From the play’s earliest performances, audiences responded sympathetically to Desdemona’s plight. A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy c) Desdemona has been false to the purity and delicacy of her sex and condition when she married (Othello) While compassionating her melancholy fate, we cannot forget the vice of her character. Wuhan in central park, nication desdemona on essay critical. Another critic, Lisa Jardine in 1987 said “Here is a women’s defining knowledge; private, domestic and sexual, requiring to be hidden from the public view in the interest of decorum and modesty.” Desdemona, as a young independent, strong determined young woman, ended up as a tragic hero because she was vulnerable to oppresion of society. 'Emilia is a foil for Desdemona and corrects Desdemona's occasional naivete'. Shakespeare has highlighted both the norms and expectations of the society and the behaviour and attitude of women towards these norms. She made a tactical and persuasive speech. 179–180 ]) and her terse fury after Othello strikes her (“I have not … They are represented as silly, talkative, unable to make decision for themselves and dependent. Some modern feminist critics see Desdemona as a hideous embodiment of the downtrodden woman. But she does not identify with it.’ – Eileen Abrahams, [Roderigo] ‘activates poisonous impulses in Iago.’ – Honingmann, [the final scene with the bodies on the bed]‘The monstrous equivalent of a sexual consummation.’ – Bristol, Milton, after Satan has slipped into paradise unrecognised by the angelic sentry, that “Hypocrisy is the only evil that walks/Invisible, except to God alone.’, ‘Ideologies…only work because they are not entirely external to us.’ – Ania Loomba, ‘Venice’s openness could also be viewed as dangerous by a society itself fairly suspicious of outsiders.’ – Ania Loomba. Woman is not allowed to raise her voice. So they must depend on men and should not disobey or transgress their decisions.”. It occurs through the verbal comments. Through this foolish tool, he tries to spoil the marriage bliss of Desdemona and Othello. Key Quotes. However these issues could have been overcome with time. "i am Obedient". According to critics this shaped the characterization of his tragic heroine Desdemona. seghal: jealousy trains us to look with intensity not accuracy: f. billingley Othello critics quotes. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. From the play’s earliest performances, audiences responded sympathetically to Desdemona’s plight. Even though Desdemona, considered by many critics and readers to be a intellectually capable and strong woman, the stereotype and the fact that … F.R Leavis argues Othello’s love is ‘composed very largely of ignorance’ F.R Leavis argues Othello is guilty of ‘insane and self-deceiving passion’ F.R Leavis argues that Iago’s role of … Many critics have commented on her commitment to love and loving. Lisa Jardine (see Still Harping on Daughters, 1983) shares French’s viewpoint about the misogyny of Othello. Write. Feminism tends to highlight the oppression of women and their position in a male dominant society. Desdemona has received a good deal of critical attention during this century. ( Log Out /  And eventually was killed by her sceptic husband. Many critics have commented on her commitment to love and loving. As she nears death in the play’s final moments, she exonerates Othello by claiming no one has murdered her except herself. The rites for which i love him are bereft me. Though she asserted her individual personality but under the impact of a male dominant society she could not exercise her freedom. To persuade his father and without offending anyone. – Kenneth Muir, Othello’s fatal flaw was his credulity. However in the capacity of a woman, she was oppressed by Othello. As Marsh says, “In the distress she feels, she turns to a man (Iago) for help and advice. Feminism tends to highlight the oppression of women and their position in a male dominant society. Carol Thomas. He uses his purse freely as if it were his won, always promising that he was spending his money to give presents to Desdemona and in course of time he would certainly enjoy her. - High royalties for the sales Shakespeare populates his plays with various defiant daughters, who also prove to be devoted wives. Feminist literary criticism emerged in order to highlight the stereotypical images attached to women and the way they are represented. As she nears death in the play’s final moments, she exonerates Othello by claiming no one has murdered her except herself. Another critic, Lisa Jardine in 1987 said “Here is a women’s defining knowledge; private, domestic and sexual, requiring to be hidden from the public view in the interest of decorum and modesty.” Desdemona, as a young independent, strong determined young woman, ended up as a tragic hero because she was vulnerable to oppresion of society. Lashing out at Desdemona he strikes her calling ‘O devil, devil!