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Desdemona in Othello. Shakespeare portrays a woman who refuses to accept the socially expected arranged marriage by her father in his play Othello.

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Introduction

Desdemona: the Modern Woman in the Classic Play William Shakespeare is the magician of language: his well-built plot and embellished dialogue lead readers into his virtual but reality-reflected world. Among many of his plays, Othello is one of the best tragedies which reflect the deepest nature of human beings: jealousy and love. In spite of its high quality as a masterpiece, many modern people are afraid of reading the original texts by Shakespeare because of its language; they tend to believe that Othello or any other Shakespeare plays are too classical in terms of both language and plot that modern people would not feel any sympathies toward. However, many readers found it surprising that Othello is rather modern especially in terms of social role of woman illustrated in Desdemona. Shakespeare portrays a woman who refuses to accept the socially expected arranged marriage by her father in his play Othello. Many literary critics assume that Othello is written approximately in 1603. During that era, the biggest virtue of women was the obedience: the obedience to their parents, their lords. The Scottish protestant leader in sixteenth century, John Knox, stated, "Woman in her greatest perfection was made to serve and obey man" (12). ...read more.

Middle

In addition, Desdemona, who is always loyal and faithful to herself as well as to her husband, stands strongly against her insane husband Othello to defend her rights as an individual. Unfortunately, the love between Desdemona and Othello seems to break down when Othello completely falls down to a devilish trap of Iago. To arrogate a place of Othello as a general, Iago installs a huge trap to all characters that eventually leads to the tragic ending. As a part of the trap, Iago successfully deceives Othello that Desdemona has an affair with Cassio, the lieutenant of Othello. Later, when Othello falsely accuses her of cheating on him in front of Lodovico, Desdemona states, "I have not deserved this" (IV. i. 268). Although she still looks up him as her lord, she does not completely give up her rights as a human being and accepts everything her husband does to her. Rather, she tries to correct Othello when he conducts any unjust actions to any individuals including herself and Cassio. DESDEMONA Alas the heavy day, why do you weep? Am I the motive of these tears, my lord? ...read more.

Conclusion

However, her remaining faithful toward Othello is not exactly being passively obedient to her husband; rather, she acknowledges her responsibility of abandoning her own father to obtain her proved-to-be-mad love and that she is trying to take a responsibility for what she had done. When Iago lies about the relationship between Desdemona and Cassio, Othello believes what Iago told him without filtering. His blind love distracts him from being conscious. On the other hand, Desdemona remains loyal and defends Othello even after Emilia suspects of Othello's insanity and disbelief toward Desdemona since she is responsible enough not to blame others for what she chose to do. Therefore, Desdemona proved herself to be as responsible as other modern individuals. In conclusion, in his tragic play, Othello, William Shakespeare illustrates a woman who is fully responsible for herself and independent as an individual as contrary to other Elizabethan women at that era who were raised to believe that they are inferior to men, thus, followed their orders. Desdemona chose whom she married to, stood against any unequal treatments toward her and took entire responsibility to her behaviors. Therefore, although Othello is classified as classic literature, in terms of role of women in this play, the play contains many modern factors that even current readers can easily feel sympathy toward. ...read more.

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