Shakespeare's Othello - Desdemona the Ideal Essay

Shakespeare's Othello - Desdemona the Ideal Essay

Length: 2127 words (6.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Desdemona the Ideal  

    What wife can compare to the ideal wife which the Bard of Avon has painted for us in his tragedy Othello? She is appreciated by everyone except the villain.


Angela Pitt in “Women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies” comments on Desdemona as the ideal wife:


Handbooks of the period explain in some detail what is required of the ideal wife, and Desdemona seems to fulfill even the most conservative expectation. She is beautiful and also humble:


A maiden never bold

Of spirit so still and quiet that her motion

Blushed at herself. (I.iii.)


Her concern for Cassio shows her generosity, for she will intercede for him with Othello. She is wise, and also a ‘true and loving’ wife – ‘the sweetest innocent that e’er did lift up eye’. (44-45)


David Bevington in William Shakespeare: Four Tragedies describes the depth of virtue within this tragic heroine:


We believe her [Desdemona] when she says that she does not even know what it means to be unfaithful; the word “whore” is not in her vocabulary. She is defenseless against the charges brought against her because she does not even comprehend them, cannot believe that anyone would imagine such things. Her love, both erotic and chaste, is of that transcendent wholesomeness common to several late Shakespearean heroines [. . .]. Her “preferring” Othello to her father, like Cordelia’s placing her duty to a husband before that to a father, is not ungrateful but natural and proper. (221)


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,” tel...

... middle of paper ...

...mind 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.




Bevington, David, ed. William Shakespeare: Four Tragedies. New York: Bantam Books, 1980.


Coles, Blanche. Shakespeare’s Four Giants. Rindge, New Hampshire: Richard Smith Publisher, 1957.


Pitt, Angela. “Women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Shakespeare’s Women. N.p.: n.p., 1981.


Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. No line nos.



Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Analysis Of Shakespeare 's Othello By William Shakespeare

- Essentially, a troubled mind is indicative of distress and one’s anger is directed at others for not understanding their situation (“Troubled”). In the play Othello by William Shakespeare, there is emphasis on the depiction of troubled minds between main characters, Othello and Iago, and their actions as a result of their distress. The poems by Carol Ann Duffy such as “Education for Leisure” encompasses the perspective of a condescending speaker, while “Stealing” portrays a fellow seeking companionship....   [tags: William Shakespeare, Othello, Iago, Desdemona]

Powerful Essays
1374 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on Shakespeare's Othello - Othello and the Heroine, Desdemona

- Othello and the Heroine, Desdemona         In William Shakespeare’s tragic play Othello we see a very exceptional woman in the person of Desdemona, wife of the general. She, as Cassio says, is a “paragon” of virtues, unlike the other female characters in the drama.   H. S. Wilson in his book of literary criticism, On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy, discusses Desdemona’s entry into the Moor’s life:   But Othello had not known Desdemona long; he had little knowledge of women in any case; his military life had left scant time for cultivating their society or studying them, before he met Desdemona; and there was a bitter modesty in the man, who thought it quite possible that, for...   [tags: Othello essays]

Free Essays
1862 words (5.3 pages)

Shakespeare's Othello - Desdemona the Wonderful Essay

- Othello: Desdemona the Wonderful         The innocent and charming personality of the wife of the general in William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello can hardly be rivaled – and yet she died the victim of a horrible murder. Let’s consider her case in this essay.   Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar in “The Engaging Qualities of Othello” comment on the virtue within the innocent wife of the Moor, and how pain came into her life:   Desdemona is warmhearted, tender, faithful, and much in love with her husband....   [tags: Othello essays]

Powerful Essays
2434 words (7 pages)