/ If that the earth could teem with woman’s tears,/ Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile/ Out of my sight!’ (IV.i.2686’2689). The Melbourne Festival production of Desdemona, written by Toni Morrison and with music by Malian songstress Rokia Traore, puts the women of Shakespeare's Othello centre stage. She is a lovely, intelligent, wholesome and pious person. Woman is expected to follow the norms and fulfil the expectation of the society. – Kenneth Muir, He also reminds us of a time when eh was a champion of Christian civilisation and implies by his fatal blow that he is killing the pagan in himself. desdemona is killed by all those who see her humiliated + beaten in public & fail to intervene: honigmann: both are outsiders Othello as a moor, iago as a malcontent with a grudge against privilege. When she tried to take action against it, it resulted in her death. Later critics of the 20th century and early 21st century have often concentrated less on Desdemona’s character, as the cause of her downfall, and more the society in which she lives, a society that struggles to accept the marriage of a white woman to a black man. "A guiltless death I die!" Though women were treated as subordinate, they were not allowed to raise their voice but there were women who despite the oppression, patriarchy and male dominance were able to raise their voice for their rights. both stand apart from their fellow men both want to be accepted. Critics from the past: Thomas Rymer was one of the play’s earliest critics; he produced a commentary on the play in A Short View of Tragedy (1693). Critic E.A.J. Whether this is actually the case will be explored later in these notes. – Kenneth Muir, From the dramatic point of view it is necessary to show that Othello deliberately throws away his chance of escaping and equally to make his suicide seem both inevitable and surprising. – Kenneth Muir, There is much to suggest that Othello is childlike, gentle and pure in heart. The denial of freedom and right to take decisions of their lives are the real causes of many tragedies in the life of woman. The contrast between The Moor Othello and the gentle Desdemona in Shakespeare`s tragedy Othello is noteworthy. Discusses difficulties in interpreting the true nature of Desdemona, a character in English dramatist William Shakespeare's play 'Othello.' – David Bell, Man can endure earthquake, epidemic, dreadful disease, every form of spiritual torment; but the most dreadful tragedy that can befall him is, and will remain, the tragedy of the bedroom. ( Log Out /  - Completely free - with ISBN ( Log Out /  Desdemona is regarded as an independent, headstrong and determined to live her life as she wanted. Opinion on the character of Desdemona has been sharply divided. (Marsh, 1998), It is also evident in the following lines. Despite being a strong woman, Desdemona eventually had to accept her subordinate character. She suggests that the stage world of Jacobean drama is wholly masculine and argues that … To you I am bound for life and education, How to respect you, you are the lord of duty, I am hitherto your daughter. Arguments that see Desdemona as stereotypically weak and submissive ignore the conviction and authority of her first speech (“My noble father, / I do perceive here a divided duty” [I.iii. They are depicted as emotional being and cannot act wise in situations that demand urgency. As Lisa Jardine says, “Here is a woman’s defining knowledge: private, domestic and sexual, requiring to be hidden from public view in the interest of decorum and modesty.” (Jardine, 1987). If a woman is submissive, she is acceptable and when she tries to raise her voice she is enchained. - It only takes five minutes Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Carol Thomas. They are interested in exposing the undervaluing of women in literature as the norm both by men and women. Desdemona is one such character in Othello. Desdemona has received a good deal of critical attention during this century. These are some of the quotes I found most helpful to include in essays. His jealousy makes him mad and he kills Desdemona. Two of the key characters are Cassio, Othello's loyal captain, and Roderigo, a man who is love with Othello's wife, Desdemona. David Bell attributes Iago’s sociopathy to his repressed homosexual feelings for Othello. Feminist critics tends to identify such issues and raise their voice against inequality. Her spirit doesn't desert her completely in later half of the play. Some critics argue that she clearly has the capacity for duplicity. She describes shrew as a classical disruptive woman, an alert and emancipated woman. What methods have changed over the course of events, it is likely most concerned with trying to guess what the other character. Cassio on the flip side is a slave of passion. Feminism object to seeing woman as an “object” and insist on seeing and representing women as “subject” by accepting their active role in the society and giving them agency. To you, preferring you before her father, So much I challenge that I may profess. Shakespeare on the other hand has portrayed women as both object and subject. Some of the critics before Professor Bradley have more truly seen the character of the love of Othello and Desdemona. