‘Typically in a text where a husband believes his wife to be unfaithful, it I often resulting from the influence of a third party’
In light if this views, discuss how Shakespeare presents the relationship between Othello and Desdemona in this extract and elsewhere in the play.
Shakespeare’s portrayal of an unconventional marriage which many would view as ahead of his time to It could be argued that the relationship between Othello and Desdemona’s is ill fated from the beginning.
This may be due to Barbantio not accepting their eloped marriage because of Othello being a black man. The contemporary audience would immediately view this relationship as an illicit love affair due to Othello’s exotic character which would be very rare to come across in the Elizabethan era. Brabantio uses manipulation skilfully disguised as advice in an attempt to separate them.in act scene 1 scene three he states ‘look to her moor, if thou hast eyes to see; she has deceived her father and may thee.
’ Here Shakespeare portrays a father who seeks vengeance on his daughter for betrayal and disobedience. The use of the word ‘deceived’ is rather misguided as Desdemona chose love instead of blindly obeying her father. However this foreshadows to when Othello looks back at what went wrong in his relationship and it could be implied that Brabantio could be viewed as a small indication of a third party influence, which reinforces the idea that the relationship between Othello and Desdemona is doomed from the beginning. Shakespeare’s plays often taught morals and suggested by critic Dr Johnson (1998) he highlighted that Shakespeare is trying to share ‘a very useful moral, not to make an un equal match.’ In this case Othello being a black solider suggesting this unequal match will lead to a tragic fate.
Shakespeare portrays Othello and Desdemona’s relationship as secure and loving due to Othello coming across as a strong character. But this could change, due to Othello’s deep rooted insecurities of him being black in a white just society as factors on why he could believe that his wife is being unfaithful. In act one scene three Othello completes the story of his courtship he says ‘she loved me for the dangers I had passed and, I love d her that she did pity them. This expresses that there love is real and Desdemona loved him for who he was and his past history rather than his social status and financial stability. She looked past his colour. This could infer that there is more to Othello and Desdemona relationship. Shakespeare’s repeated use of ‘loved’ twice reflects the intense emotion they feel for one another and mirrors a pairing because he indicates that the their love is mutual. Further here Othello is speaking to people of high status with such confidence which proves here his colour doesn’t affect his proud position and he reinforces himself that his relationship with Desdemona at this point is secure.
However further in the play the third party influence iago tells him his wife is cheating and by Othello somewhat believing this then questioning himself suggests that Othello isn’t quite the strong character he was portrayed himself to be. This sharp contrast is shown in Othello’s soliloquy in act three scene three where his diction reveals his deep insecurities of his colour and ideas of marriage. He states ‘haply for I am black’ At This moment we see Othello’s character disintegrate into one who has lost himself due to manipulation. As he is considering that his colour and exotic background is what puts him at a disadvantage, and this is why might give a reason for his wife to be unfaithful and it is evident that Othello’s colour is not accepted in typical venetian society and he’s only accepted due to his hard work and earnt position. Shakespeare’s further use of ‘black’ juxtaposes to the ‘fair’ Desdemona who has many suitors and could further reinforce the idea why he might believe his wife to be unfaithful.
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