where it is; it is clear she feels a "divided duty" in this matter between her friend and her husband.