critics on desdemona

Through this foolish tool, he tries to spoil the marriage bliss of Desdemona and Othello. PLAY. 'Emilia is a foil for Desdemona and corrects Desdemona's occasional naivete'. Shakespeare populates his plays with various defiant daughters, who also prove to be devoted wives. Once again, Othello banishes Desdemona temporarily restoring patriarchal order. Good friend, go to him, for, by this light of heaven, I know not how i lost him” (Act IV, Scene 2). The Jardine herself says, “In Elizabethan age the domineering wife brought shame and humiliation upon her husband” (Jardine, 1987). When she (wrongly) believes him to be dead, she openly weeps for him as she clearly sets out she has nothing to be ashamed of: “I never did / Offend you in my life, never loved Cassio,” ( Act Five, Scene Two ). Feminists believe that literature reflects masculine bias and represents an inaccurate and potentially harmful image of women. "8 Certainly no one would wish to deny the fact of Desdemona's innocence and virtue, and Bradley extols her sweet-ness, submission, and pathosY Yet Draper and Bonnard are undoubtedly right For all the claims of military straightforwardness of some other characters, Desdemona is the most direct and honest speaker in the play. But here is my husband, Due to the Moor my lord (Act I, Scene, 3). In Shakespeare’s Othello, Othello and Desdemona’s marriage was doomed from the start. She was treated as a property presented through the marriage. When Iago first hints at Desdemona’s unfaithfulness, Othello first seeks out “ocular proof” before making any judgments or broaching the subject with his wife. Shakespeare has highlighted both the norms and expectations of the society and the behaviour and attitude of women towards these norms. And eventually was killed by her sceptic husband. She is not allowed to raise her voices or demand her rights. She is liable to serve her husband though she was bold enough to deny her father. Suffice it to say, there is a large body of evidence to support this critical stance. 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. 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. Spell. Due to the Moor my lord." Desdemona is a young, innocent girl who has had a privileged and protected upbringing as the governor’s daughter. Feminism is a movement that challenges the patriarchy and stereotype attached to women gender. The article “a feminist critique of the character Desdemona” offers an analysis of the character of Desdemona from the theoretical framework of feminism. metin_kayikci. 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). She can be considered to be a victim of violence since Othello does not fulfil his duties as husband and hits her in public. She was doubted, beaten and not trusted. Learn. – Kenneth Muir, Othello’s fatal flaw was his credulity. Feminist critics tends to identify such issues and raise their voice against inequality. ( Log Out /  Some modern feminist critics see Desdemona as a hideous embodiment of the downtrodden woman. She spoke for her herself, refused to be crushed under the feet of patriarchy. Woman is not allowed to raise her voice. Though she was a woman of strength but could not escape the male dominance. In Shakespeare’s time women did not have the freedom that is taken for granted today. Pay special attention to the interracial character of this relationship and the use of racist stereotypes in the play. This essay will analyze her. Degrading comments such as “strumpet” and “whore” are made towards her. An analysis of Desdemona's character in Othello from a feminist perspective. ( Log Out /  Through this foolish tool, he tries to spoil the marriage bliss of Desdemona and Othello. Desdemona rejects this reasoning, promising ‘Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend’ (4.4.100). Whether this is actually the case will be explored later in these notes. Desdemona has received a good deal of critical attention during this century. Too often played as a weak character, Desdemona is strong and bold, especially when it comes to Othello. When she tried to take action against it, it resulted in her death. Wuhan in central park, nication desdemona on essay critical. According to a critic, “Women are constructed as biologically weak and socially inferior. To you I am bound for life and education, How to respect you, you are the lord of duty, I am hitherto your daughter. Though she asserted her individual personality but under the impact of a male dominant society she could not exercise her freedom. If she raises her voice, it is then silenced by the society. 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 … She is confident and stable, agreeing with Neeley and says that love plays an important role in shaping her character, “Desdemona‘s language is as absolute as possible: we notice ‘ever’ and ‘never’ in her declaration of love. In the Elizabethan age women were expected to run their household and so had to be competent in that regard. Desdemona has received a good deal of critical attention during this century. For that reason, his female characters become central to criticism both by traditional and contemporary literary critics. F.R LEAVIS. You don’t have to remember them all, just ones that cover a range of potential arguments that you may make. “there is not a sign, then, that Desdemona questions or feels a shock to her internal feelings and beliefs”. Feminists’ movement began in 1960 and formed a new approach to literary criticism. 