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"Desdemona is an innocent victim, and the embodiment of goodness inthe play."

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Introduction

"Desdemona is an innocent victim, and the embodiment of goodness in the play." "Desdemona is a sensual, mature and rebellious woman who knows her own mind." To what extent do you agree with each of these views of Desdemona? How do you see her? In Act One, Scene Three when we first hear of Desdemona through her father Brabantio, the image of a small, shy and innocent young girl comes to mind. When Brabantio tells the Duke of his daughter he calls her 'A maiden never bold; / of spirit so still and quiet' and the only reason she married Othello is because 'she feared to look on' him. Brabantio seems sure that this is the daughter he knows so well and he believes that she must have been 'wrought upon' as he does not think it is possible that she would disobey him and marry behind his back. We see Desdemona as an innocent victim through Brabantio's eyes, however the Desdemona that presents herself later on in Scene Three is not what we expect after hearing Brabantio. ...read more.

Middle

Desdemona refuses to blame Othello for her unhappiness in Act Four, instead she declares that it is her 'wretched fortune'. In Act Two, Scene One, Desdemona's strong will is further enforced, as she is able to confront Iago's comments, which his wife Emilia would rather just set aside. Where Emilia says to Iago, 'You shall not write my praise,' Desdemona says to Iago, 'What wouldst thou write of me, it thou should praise me?' This clearly displays how Desdemona is not afraid to speak her mind. She does not shy away from others and she comes across as a strong and confident woman. When Desdemona tries to reconcile the relationship between Othello and Cassio, she is simply doing it for Othello's best interests. Some argue that Desdemona is being a nag and getting involved in problems that are nothing to do with her and that she does not know the boundaries between private and public life. However, her motives are completely genuine and I believe that this shows her innocence. She is very young and perhaps slightly na�ve. ...read more.

Conclusion

It cannot be possible that a woman who truly believes this can be called mature or rebellious. Desdemona's death on the other hand is not passive; she dies fighting for the right to live, and trying to defend herself. Othello has to literally silence her. Her final words, 'O falsely, falsely murdered' seem to portray that Desdemona has taken control and is finally speaking her mind even though it is now too late. Her words are selfless and though she has spoken her mind she takes on the role of the innocent victim; she becomes a sacrifice. Desdemona's innocence we see so clearly at the end of the play certainly contradicts her early assertiveness. The young woman who is not afraid to speak her mind and disobey her father is drastically changed into a passive victim at the end of the play. To a certain extent it could be argued that 'Desdemona is a sensual, mature, rebellious woman who knows her own mind' but only at the beginning of the play. By the end the view that Desdemona has been manipulated into 'an innocent victim and the embodiment of goodness in the play' is clear. Stephanie Gordon April 2005 English Literature ...read more.

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