In Shakespeare’s Othello, the main characters suffer a tragic demise at the end. While it is clear that somebody is to blame for the unfortunate events, the main culprit behind the tragedy remains unclear. Three different authors, the humanists Baldassare Castiglione, Juan Luis Vives, and the Puritan preacher William Whately would all disagree on which character is to blame. While Castiglione would put Iago at fault for his misogynistic words and actions, Vives would say that Brabantio is the one to blame for his lack of control over his daughter Desdemona, and Whately would argue that Othello could have avoided this whole ordeal through forgiveness. While these different writers have good arguments for their side, Vives has the strongest argument. The tragedy carried out in Othello would have never occurred if Brabantio played his role as a father and stopped Desdemona from doing whatever she wanted. Had Brabantio played the role of a good father, he would have had Desdemona’s elopement annulled, which would have inhibited Iago from manipulating Othello.
Baldassare Castiglione would defend Desdemona based on interpretations in his work The Book of the Courtier. In The Book of the Courtier, Castiglione speaks of the duties and traits of an ideal noble woman. One of the things that Castiglione mentions that a perfect woman should have is a “ready liveliness of wit” (Castiglione 269). In addition, the ideal lady should have “a certain sweetness in language that may delight, whereby she may gently entertain all types of men with talk worth the hearing, and honest” (Castiglione 269). Such women are expected to speak to men besides their husbands and to “entertain… m...
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While the three authors, Baldassare Castiglione, Juan Luis Vives, and William Whately all would have very good arguments as to who is most at fault in Othello, Vives’ would be the strongest. Vives’ points would be the strongest due to him using other sources to support his work, and for pointing out that Brabantio should have taken more care into his daughter’s well being. Brabantio neglects Desdemona allowing her to easily escape and elope with Othello. While some of his points are a little extreme in that they view women as property, Brabantio still should have performed his duty as a father and watched over Desdemona. However, Brabantio does the opposite and basically sets up the stage for Iago to use Desdemona for his gain, and to get hamed. Had Brabantio have been a good father, Othello’s tragic ending would have never occurred in the manner that it did.
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