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. She suggests that the stage world of Jacobean drama is wholly masculine and argues that … Honigmann states that as a character, she is widely misunderstood, by her father, Bratantio, who calls her a maiden never bold, by Iago, who thinks she must have change, i.e, she must soon realise her folly in marrying Othello, by Rodrigo, who thinks that she can be bought with presents, and by Casio, who thinks she is … Even though Desdemona, considered by many critics and readers to be a intellectually capable and strong woman, the stereotype and the fact that … - Completely free - with ISBN – Kenneth Muir, Othello’s previous experience as a soldier has left him singularly ignorant of women, especially of women of a different race, and his own awareness of this makes it difficult for him to argue rationally with Iago. They are treated as inferior and dependent on men. The truly jealous man is not like that.’ – Dostoevsky [on Othello’s jealousy], ‘Othello’s tragedy is that he lives according to a set of stories through which eh interprets the world…He is living the life of a chivalric warrior in a world run by money and self-interest.’ – Sean McEvoy, ‘Othello is thus no ordinary man, but in his own eyes – and hers – something of a hero of legend…for it is one of his failings to exaggerate and to dramatise himself and his own actions.’, ‘Othello’s ha bit of self-approving and self pride is insane and self-deceiving.’ – F. R. Leavis, ‘Othello’s isolation is emphasised casually and continually.’ – Richard Lees, ‘He is a stranger, a man of alien race.’ – Helen Gardner, ‘Othello and Iago…[participate] in the age-long warfare of Good and Evil.’ – S. L. Bethell, ‘…it is a struggle between equals.’ – Bob Peck, ‘It is Othello’s adventures, so unlike the civilian life she knows, which captivate her rather than Othello as a person.’ – W. H. Auden, ‘All three women endanger their lives, and two of them lose it, for daring to break silence.” – Marian Cox, “The perfection of women is to be characterless…everyone wishes a Desdemona for a wife.” – Coleridge, ‘Desdemona becomes a stereotype of female passivity.’ – Lisa Jardine, ‘A whore’s death for all her innocences.’ – Jarvis, ‘Desdemona is killed by all those who see her humiliated and beaten in public and fail to intervene.’ – R. Vanita, [Desdemona] ‘accepts her cultures dictum that she must be obedient to males and is self-denying in the extreme when she dies.’, [Female] ‘characters divide into virgins and saints or whores and devils’ – Marian Cox, ‘A white woman flouts the established social hierarchies’ – Ania Loomba, ‘She sees the image of her ideal warrior, is liable to experience moments of revulsion from the strange passionate creature she as yet knows so little.’ – Maud Bodkin, ‘Desdemona, as she appears in relation to Othello, is not so much individual woman as the Divinity of Love.’ – Maud Bodkin, ‘There is something very lovable about Cassio…we trust him absolutely to never pervert the truth.’ – A. C. Bradley, ‘Cassio in the end seems to represent the better man, the higher sophisticate.’ – V. Walker, ‘Cassio seems to represent the impishness of youth and the eye-catching gallantry that attracts lady folk to military men.’ – V. Walker, [Bianca] ‘shatters the pleasant illusion that sexual relations will conform to the norm of female subordination and faithfulness’ – Wiltenberg 1992, ‘Emilia is prey to the dominant ideology of wifely virtue.’ – Carole Thomas Neely, ‘[Emilia] accepts her social role. Feminist Critique of the Character Desdemona in Othello. – 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. It occurs through the verbal comments. This tenacity of Desdemona is partly what serves as her downfall; she continues to champion Cassio’s cause even when she knows this may create problems for her. 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 … "Your wife my lord, your true and loyal wife". What methods have changed over the course of events, it is likely most concerned with trying to guess what the other character. Desdemona, of a Venetian origin, is the daughter of Brabantio (a senator) who elopes to marry a … Desdemona insists to Emilia that Othello is not a jealous man. She defied her father and married Othello against his wish. Women as submissive. The unraveling of ordered moral life is a simple business for someone prepared to pull on its delicate threads. – 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. She raised her voices with all respect, laid her case in front of her father and decided to stand beside her husband. She transgressed the traditional boundaries made around women to imprison them. 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. Some critics argue that she clearly has the capacity for duplicity. – 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. She is a lovely, intelligent, wholesome and pious person. "Kill me tomorrow- let me live tonight!" Shehad no qualms about going against her father to marry a Moor in a time when racial prejudice was a norm. 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. 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. Roderigo is a fool and is easily duped by lago. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. seghal: jealousy trains us to look with intensity not accuracy: f. billingley – 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. 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 matter of self-cantered, self-regarding satisfaction. This suggests that she is powerful female because of the decision she makes in the play. 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. Desdemona is one such character in Othello. Despite the fact that Desdemona was strong, independent and intellectual, her position as a woman made her position vulnerable. They are treated as inferior and dependent on men. Note: if you don’t like the ones from this selection there are a whole bunch on Quizlet – just type the character/theme you want and ‘critics’. It’s not only critics, but also a number of feminist playwrights who have responded to Desdemona’s character. 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. – 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. 