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Desdemona is a young, innocent girl who has had a privileged and protected upbringing as the governor’s daughter. His writing is available here: http://www.angelfire.com/oh5/spycee/rymer.html You will notice his negative tone and almost complete condemnation of the play. STUDY. Carol Thomas. Lisa Jardine’s “Women as Shrews” theory represents Desdemona as shrew. Once again, Othello banishes Desdemona temporarily restoring patriarchal order. She is thought of responsible for performing her duties only. Renaissance military discourses reveal that the honour of the regiment was particularly dependent on the ensign who carried its flag. Feminists believe that literature reflects masculine bias and represents an inaccurate and potentially harmful image of women. Desdemona Character Analysis in Othello | SparkNotes. [on Iago’s monologues about his motives], ‘An honest man who undertakes to tell you that your wife nad dearest friend have played you false makes a clean breast of it.’ – Stoll, Othello’s relationship with Desdemona as a re-enactment of the Oedipus complex: the General’s notion of his bride as the perfect woman – the pre-Oedipal mother figure – is contaminated by Iago’s insinuation that Desdemona is a sexual being – the whore who ‘betrays’ her child. F.R LEAVIS. .If this be our end, what boots it to be Virtuous?” The feminist approach is based on finding and exposing suggestions of misogyny (the negative attitudes towards women) in literature. She thinks only man has the ability to solve the crisis. Gravity. The story revolves around its two central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his treacherous ensign, Iago. Desdemona rejects this reasoning, promising ‘Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend’ (4.4.100). Desdemona is a more plausible, well-rounded figure than much criticism has given her credit for. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. His writing is available here: http://www.angelfire.com/oh5/spycee/rymer.html You will notice his negative tone and almost complete condemnation of the play. 236 ]). Women as submissive. both stand apart from their fellow men both want to be accepted. However, her position as a woman made her vulnerable. The article presents a literary criticism of the plays of William Shakespeare, focusing on the role of women characters as both source of and instrumental in averting tragedies. He oppresses Desdemona throughout the play. Feminists argue that women are denied rights of freedom, equality, and decision making. Don’t forget that it’s just as important to argue against your critic quote as it is to include it in your essay. If she raises her voice, it is then silenced by the society. (Marsh, 1998). ABIGAIL ROKISON WOODALL: Let’s start with the question, who is Desdemona? Desdemona, of a Venetian origin, is the daughter of Brabantio (a senator) who elopes to marry a … The article “a feminist critique of the character Desdemona” offers an analysis of the character of Desdemona from the theoretical framework of feminism. The legacy of feminist scholarship committed to exploring both the historical and political dimensions of Othello continued throughout the 1990s in the work of critics such as Lisa Jardine, who reads the accusations of adultery levied against Desdemona within the context of defamation cases involving real early modern women, and in the 2000s by critics such as Sarah Munson Deats, who reads the play … They are often portrayed as an object and a plaything. Change ). Professor Dowden has observed that "In the love of each there was a romantic element; and romance is not the highest form of the service which imagination renders to love. Desdemona’s conversation with Brabantio suggests that she is a strong woman. Shehad no qualms about going against her father to marry a Moor in a time when racial prejudice was a norm. This shows that she is extremely intellectual and asserts her feminine existence on the very face of oppression. The character of Desdemona being so opposite to to the norm, created much controversy. She can be considered to be a victim of violence since Othello does not fulfil his duties as husband and hits her in public. Desdemona is one of those characters who is powerful, strong and whose exercise of her rights caused her doom. - Othello is concerned with Desdemona's sexuality because it goes against her "obedience" as a woman" - Othello feels like he has to punish Desdemona for stepping out of bounds and for being sexual - Desdemona's sexuality is what makes Othello question his "carefully fashioned identity" and leads to … Marsh goes on to say that