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Given the way women were expected to behave in Shakespeare’s day, what is your impression of Desdemona?

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Introduction

Lizzie Wood 1.Given the way women were expected to behave in Shakespeare's day, what is your impression of Desdemona? Desdemona shows us how even in a world of inequality she managed to be independent, as well as honouring her father and husband in a way only she could. When Desdemona is confronted, by her father, about her marriage to Othello, she is very confident. She manages to give good reasons to her father, why she married Othello, "And so much duty as my mother showed/Preferring you before her father/So much I challenge that I may profess"(I iii 184-187). She says that as her mother married her father, she was choosing him above her own father, and therefore she will do the same. She married Othello through her own choice; she had her own opinion and used it. 'My noble father/ I do perceive here a divided duty; /To you I am bound for life and educated; /My life and education both do learn me/ how to respect you. You are the lord of all my duty" (I iii 78-182). This shows how she respects her father although she has disobeyed him. ...read more.

Middle

She married Othello through her own choice; she had her own opinion and used it. 'My noble father/ I do perceive here a divided duty; /To you I am bound for life and educated; /My life and education both do learn me/ how to respect you. You are the lord of all my duty.' (I iii 78-182) She respects people too. She asked and said what other women would not dare think. This is shown when she asked the officials of the Venetian Army, if she may go to the war in Cyprus to be with Othello. In Shakespeare's day wives were not allowed to go to war as it was felt it was unsafe. As Othello was the leader of the army it would therefore be up to him to set an example to his troops and discourage others from trying to bring their wives. By taking Desdemona to war, Othello would not be setting a good example. However Desdemona did ask the officials if she could go to war and they agreed. This is showing her courage as a women. When Cassio asks to see Desdemona alone she consents even though she has not had the permission of her husband. ...read more.

Conclusion

Emilia replies that she would not do it by the "heavenly light", but she would do it in the dark. Emilia explains how that is little to do for such a big world and if you had the world then you could change the rules to make it right. However Desdemona says she would not commit adultery even for the whole world. This shows how Desdemona is so very faithful that it is almost saint like the way she feels. Desdemona and Emilia's thoughts about marriage are very different. Unlike Desdemona, Emilia does not have such a passionate marriage with Iago as Desdemona does with Othello. This would of course have something to do with the women's opinions, but I feel it is more because the two women have such different characters. To Desdemona marriage is a very special bond, not to be fiddled with by committing adultery. Keeping her marriage vows, the Ten Commandments are far more important than the world. Even if she could change the rules after. Considering all of this, my impression of Desdemona is one of great admiration. Desdemona always took into consideration the feelings of others, but she also respected her own mind. Her character would be an extremely good role model. Despite how women should have behaved in Shakespeare's days, Desdemona should be highly regarded. ...read more.

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