In this Shakespeare play, Othello is a unique commander, he is different because of the color of his skin. He is referred to as a moor a name associated with the aliens who were considered as inferior. He is in love with the senator’s daughter Desdemona whom they elope to go and secretly get married behind her father’s back (Brabantio). The two met in her home where Othello used to meet her father. Signior Brabantio admired Othello and termed him as a great soldier, he also used to warmly welcome him at his home. The two were so much in love that they were ready to sacrifice anything in order to be together. (Crawford and Badger, 1). Othello true love for Desdemona is tested when he was given false information that his beloved wife was being unfaithful.
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The Relationship between Othello and Desdemona
When the father learned that Othello was romantically involved with her daughter he became his enemy. He accused him of stealing his daughter abusing and corrupting her. “…..she is abused, stolen from me and corrupted….” (Act 1 scene 3, 250-5). He even referred to him as” this man” opposed to the noble names that he used to call him before. Othello never thought that Desdemona father would be against his relationship with her daughter because he considered him as a friend. But it seems that Othello foresaw this and considering the fact that he is black made him marry Desdemona without Brabantio’s consent (Crawford and Badger, 1).
Othello confessed his love for Desdemona in front of the senate when he said that he loved her for pitying him on the dangers he went through. This expression of love is further seen when he honestly begged the senate to let her follow him to Cyprus. “So please your grace, my ancient, A man he is of honesty and trust to his conveyance I assign my wife, with what else needful my grace shall think, to be sent after me.” (Act 1 scene 3, 260-5).
Othello was very sure of how Desdemona felt for him when he requested that they should let her speak for herself. He even went ahead and said that they can take away his authority, even his life if he did steal the lady. When Desdemona stood to speak her father was surprised to hear what her daughter had to say. She challenged him to let her be by her husband side like what her mother did to him. He could not believe that she could be in love with Othello and choose him over his own father, he bitterly warned Othello to watch his back, “….she has deceived her father and may thee.” (Act 1 Scene III, 323-4). Desdemona does not only give empty words to express her love but her actions are to emulate because she meant what she said. She forsakes her family, friends and a distinguished lifestyle to marry a black man whom during the time was not worthy of marrying a white lady (Roberts, 4).
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This play brings out the idea that a woman has the right to choose who to fall in love with and marry. Desdemona’s father did not want his daughter to be married by a Moor as he called him and thought that he could make a choice for her. He felt betrayed by her own daughter and said that her being with Othello is the same as being dead to him.
From his relationship with the senator’s daughter, Othello made a number of enemies including his father in law. A man named Roderigo who is desperate to marry Desdemona would do anything to separate them. He is even willing to take his own life if the lady does not love her back (Roberts, 9). Another man named Lago, who in the opening of the play persuades Rodrigo to tell sir Brabantio about her daughter’s relationship with Othello, is also not happy about the union of Othello and Desdemona. The reason behind his resentment is that Othello promoted Cassio to be his lieutenant instead of him, which is why he vows to join force with Roderigo to frustrate and break Othello’s marriage.
Othello was so blind to see what was going on behind his back against his marriage to Desdemona. All this time he still trusts Lago to carry out some duties on his behalf. “…. Lago is most honest….” (Act I scene III). On the first night in Cyprus, Lago convinced Cassio to take alcohol so that he can cause chaos and disturb Othello’s wedding night so as to set Cassio against Othello. In act III scene III Lago responds to the commander with a lot of humility and respect addressing him as “good Lord” just to cover up his evil plans. Lago misinterprets Cassio’s relationship to Lago and thinks that the two are sexually attracted to one another. He also concluded that Desdemona was the reason Cassio was promoted and not him. He told Othello to observe his wife closely with Cassio, he tried to put doubt on Desdemona’s love to Othello.
Lago succeeded in poisoning Othello’s mind. He became extremely jealous and angry and could not imagine his wife with another man. He did not want to hear anything that Desdemona said. When he was told about the handkerchief he asked for it form his wife in an angry manner and insisted that it was given to him.
Othello “Is’t lost? Is’t lost? Speak, is’t out o’ the way?”
Othello “say you” ( Act III scene III).
When Desdemona was confronted about the accusations by hers husband, she tried to show her innocence but he could hear none of it to his jealousness and sexual insecurity. “That she with Cassio hath the act of shame a thousand times committed.” (Act V Scene II,212-3). From his anger and mistrust, he kills his wife by suffocating her in their marital bed (Balinnas, 1).
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True love is kind, patient, does not envy, is not angered easily and keeps no record of wrong. This is according to the religious scriptures. Othello may have loved Desdemona but it was not true love, because where there is love there is trust and mercy. Othello did not exhibit any of these character traits, he mercilessly killed his wife. He trusted his friends more than his own wife. If he could be truly in love with her he would give her time to explain herself and belief in her. Othello reaction towards a mere allegation of infidelity was not an act of love, It shows how their foundation of love was built in sand
Ballinas, Rexonna. “Did Othello Love Desdemona?.” prezi.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 May 2018.
Crawford, Alexander, and Boston Badger. “Shakespeare’s Othello – Othello’s Relationship With Desdemona – Shakespeare and Race.” Shakespeare-online.com. N.p., 1916. Web. 7 May 2018.
Ridley, M. “Othello.” Amazon.com. N.p., 1966. Web. 7 May 2018.
Roberts, Earnest. The Tragedy Of An Insufficient Love. 1962. Web. 7 May 2018.
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