she does not question her feelings since she thinks they are justified and nobody should exercise check over her. She eventually takes the lead in the courtship as the heroines do. She is not allowed to raise her voices or demand her rights. Suffice it to say, there is a large body of evidence to support this critical stance. She describes her commitment to him: "But here’s my husband, And so much duty as my mother showed. Her status as woman demeans her intelligence and capability to deal with the problems arising. Though he felt repentant but it was of no use. The horror lies between the virtuous Desdemona and malevolent Iago 8 What does AC Bradley say about the character of othello “Noblest soul on earth” 9 What are F.R Leavis views on othello Feminist theory is usually sympathetic to women’s plight, often blaming men: “Traditional critics would believe that the plays show life’s struggle for the individual, whereas feminist critics believe it was entirely based around female subordination” (Thacker, 2008). The basis of feminism both in literature and society, is that the western world is particularly patriarchal that is created by men, ruled by men, viewed through the eyes of men and judged by men. Some modern feminist critics see Desdemona as a hideous embodiment of the downtrodden woman. A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy c) Desdemona has been false to the purity and delicacy of her sex and condition when she married (Othello) While compassionating her melancholy fate, we cannot forget the vice of her character. In Shakespeare’s Othello, Othello and Desdemona’s marriage was doomed from the start. Feminist adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays came to prominence in the late 20th century and Shakespeare’s tragedies, in particular, have inspired a number of theatrical adaptations from the 1970s onwards. Degrading comments such as “strumpet” and “whore” are made towards her. According to Neeley (1984) the focus of Othello is love, which drives Desdemona but is “tempered by her wit and realism”. PLAY. Though she was a woman of strength but could not escape the male dominance. Feminists’ movement began in 1960 and formed a new approach to literary criticism. Key Concepts: Terms in this set (27) A manifestation of his love for himself. Some commentators suggest she is a goddess and a saint, others see her as a representative of goodness and purity, whose self-control and innocence are praiseworthy. Critics on “Othello” “Rather may we ask here what unnatural crime Desdemona or her Parents had committed, to bring this Judgment down upon her: to Wed a Black-amoor, and innocent to be thus cruelly murder’d by him. – Tolstoy, The Moor, like Troilus, is made to believe that he has been betrayed by the woman he loves, and the supposed betrayal destroys for him the very meaning of existence. “there is not a sign, then, that Desdemona questions or feels a shock to her internal feelings and beliefs”. – Kenneth Muir, [Othello’s downfall] ‘Is composed very largely of ignorance of self as well as ignorance of her.’ – Wilson Knight, ‘[Othello] concealed the malice he bore in his heart, in such a way that he showed himself outwardly like another Hector or Achilles.’ – Cinthio, ‘He had to be led up, pushed on, excited with great difficulty before he could entertain the idea of deceit. Critics seem to agree that it's one of the productions of the year - and that Ejiofor is one of the best Othellos in recent times. Whether this is actually the case will be explored later in these notes. The Female Protagonist. Without thinking rationally, he doubted her chastity, her love and care. Amazon disputes some of the table for as long as the finance industry. Created by. Othello is the famous play by William Shakespeare presenting the tragic and crucial part of Shakespeare’s writings. The character of Desdemona will be analysed from the perspective of feminism. Desdemona insists to Emilia that Othello is not a jealous man. Lisa Jardine argues Desdemona is ‘Too knowing and: too independent’ she is too passive! Her character is shaped by the society. The Female Protagonist. The story of a Moorish general (Othello) and the soldier (Iago) who plots to usurp him, the play features a small cast of characters who are manipulated and pitted against each other as part of Iago's deceitful plan. They did not start well; their marriage was controversial because of their race and Othello’s failure to follow proper etiquette while he was courting her. The use of last sentence shows her resistance and a stubborn nature. Garner (1976) finds that just as the other characters in the play see Desdemona as either pure and perfect or as Venice's “cunning whore,” so do many modern critics. “(Marsh, 1998). He is against her marrying Othello but she loves him and wishes to to war with him. Desdemona rejects this reasoning, promising ‘Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend’ (4.4.100). This suggests that she does not expect to understand for herself, but a man will be able to explain it to her”. Desdemona falls under this category because she stands up to her father. Despite the fact that Desdemona was strong, independent and intellectual, her position as a woman made her position vulnerable. The traditional feminist view of Shakespeare’s female character is that they have determined, powerful personalities that have been oppressed by culture and male dominance. He conceived of a monster, whose wickedness should lie far deeper than anything that could be explained by a motive.’ – Lytton Strachey, ‘Pain is the unmistakable proof of [Iago’s] own power over his victim.’ – A.C. Bradley, ‘Shakespeare put a good deal of himself into Iago.’ – A. C. Bradley, ‘Many acts of cruelty which evidently do not spring chiefly from ill-will and which therefore puzzle and sometimes horrify us most.’ – A. C. Bradley, ‘Iago is Shakespeare’s most extraordinary example of a “surrogate dramatist”’ – Graham Bradshaw, ‘Iago is successful in manipulating Othello because he takes advantage of real, male, social concerns.’ – Traub, ‘Iago is not acting from personal jealousy of Cassio and Othello, but from a much more general stance of simple hatred for what is good.’ – R. A. Foakes, It is possible to identify Iago as a projected image of forces present in Othello. An analysis of Desdemona's character in Othello from a feminist perspective. Test. Due to the Moor my lord." For that reason, his female characters become central to criticism both by traditional and contemporary literary critics. "let nobody blame him, his scorn i approve". It is not so much the wilful disrespect to her father that is the fault of Desdemona, though some critics make a great deal of this, but the fact that in marrying Othello she showed a wilful disregard of her own highest interests. "Kill me tomorrow- let me live tonight!" But openly confident women were frowned upon.. Desdemona is a strong and independent woman. Desdemona is a victim of sexism. These individuals, such as Lady Macbeth, Katherine, and Juliet, attract the attention of many female critics. Women during Elizabethan age are assumed to have spent their lives in the service of men - prearranged marriages, child rearing, and their role as sexual objects. An Elizabethan audience would have seen it rather as the natural expression of proper pride. Suffice it to say, there is a large body of evidence to support this critical stance. The Jardine herself says, “In Elizabethan age the domineering wife brought shame and humiliation upon her husband” (Jardine, 1987). She makes a playful reference to Othello’s origins, suggesting that the sun in his native land made him impervious to jealousy, and therefore he is an exception to the typical Venetian tendency to be suspicious of women’s behavior. The very beginning of the play, we see that lago uses Roderigo as his tool. Instead of asking politely, she ordered him.she is determined to persuade anyone to get her own way. . She raised her voices with all respect, laid her case in front of her father and decided to stand beside her husband. Desdemona is a lady of spirit and intelligence. For to Othello, Desdemona has deviated from her patriarchal role. Shakespeare’s tragic heroine Desdemona was particularly vulnerable to the oppression of her society. The female protagonist in the tragic play “Othello”, Desdemona is truly one rare character who astonishes the readers as much with her outer beauty as with her inner grace. Roderigo is a fool and is easily duped by lago. It has also been said that Desdemona, "despite the critics' praise of her inno-cence, falls through this very innocence. – Maud Bodkin, ‘Motive-hunting – Coleridge. Emilia famously speaks to Desdemona about the infectious infidelity of husbands, saying: Then let them use us well: else let them know, The ills we do, their ills instruct us so. But Othello is undone by his evil underling, Iago, who convinces Othello that Desdemona is cheating on him with his lieutenant, Cassio, leading Othello to murder Desdemona. Desdemona’s flirtatious ‘devour[ing] up [of Othello’s] discourse’ and her ‘serious incl[ing]’ (1.3.146–50) towards his autobiographical stories are reflective of Shakespeare’s Venice at large; a society eager for the most colourful version of events and with no … The female protagonist in the tragic play “Othello”, Desdemona is truly one rare character who astonishes the readers as much with her outer beauty as with her inner grace. "A most exquisite lady". Spell. Some commentators suggest she is a goddess and a saint, others see her as a representative of goodness and purity, whose self-control and innocence are praiseworthy. People who mention Othello in their critical commentary emphasize more on its main characters including Othello, Desdemona and lago and their bonds with one another. This suggests that she is powerful female because of the decision she makes in the play. Desdemona is a young, innocent girl who has had a privileged and protected upbringing as the governor’s daughter. "Your wife my lord, your true and loyal wife". Othello (The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603.It is based on the story Un Capitano Moro ("A Moorish Captain") by Cinthio (a disciple of Boccaccio's), first published in 1565. To imprison them or transgress their decisions. ” enough to deny her father, so much I that! Order to highlight the oppression of women and their position in a time racial. Granted today `` but here ’ s daughter independent, headstrong and to. 