Othello and Desdemona

In: English and Literature

Submitted By RPGaskin
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Othello and Desdemona * Othello is a play about opposites and opposition – many of which are embodied in the tragic, eponymous hero, Othello and his wife, Desdemona.
Act 1, Scene 1 * Presented through Iago: * Iago’s language is different from the other two male characters which have been introduced – it is one of a crude and mocking nature. * She is a ‘white ewe’ while Othello is the ‘black ram’ – together they create a ‘beast with two backs’. This comparison both reinforces the idea that Desdemona has made an ‘unnatural’ choice and casts Othello in a repugnant role to the audience as a ‘lustful’ predator – even before having met him. The reduction of the Desdemona-Othello match to, through the unpleasant animal imagery, one of bestial sexuality, renders their relationship as one of alien in the eyes of audience – even before having met them. HOWEVER COULD BE ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATION – The animal imagery Iago employs when speaking of Desdemona’s sexual union with Othello is keeping in with his earlier sneering reference to Cassio being ‘damned in a fair wife’. Shakespeare perhaps suggest Iago is crude and unable to understand love, or loving relationships – to him woman are a possession which ‘must be locked safe in [one’s] house’. Therefore to a contemporary audience: distrust any former view of Othello and Desdemona’s relationship which Iago has portrayed. Jacobean audience: further the ‘revolt’ of the Desdemona-Othello match. * Presented through Brabantio: *
Act 1, Scene 2 * Presented through Iago and Brabantio: * The coarse imagery Iago used in Act 1 to describe the sexual union of Othello and Desdemona continues. Iago makes a crude joke when he tells Cassio that Othello has ‘boarded a land carrack’. By using a metaphor of piracy, Iago is degrading Othello and thus echoing Brabantio’s accusation that he is…...

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