Othello And Desdemona


Othello And Desdemona Essay, Research Paper

In Shakespeare?s play Othello, Iago is the antagonist. That is, he is the

villain in the play Othello. He is the person who causes an action to occur

which affects the other characters in the play. This action may not necessarily

be a good thing. Iago is the catalyst for Othello?s change. He is the reason

behind Othello?s changing views of his wife Desdemona, which results in the

deaths of many of the characters in this tragedy. In order to understand the

role Iago plays in destroying Othello, it is important to understand how Iago

uses other characters in Othello to set his devious plot into motion. Iago

successfully manipulates the characters involved to further his evil plans. He

does this in such a way that the majority of the characters? perceptions of

each other change dramatically. Thus leading to Othello?s transformation and

Othello?s changing views and behaviour towards his beloved wife Desdemona.

Iago firstly uses Roderigo, a Venetian gentleman, in love with Desdemona and

then Cassio in the process of annihilating Othello. Cassio is Othello?s

Lieutenant. Other characters Iago exploit include his own wife Emilia and

Desdemona herself. Iago goes to a lot of trouble to conquer Othello. When

Iago?s interaction with the other characters is understood then it can be

perfectly recognised, acknowledged and understood how Iago causes Othello?s

perceptions of Desdemona to change so drastically and quickly. Roderigo is the

first fall under Iago?s spell of manipulation. Roderigo is convinced that Iago

is genuine and does everything Iago tells him to. Iago easily convinces Roderigo

to tell Desdemona?s father, Brabantio, of Desdemona?s elopement with a

?moor?. Iago and Roderigo tell Brabantio of Othello?s marriage to

Desdemona who rushes over to Othello to unsuccessfully reclaim his daughter.

?An old black ram Is tupping your white ewe.? (Act 1, Scene 1, Line 90).

Brabantio?s perceptions of both his daughter and Othello have changed. Later

on Iago uses Desdemona?s deceit towards her father as a way of changing

Othello?s perception of Desdemona. He repeats the words Brabantio used ?She

has deceived her father and may thee.?(Act 1, Scene 3, Line 289). Through this

quote Iago tries to convince Othello that Desdemona has or could commit adultery

seeing though she has already deceived her father in marrying Othello. This is

one of the very first things that start Othello?s downfall. Iago is skilfully

feeding Othello with lies in which Othello will eventually believe in. Iago

handles Cassio in a more slightly delicate way. Iago?s basic plot is to make

Othello believe Desdemona is having an affair with Desdemona. ?Cassio?s a

proper man: let me see now; To get his place and to plume up my will In double

knavery. How? How? Let?s see. After some time, to abuse Othello?s ears That

he is too familiar with his wife?? (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 374-378). This

quote explains how Iago pretends to be Cassio?s best friend, giving him advice

when Othello dismisses him from his office. In actual fact, it was Iago who

planned this misfortune and uses it for his own benefit. ?For whiles this

honest fool Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes, And she for him pleads

strongly to the Moor, I?ll pour pestilence into his ear: That she repeals him

for her body?s lust; And by how much she strives to do him good, She shall

undo her credit with the Moor. So I will turn her virtue into pitch, And out of

her own goodness make the net That shall enmesh them all.? (Act 2, Scene 3,

Line 320-329). In this part of Iago?s soliloquy, Iago explains how he has

given advice to Cassio to go to Desdemona and ask her to plead his case to

Othello so that he will regain his position as Othello?s lieutenant as

possible. Now as Desdemona speaks about Cassio to Othello, Iago will be

continually telling Othello lies of Desdemona?s infidelity with Cassio. This

is the next step Iago takes to further his plan. He makes it appear as though

Cassio and Desdemona are involved together, having an affair. Othello does not

believe Iago. ?I do not think but Desdemona?s honest. (Act 3, Scene 3, Line

228). He tells Iago that he is not a jealous man. Othello confidently says that

Desdemona is faithful to him and he will not doubt her without any proof.

Nonetheless, a tiny seed of doubt has been sowed into Othello?s head. Iago?s

plan is working. Othello is beginning to feel the effects of jealousy and tries

to stop the jealous thoughts, which is evident in the following quote. ?No,

Iago, I?ll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove; And on the proof, there is

no more but this: Away at once with love or jealousy!? (Act 3, Scene 3, Line

192-194). Iago will continue to feed many lies of Desdemona?s fidelity into

Othello?s head until it results in Othello?s destruction along with many

others. As Iago continues to inform Othello of Desdemona and Cassio?s supposed

meetings, Othello begins to believe Iago?s stories and his jealous nature is

shown. Iago?s next plan of action involves the beloved handkerchief, which was

presented to Desdemona as one of Othello?s first gifts to her in their days of

wooing. This is a key feature in Othello?s changing perceptions of Desdemona.

?I will in Cassio?s lodging lose this napkin And let him find it. Trifles

light as air Are to the jealous confirmations strong As proofs of holy writ.