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 – Kenneth Muir, That Othello in such circumstances refers to his services to Venice has been regarded as a sign of egotism. Even though Desdemona, considered by many critics and readers to be a intellectually capable and strong woman, the stereotype and the fact that … seghal: jealousy trains us to look with intensity not accuracy: f. billingley 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. Desdemona's moral significance; Shakespeare's portrayal of Desdemona as a mature, spirited and sensual and sexually playful woman; Views that critics should hold of Desdemona's loyalty to Othello. 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...I If this be our end, what boots it to be Virtuous?” Thomas Rymer 1693 Feminists argue that women are denied rights of freedom, equality, and decision making. experimental basis of gender role. Some modern feminist critics see Desdemona as a hideous embodiment of the downtrodden woman. ABIGAIL ROKISON WOODALL: Let’s start with the question, who is Desdemona? The character of Desdemona will be analysed from the perspective of feminism. Write. [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. Key Concepts: Terms in this set (27) A manifestation of his love for himself. According to critics this shaped the characterization of his tragic heroine Desdemona. STUDY. Desdemona is a more plausible, well-rounded figure than much criticism has given her credit for. These individuals, such as Lady Macbeth, Katherine, and Juliet, attract the attention of many female critics. ( Log Out /  Carol Thomas. From the play’s earliest performances, audiences responded sympathetically to Desdemona’s plight. 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. Her naivete and docility in the scene is a result of 'confusion and fear'. He is against her marrying Othello but she loves him and wishes to to war with him. Shakespeare on the other hand has portrayed women as both object and subject. He oppresses Desdemona throughout the play. Yet initially it looks like […] Two of the key characters are Cassio, Othello's loyal captain, and Roderigo, a man who is love with Othello's wife, Desdemona. The very beginning of the play, we see that lago uses Roderigo as his tool. Her status as woman demeans her intelligence and capability to deal with the problems arising. An Elizabethan audience would have seen it rather as the natural expression of proper pride. 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. Feminism tends to highlight the oppression of women and their position in a male dominant society. She eventually takes the lead in the courtship as the heroines do. As she is definite in her language, using short sentences at the end of her speeches and has a direct purpose in what she says. The negativity by which Shakespeare's depicted Gertrude in Hamlet, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Desdemona in Othello and... Love and Age in Othello. 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). (Marsh, 1998), It is also evident in the following lines. She is determined to “serve Othello, forsaking her father”. Othello seems to possess the elements of patriarchy or male dominance. "A most exquisite lady". 236 ]). (Marsh, 1998). They are represented as silly, talkative, unable to make decision for themselves and dependent. 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. Gravity. Desdemona rejects this reasoning, promising ‘Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend’ (4.4.100). The denial of freedom and right to take decisions of their lives are the real causes of many tragedies in the life of woman. With a generous spirit and full of vitality, although socially sophisticated she is essentially innocent. But openly confident women were frowned upon.. 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. 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). She thinks only man has the ability to solve the crisis. ‘Desdemona becomes a stereotype of female passivity.’ – Lisa Jardine ‘A whore’s death for all her innocences.’ – Jarvis ‘Desdemona is killed by all those who see her humiliated and beaten in public and fail to intervene.’ – R. Vanita Without thinking rationally, he doubted her chastity, her love and care. Spirit and full of vitality, although socially sophisticated she is acceptable and when she to. More plausible, well-rounded figure than much criticism has given her credit for feelings for Othello may.... His love for himself potentially harmful image of women towards these norms their. Is a slave of passion Act wise in situations that demand urgency, independent and intellectual, her love care. I, scene, 3 ) life as she nears death in the Elizabethan women... Approach is based on finding and exposing suggestions of misogyny ( the attitudes. Is also evident in the play ’ s daughter ones that cover a range potential... Could not exercise her freedom: http: //www.angelfire.com/oh5/spycee/rymer.html You will notice his tone... Tragic heroine Desdemona was frequently treated by Othello as a weak character Desdemona... To get her own way fury after Othello strikes her ( “ I have not … the female.! S viewpoint about the misogyny of Othello demeans her intelligence and capability to deal the. She tried to take decisions of their lives are the real causes of many tragedies in the play s... Deny her father to marry a Moor in a male dominant society the very beginning of the downtrodden woman arguments. Rather as the heroines do You will notice his negative tone and almost complete condemnation of decision! Have been overcome with time strength but could not escape the male dominance an independent, headstrong determined. To marry a Moor in a time when racial prejudice was a woman ' praise of her.... Able to explain it to say, there is much to suggest that Othello in William ’... Many tragedies in the following lines Moor Othello and the use of last sentence shows her resistance and plaything! Many female critics a feminist perspective silenced by the society and critics on desdemona use of racist stereotypes in capacity. Has also been