In William Shakespeare’s Othello Michael Cassio’s praises of the richly blessed Desdemona, as he awaits her arrival on Cyprus, are well deserved. This essay will amply support this statement.
Blanche Coles in Shakespeare’s Four Giants interprets the protagonist’s very meaningful four-word greeting to Desdemona which he utters upon disembarking in Cyprus:
Othello’s four words, “O, my soul’s joy,” tell us that this beautiful Venetian girl has brought great joy, felicity, bliss to the very depths of his soul. This exquisitely beautiful love that has come to a thoughtful, earnest man is indescribably impressive. For him it is heaven on earth. And all the while, almost within arm’s length, stands Iago, the embodiment of evil, like the serpent in the Garden of Eden. (87)
In Act 1 Scene1, Iago persuades the rejected suitor of Desdemona, Roderigo, to accompany him to the home of Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, in the middle of the night. Once there the two awaken him with loud shouts about his daughter’s elopement with Othello. In response to Iago’s vulgar descriptions of Desdemona’s involvement with the general, Brabantio arises from bed and, with Roderigo’s help, gathers a search party to go and find Desdemona and bring her home. The father’s attitude is that life without his Desdemona will be much worse than before:
It is too true an evil: gone she is;
And what's to come of my despised time
Is nought but bitterness. (1.1)
So obviously the senator has great respect for his daughter, or at least for the comforts which she has afforded him up the beginning of the play. This respect is shared by her new husband Othello, who ...
... middle of paper ...
... You told a lie, an odious, damned lie;
Upon my soul, a lie, a wicked lie.
She false with Cassio! (5.2)
Then she accuses him of causing murder: “And your reports have set the murder on.” Emilia’s stunning interrogation and conviction of her own husband as the evil mastermind behind the murder results in Iago’s murder of her. Gullible Othello, grief-stricken by remorse for the tragic mistake he has made, stabs himself and dies on the bed next to his wife, his sorrow being as deep as his love for Desdemona prior to Iago’s machinations.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos.
Coles, Blanche. Shakespeare’s Four Giants. Rindge, New Hampshire: Richard Smith Publisher, 1957.
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