This may do something. The Moor already changes with my poison?? (Act 3,

Scene 3, Line 322-326). Here Iago tells of how wife Emilia has picked up the

lost handkerchief and given it to Iago who has continually asked her to steal it

from Desdemona. With this handkerchief, Iago sets up Cassio. Iago plans to place

the handkerchief so that Cassio finds it and then tell Othello Desdemona has

given the handkerchief to Cassio as a sign of her affection and love for him.

Othello becomes enraged, overcome with grief and jealousy and vows revenge just

as Iago had predicted. Iago has noticed the change in Othello and knows that it

would not take much to push him over the edge. ?Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn

her, damn her!? (Act 3, Scene 4, Line 476). This is the reaction Iago wants

from Othello. It shows how Othello?s perceptions of Desdemona have changed.

Through his sly and cunning ways Iago has dominated over Othello, has influenced

him in such a dangerous way that now Desdemona?s and Cassio?s lives are in

insecure. Othello has changed immensely and his treatment towards Desdemona at

this point in the storyline has notably changed. He tries to trick Desdemona

into admitting her crime by asking about the handkerchief. The handkerchief is

not produced and so Othello believes in more of what Iago has told him. Othello

speaks to Desdemona using words with ambiguous meanings. While he is implying

one thing, Desdemona thinks he is talking about something else. ?This argues

fruitfulness and liberal heart. Hot, hot, and moist.? (Act 3, Scene 4, Line

34-35). Desdemona does not think much of his words. What is said is what she

believes it to mean. Othello however, is referring to her adulterous, lecherous

nature. Othello speaks harshly to Desdemona as he questions the whereabouts of

the special handkerchief. This treatment of Desdemona shows Othello?s jealous

nature, which Emilia points out to Desdemona. Othello?s destruction is near,

as he becomes more and more jealous with each remark Iago makes. ?Lie with

her? Lie on her? We say lie on her when they belie her. Lie with her! Zounds,

that?s fulsome! Handkerchief ? confessions ? handkerchief! To confess and

be hanged for his labour. First to be hanged and then to confess. I tremble at

it. Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing passion without some

instruction. It is words that shakes me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and lips.

Is?t possible? ? Confess? Handkerchief? Oh devil!? (Act 4, Scene 1, Line

35-41). In this little speech made by Othello, it can be clearly seen how Iago

has manipulated Othello into believing his words. Iago has implied that Cassio

has boast of sleeping with Desdemona, which has upset Othello terribly. Iago

gives Othello more proof of Desdemona and Cassio?s commitment to each other,

which enables Othello to become even more infuriated than he already is. Here

Iago speaks with Cassio of Bianca, Cassio?s mistress: ?Now will I question

Cassio of Bianca, a housewife that by selling her desires Buys herself bread and

clothes. It is a creature that dotes on Cassio; as ?tis the strumpet?s

plague To beguile many and be beguiled by one. He when he hears of her, cannot

refrain From excess laughter. Here he comes. As he smile, Othello shall go mad;

And his unbookish jealousy must construe Poor Cassio?s smiles, gestures and

light behaviours Quite in the wrong.? (Act 4, Scene 1, Line 91-101). Iago

explains his plan in his soliloquy, which is to have Othello listen in on his

conversation with Cassio in hopes that what Othello believes he hears and sees,

will further destroy Othello?s and Desdemona?s relationship. Othello

believes Iago is talking to Cassio about Desdemona and take everything the wrong

way. He is horrified of how Cassio is behaving whilst talking with Iago. Othello

is determined to kill Desdemona after what has witnessed. ?Get me some poison,

Iago, this night. I?ll not expostulate with her, lest her body and beauty

unprovide my mind again ? this night, Iago.? (Act 4, Scene 1, Line 92-94).

Othello has changed as a result of Iago?s wicked ways. He has changed to such

an extent that he can no longer live with this woman of unmoral behaviours and

pledges to assassinate her. Iago?s role in changing Othello?s observations

of Desdemona can be seen even more clearly when Othello strikes Desdemona.

Lodovico, an outsider, sees a distinct change in Othello and comments to Iago on

this who agrees wholeheartedly. ?Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate

Call all-in-all sufficient? Is this the nature Whom passion could not shake?

Whose solid virtue The shot of accident nor dart of chance Could neither graze

nor pierce? He is much changed.? (Act 4, Scene 1, Line 254-259). This quote

shows Lodovico?s shock towards the change in Othello especially towards

Desdemona whom Othello once loved so dearly. Desdemona being the submissive

person that she is does nothing to defend herself. She takes everything Othello

throws her way. Desdemona loves Othello even after the way he has mistreated

her. Her love for him will not change. ?Let nobody blame him; his scorn I

approve ? ? (Act 4, Scene 3. Line 49). This line comes from a song Desdemona

sings but it represents Desdemona?s feelings towards Othello perfectly. She

won?t blame him for the way he treats her. Even on her death bed Desdemona

does not blame Othello for anything. In answer to Emilia?s question as to who

killed her, Desdemona replies, ?Nobody; I myself. Farewell. Commend me to my

kind lord. O farewell.? (Act 5, Scene 2, Line 125-126). Othello?s view of

Desdemona may have changed due to the presence of an evil force, that being Iago,

but Desdemona still loves her husband and claims she was true to him.