Shakespeare's Othello - Pitied Desdemona Essay

- Othello and Pitied Desdemona         William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello sees the destruction of two very beautiful people because of a sinister intervention by a third. The most beautiful of all is the lovely and irreproachable Desdemona. Let us in this essay consider her character.   In her book, Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies, Maynard Mack comments on the heroine’s final song:   Desdemona, preparing for bed on the night that will be her last, remembers her mother’s maid “called Barbary”:   She was in love, and he she loved proved mad And did forsake her....   [tags: Othello essays]

Powerful Essays
1941 words (5.5 pages)

Othello, By William Shakespeare Essay

- Throughout Shakespeare’s Othello, the villainous character, Iago, is referred to as “honest” up to fourteen times throughout the play by its main characters The term is said by multiple characters throughout the play- including Othello, Cassio, Desdemona, and Iago himself- with Othello stating it the most. The term is clearly ironic because Iago is the complete opposite of honest. As the arch-villain, he lies, manipulates, and betrays others with his words and actions throughout the play. At times, it refers to chastity, the question of whether a woman is "honest" or whether she is promiscuous....   [tags: Othello, Iago, Michael Cassio, Desdemona]

Powerful Essays
1104 words (3.2 pages)

Othello 's Downfall Of Othello Essay

- Desdemona’s Downfall in Othello The Christian Bible tells us that “pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18 KJV). For Desdemona in William Shakespeare’s Othello, this is certainly true. Although Desdemona is innocent of the sins of which she is accused, she still bears responsibility for her own downfall. If not for Desdemona’s pride, she could have lived a long and happy life with Othello. From a psychological standpoint, Desdemona is ultimately responsible for her own demise because of her prideful nature....   [tags: Othello, Iago, Michael Cassio, Desdemona]

Powerful Essays
1737 words (5 pages)

The Flaws of Othello, Murderer of Desdemona Essay

- ... Unfortunately, none of these attributes pertains to his real self, rather, these are the aspects of his ideal-self he wishes to have. Othello did not love Desdemona enough; if Othello loved her, he should have given heed to Desdemona’s side of the story and defended his wife over all others. Yet, Othello performs none of these acts; he does not even listen to Desdemona when she adamantly tells him that the accusations are false. Othello also did succumb to jealousy very easily, showing that he is human and very much subjected to the weaknesses of human passion....   [tags: Shakespearean plays analysis]

Powerful Essays
1465 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on Shakespeare 's Othello - Role Of Women

- Matthew Foung English 3IB, 5 10.27.14 IB English 3 Individual Oral Presentation Othello: Role of Women Statement of intent: The role of women in William Shakespeare’s play Othello is portrayed through the behaviors and actions of Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca. William Shakespeare integrates his Elizabethan society to create the patriarchal Venetian society in the play. Women in his society were seen as inferior to the men. The three women play a significant role in different social stratification....   [tags: Iago, Othello, Woman, William Shakespeare]

Powerful Essays
1877 words (5.4 pages)

William Shakespeare's Presentation of Iago, Othello, and Desdemona in Othello

- William Shakespeare's Presentation of Iago, Othello, and Desdemona in Othello From the very beginning of the play ‘Othello’ Shakespeare presents the friendship between Iago and Othello as a lie. Shakespeare makes us see that Iago is only pretending to serve Othello for his own ends and following this on, Othello completely trusts Iago and is able to speak in confidence with him. All the way through the play, Shakespeare shapes the audiences response to make us want to like or dislike them, admire or have sympathy for them....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
822 words (2.3 pages)

William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- William Shakespeare's Othello A significant moment in Othello demonstrates the theme of binaries questioned in many of Shakespeare's works. Addressing the Duke and senators, Othello says: "Let her have your voice. Vouch with me heaven, I therefore beg it not To please the palate of my appetite, Nor to comply with heat--the young affects In me defunct--and proper satisfaction, But to be free and bounteous to her mind; And heaven defend your good souls that you think I will your serious and great business scant When she is with me....   [tags: William Shakespeare Othello Essays]

Powerful Essays
1446 words (4.1 pages)