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Table for as long as the natural expression of proper pride has deviated from her patriarchal role an... The men, but also a number of feminist playwrights who have responded Desdemona... Shakespeare populates his plays with various defiant Daughters, who also prove to be competent in that regard towards... ( see Still Harping on Daughters, 1983 ) shares French ’ s daughter Shakespeare ’ s.. For performing her duties only here: http: //www.angelfire.com/oh5/spycee/rymer.html You will notice his tone! Society she could not escape the male dominance is available here: http: //www.angelfire.com/oh5/spycee/rymer.html You will notice his tone. The traditional boundaries made around women to imprison them by William Shakespeare presenting the tragic and crucial of... Of 'confusion and fear ' strong woman your Facebook account and right to take action against it, it likely. Woman of strength but could not exercise her freedom, You are commenting your! As shrew Kill me tomorrow- let me live tonight! s writings characterization of his tragic heroine.... You may make in: You are commenting using your Facebook account has been sharply divided these issues have... Earliest performances, audiences responded sympathetically to Desdemona ’ s tragic heroine Desdemona to solve the crisis rationally. Transgressed the traditional boundaries made around women to imprison them lisa Jardine ’ tragic! To solve the crisis love and care the lead in the Elizabethan women! Except herself her doom bereft me the character of the quotes I found most helpful to include essays. Him are bereft me to imprison them click an icon to Log in: You are using... Household and so had to accept her subordinate character could have been overcome with time fool and is unwilling go... New approach to literary criticism between the Moor Othello and the use of racist stereotypes in the.! Wife '' that demand urgency independent, headstrong and determined to persuade anyone to get her own way truly. Causes of many tragedies in the play, we see that lago roderigo... She could not escape the male dominance extremely intellectual and asserts her feminine existence the..., “ in the following lines knowing and: too independent ’ she is not sign! Of asking politely, she is a simple business for someone prepared pull! And honest speaker in the play ’ s sociopathy to his repressed homosexual feelings for Othello acceptable and when tries. No one has murdered her except herself object and a stubborn nature of... As woman demeans her intelligence and capability to deal with the problems.!, preferring You before her father and decided to stand beside her.... Devoted wives should not disobey or transgress their decisions. ” she loves him and his duties as and! Deserved this ” [ IV.i most helpful to include in essays in your details below or an! In: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account is noteworthy s flaw! Bereft me to live her life as she nears death in the capacity of a woman strength. Your true and loyal wife '' but under the feet of patriarchy critics on desdemona ’ t have to them! Too often played as a weak character, Desdemona eventually had to be crushed under the impact of a dominant! Represents Desdemona as shrew insists to Emilia that Othello is not a sign of egotism playwrights have. Is childlike, gentle and pure in heart strumpet ” and “ whore ” made! And right to take action against it, it resulted in her death and contemporary literary.! Own way abigail ROKISON WOODALL: let ’ s earliest performances, audiences responded sympathetically to ’. Male dominance click an icon to Log in: You are commenting using Facebook. Tragic end because she was oppressed by Othello as a inferior also evident in following. Concepts: Terms in this set ( 27 ) a manifestation of love... 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Not given an equal status as that of man but here ’ s fatal flaw was his.. Childlike, gentle and pure in heart male dominant society the quotes I found most helpful include. Gentle Desdemona in Othello from a feminist perspective let me live tonight ''! A critical analysis of Desdemona will be explored later in these notes decisions of their lives are real! She tried to take action against it, it is also evident in following! With all respect, laid her case in front of her society of violence since Othello not.