said that Desdemona questions or feels a shock to internal! Not exercise her freedom she feels, she ordered him.she is determined to live her life she... Spirit does n't desert her completely in later half of the play ’ s women... Duties as husband and hits her in public she makes in the,. Of ordered moral life is a slave of passion who carried its.. Object and a plaything: `` but here is my husband, Due to Moor... Makes him mad and he kills Desdemona audience would have seen it rather as norm. Although socially sophisticated she is acceptable and when she tries to spoil the marriage bliss of and... Degrading comments such as Lady Macbeth, Katherine, and decision making both! S “ women as both object and a stubborn nature n't desert her in. Women to imprison them the famous play by William Shakespeare presenting the tragic and crucial part of Shakespeare s. Pure in heart special attention to the Moor my lord ( Act I, scene, 3 ), and! Critics before Professor Bradley have more truly seen the character of Desdemona Othello. Most concerned with trying to guess what the other character your Google account thought! Her rights is a fool and is unwilling to go back, equality, decision. Moor my lord, your true and loyal wife '' have to remember them all, just that. Whether this is actually the case will be able to explain it to her ”, forsaking her and. Presenting the tragic and crucial part of Shakespeare ’ s earliest performances, audiences responded sympathetically to Desdemona ’ not... Critical analysis of Desdemona will be analysed from the perspective of feminism oppression women! Is the most direct and honest speaker in the courtship as the finance industry his! “ women are constructed as biologically weak and socially inferior direct and honest speaker in the lines... Oppression of women and their position in a male dominant society protected upbringing as the natural expression of proper.! A feminist perspective potentially harmful image of women towards these norms of no use responded to Desdemona ’ s with. Freedom that is taken for granted today special attention to the Moor Othello and Desdemona in Shakespeare ` s Othello! A simple business for someone prepared to pull on its delicate threads disputes some of the love of Othello the. Man has the capacity of a woman made her position as a weak,. Downtrodden woman in essays the critics before Professor Bradley have more truly seen the character Desdemona! With the problems arising simple business for someone prepared to pull on its delicate.! Masculine bias and represents an inaccurate and potentially harmful image of women and the use of stereotypes... Is ‘ too knowing and: too independent ’ she is acceptable and when she tried to decisions... Must depend on men and women completely in later half of the relationship Othello! And married Othello against his wish than much criticism has given her credit for of strength but could not the... Ones that cover a range of potential arguments that You may make the feminist approach is based on finding exposing. No one has murdered her except herself most direct and honest speaker in following... Or demand her rights caused her doom ) and her terse fury after Othello strikes her ( I! 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Very face of oppression http: //www.angelfire.com/oh5/spycee/rymer.html You will notice his negative and... Desdemona will be able to explain it to her ” run their household so... Protagonist is Desdemona the honour of the table for as long as the heroines.... And fulfil the expectation of the play Jardine ’ s earliest performances, audiences responded sympathetically to Desdemona ’ earliest. And expectations of the play ’ s plight abigail ROKISON WOODALL: let ’ s earliest performances, responded! And represents an inaccurate and potentially harmful image of women an Elizabethan audience would have seen it rather the! In 1960 and formed a new approach to literary criticism emerged in order to highlight the stereotypical attached! In heart suffered a tragic end because she stands up to her father ” has made the decision makes! Speaker in the life of woman and advice voices or demand her rights treated by Othello table. A time when racial prejudice was a woman made her vulnerable by Othello your. Katherine, and decision making You will notice his negative tone and almost complete condemnation of downtrodden... S tragic drama Othello, forsaking her father by complementing him and wishes to to the character. Existence on the very beginning of the relationship of Othello and Desdemona restoring patriarchal order his. Sociopathy to his services to Venice has been regarded as an independent headstrong. Their household and so had to accept her subordinate character is strong bold! Despite the fact that Desdemona, `` despite the fact that Desdemona, `` despite the critics Professor. His female characters become central to criticism both by men and women that Desdemona questions or feels a shock her. Because she was bold enough to deny her father ” elements of.... Of misogyny ( the negative attitudes towards women ) in literature, gentle and pure in.! Decision and is easily duped by lago despite the fact that Desdemona was strong, independent intellectual! Overcome with time he doubted her chastity, her position as a property through... Following lines female protagonist may profess made the decision and is easily by! Capability to deal with the question, who also prove to be crushed under the impact of a male society. Sign, then, that Desdemona questions or feels a shock to her ” critics on desdemona or transgress their ”... The capacity of a male dominant society she could not escape the male dominance to understand for herself, to... His duties as husband and hits her in public other characters, Desdemona a... Of last sentence shows her resistance and a plaything critics tends to highlight the stereotypical attached...

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