Othello and Desdemona essay

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This paper investigates the literature available in the Shakespeare story of Othello. It analyses the nature of love that existed between Othello and Desdemona. In addition, the paper elucidates the nature of commitment between the two, and decides on who among them was responsible for the commitment.  According to the literature available, Desdemona certainly had a romantic relationship with Othello. For instance, she risked a “downright violence” to elope with him, despite his being a Moor. In doing this, she argued that her decision to elope with Othello was clear, and then she decided to ignore social constraints and follow her heart. This is typical to a romantic relationship, as it involved strong physical and emotional attachment between the two persons. For instance, the fact that Desdemona would go against her culture for Othello’s love showed the depth of intimacy between them (Shakespeare 332).

The reason why the relationship is a romantic one is due to the sacrifices that they both make. In many instances, Desdemona acted in a way that made it clear that she loved Othello for who he was. According to the literature, Othello was not only older than Desdemona, he was also black. Interracial marriages at that moment were regarded as highly unacceptable, especially for respected families like that of Desdemona’s one. Thus, in defying this norm to elope with Othello, Desdemona left no doubt that she loved Othello and could sacrifice everything for him. According to her, she saw Othello’ face in her mind, and it had the traits she loved. The traits she loved in Othello were not physical but were deeply embedded in his personality. Essentially, she loved him for his good heart, and this had absolutely nothing to do with his physical looks. On the other hand, Othello seemed to love Desdemona so romantically. The intimate attachment, according to Othello, was due to her ideal combination of beauty and humility. Indeed, Othello did assert quite often that Desdemona was the ideal wife for him and she had the best character that a woman should have. She was not only innocent lady that would fit Othello’s conservative life, but she also had the charming personality that evoked Othello’s feelings of romance. Indeed, the mutual feelings between the two persons showed the depth of their intimacy. It certainly explains why Desdemona would turn a blind eye to social constraints and elope with Othello (Shakespeare 332).

Desdemona greatly submitted to Othello, and this was purely out of her love for him. Indeed, she tried to explain her submission from both a political angle and a religious angle. For instance, she spoke of “consecrate” was to imply a solemn dedication that one would make in a religious context to a special purpose. In using such a strong religious word, Desdemona showed that she regarded her love for Othello as a very special purpose worth her dedication. According to literature, consecration had a connotation of strong attachment, and in a religious context, it could be used to mean “regarded as sacred”. When this is put into a social context, especially a romantic relationship, it reveals a strong attachment that exists between the two people who love one another. Indeed, it explains the reason why Desdemona would submit her love to Othello, as that was what religious believers did to consecrated places. In addition, the use of political term” subdued” emphasized just how much she valued the relationship. It gave an impression that she felt she could not possibly survive without Othello’s love. No wonder she was ready to sacrifice everything just to get her love. Although, the prevailing culture at the moment advocated for submitting to their wives, Desdemona’s submission seemed to be out of total conviction of love. Indeed, she is not forced to do it as culture forced women to submit to their husbands. On the other hand, Othello looked equally subdued when he decided to cross the age barrier and pursue the woman she dearly loved. The fact that she referred to her as a lovely wholesome person implied that she was convinced that no other lady could be better that Desdemona. Perhaps that is why he did something that was out of social norm at that moment, and married outside his age bracket (McPherson 41).

Although, Desdemona also revealed that her love for Othello was significantly due to his social honors, she was quick to add that the special attachment was due to the fact that Othello struggled to get to where he was. Indeed, she gave an impression that the intimate attachment was not only a romantic one, but transcended beyond the touchy-feely kind of love. The most striking came after the Senator had appointed Othello to lead the mission to Cyprus. Earlier on, it had been assumed that Desdemona would be content remaining behind in Venice, as Othello went to Cyprus. Indeed, Othello was against her accompanying him to Cyprus, as it was considered both unacceptable and unduly insincere. According to literature, this decision revealed just how rebellious she could go for love. Indeed, she did not only act in defiance against his father, but she also made decisions that negatively influenced the state policy. It was not common for a wife to accompany her husband to such a mission at the moment. Thus, the Duke certainly went against social norms when he relented to Desdemona’s request and allowed the two of them to decide, if they would go together. In the end, Othello had to yield to her demands and allowed her to accompany him to Cyprus. The fact that Othello made this decision against the social norms confirmed the extent of sacrifices that the two lovers could make for one another. According to Desdemona, she did not want any reason to separate the two of them. Thus, she used this chance to weaken the social constraints that would work against her pursuit of love. The belief she had was that by breaking one social norm, she would be setting a stage for another, her marriage with Othello (Shakespeare 332).

From the outcome of the play, the two partners seem to be responsible for changing the nature of their relationship. However, Desdemona can be said to bear a greater responsibility due to the big sacrifices that she made in order to remain in love with Othello. For instance, she went against the social norms accompanying Othello to Cyprus. It showed the depth of feelings that she had for Othello and the extent to which she could sacrifice for him. Indeed, the point that females were not expected to lead a rebellion against the society proved her boldness. Ideally, everyone would consider her decision to go against the society deviant and socially inacceptable. However, she remained brave and faced the obvious criticisms that undoubtedly came from elderly members of the society. It’s possible that this amount of sacrifice convinced Othello that Desdemona was the right woman for him. According to social norms, women should give the utmost respect to their parents and not to their boyfriends. However, Desdemona showed the contrary when she went against the father and society at large to marry Othello. Indeed, the mutual commitment to this relationship by the two individuals must have started at this point. The literature makes it quite clear that it was not for Desdemona’s persistence, the relationship might have ended without Desdemona’s accompanying Othello to Cyprus. Although, this was not quite obvious, there are chances that Desdemona would have gotten another suitor, thereby leading to the break-up of her relationship with Othello. This assumption is due to the fact that at the time Othello was leaving, the relationship was not properly established and could have easily been torn apart by the distance. This is certainly expected from any relationship, where emotional ties have not become strong enough (McPherson 41). 

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