Othello?s view of Desdemona, due to Iago?s meddling interference has changed

drastically into a perception, which is extremely far from the truth. Othello

now believes Desdemona is a strumpet, in other words, a prostitute, a whore. He

also believes Emilia is one too and that Emilia is protecting Desdemona and so

he speaks to both as though they were that type of women. ?Was this fair

paper, this most goodly book, Made to write ?whore? upon? What committed!

Committed? O thou public commoner! I should make very forges of my cheeks That

would to cinders burn up modesty Did I but speak thy deeds. What committed!

Heavens stop the nose at it, and the moon winks; The bawdy wind, that kisses all

it meets, Is hushed within the hollow mine of earth And will not hear it. What

committed? Imprudent strumpet!? (Act 4, Scene 2, Line 70-79). Here Othello

calls Desdemona a whore to her face. He continually reinforces his belief that

Desdemona is unfaithful. His words are spoken in an aggressive harsh tone, which

shows how angry he is, and how much he has changed because of Iago?s

evil-minded ways. Later that night, Othello questions Desdemona again of her

adultery and Desdemona fears for her life. ?And yet I fear you, for you?re

fatal then When your eyes roll so. Why I should not fear I know not. Since

guiltiness I know not, but yet I feel fear.? (Act 5, Scene 2, Line 37-39).

Desdemona reveals her fear of Othello and informs that she is guilty of nothing.

Othello does not believe her and kills her. This is what has become of Othello.

His mind has been clouded by bad judgement due to Iago?s corrupt plans.

Othello?s mind was contaminated by Iago whose aim was to destroy Othello along

with Cassio. Othello?s perception of Desdemona changed numerous times

throughout. In the beginning Othello loved Desdemona with all his heart and

would not let anyone take his love from him, including Brabantio, Desdemona?s

father. ?She wished she had not heard it, yet she wished That heaven had made

her such a man. She thanked me, And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her, I

should but teach him how to tell my story, And that would woo her. Upon this

hint I spake; she loved me for the dangers I had passed, And I loved her that

she did pity them. ? (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 161-167). This speech made by

Othello, distinctly shows how he came to love Desdemona and she love him.

Othello?s perception of Desdemona starts to change with Iago?s interference.

Iago warns him to not be jealous. ?O beware, my lord, of jealousy: it is the

green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on.? (Act 3, Scene3, Line

167-169). Iago cunning advises Othello not to become jealous but at the same

time he is telling Othello lies to suggest Desdemona?s infidelity thus

manipulating Othello. Othello begins to believe in Iago and does not trust

himself to believe that Desdemona is in fact pure and virtuous. Othello?s

attitude and behaviours become worse as Iago feed him more and more lies. He

becomes distrusting of Desdemona and treats her poorly. Iago gradually pushes

Othello to the point of no return. He has basically total control of Othello and

Iago slyly prods Othello towards murdering Desdemona. ?Ay, let her rot and

perish, and be damned tonight, for she shall not live. No, my heart is turned to

stone: I strike it and it hurts my hand. O, the world hath not a sweeter

creature! She might lie by an emperor?s side and command his tasks.? (Act 4,

Scene 1, Line 172-175). Here Othello explains what he must do with Iago

encouraging him on. He has changed from a man who is in control, who is

intelligent in making decisions into someone who is violent, harsh and

irrational. Iago has Othello right where he wants him. Othello believes

everything Iago has told him and thinks Iago is a great man for helping him.

Othello continues to believe that Desdemona is a whore right up until after

Desdemona?s death. After Desdemona?s death, Othello?s perceptions of

Desdemona changes once more when it is revealed that it was Iago who placed such

destructive thoughts into his mind. Iago was the mastermind behind all the

conflicts. Othello realises Desdemona?s innocence. He cannot forgive himself

for what he has done and so destroys his own life. ?I kissed thee ere I killed

thee: no way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.? (Act 5, Scene2,

Line 354-355). Othello speaks his last words, as he dies. His death a sign of

how much he was easily manipulated and deceived by a man whom he entrusted his

life too. Iago is, indeed, the catalyst of Othello?s changing perceptions,

observations and views of his wife Desdemona. He was the cause of the deaths of

many innocent men and women including Roderigo, Desdemona, Emilia and Othello.

Through deception and concealment of who and what kind of person he was, Iago

manage to destroy Othello by changing his perceptions of Desdemona. Early on

through Iago?s own words ?I am not what I am? (Act1, Scene1, Line66) it

can be seen how Iago really is and how cunning he can be in deceiving people to

get what he wants. Hence, his role in destroying Othello and Desdemona is quite

a large role. If it hadn?t been for Iago Othello would not have begun to

become suspicious of Desdemona and their relationship would be as loving as ever

before. Also people would not have died as a result.


Додати в блог або на сайт

Цей текст може містити помилки.

A Free essays | Essay
23.1кб. | download | скачати

Related works:
Desdemona Loyal Wife Of Othello
Desdemona And EmiliaCompare
Desdemona Vs Emilia
The Role Of Desdemona In Shakespeare
Othello Iago Makes Othello Believe His Wife
Othello Othello A Tragic Hero
© Усі права захищені
написати до нас