Comparing Desdemona And Cordelia In Shakespeare's Othello

Amazing Essays
Shakespeare is known for his plethora of ingenious plays, however some of his best characters are the women in his plays. They are not carbon copies of each other and they have their own faults and virtues. The women in his plays can be either very typical women of the time or like Desdemona and Cordelia, be very forward-thinking women. Critics cannot look at these two characters and not have something to say about how these women act or how they do not act. These two are some of this author’s most favorite women in all of Shakespeare’s plays. While these women have their similarities they also have their differences. Desdemona cares very much about her father, however she goes behind his back to marry. Cordelia has yet to marry at the start …show more content…
Desdemona has a very different relationship with the men in her story than Cordelia has with hers. In the lines mentioned above, Desdemona is brave enough to stand up to her father and even partially rejects him in public, these words also establish for the audience her courage and her strength of conviction. This initial speech sets the tone for her character throughout the rest of the play. We see similar things between her and Othello. The difference between Desdemona and Cordelia are most prominent due to Desdemona’s problems surround Othello, her husband, and Cordelia’s surround her father. The ability she shows to separate different kinds of affection will make Desdemona seek, without hesitation, to help Cassio, thereby unknowingly fueling Othello’s jealousy. Desdemona shows throughout the play her strength and conviction. She understands all of the strains that have been placed on her various relationships and still holds true to her values. She begins the play as a notably independent person, but then midway through she must struggle against all odds to convince Othello that she is not too independent. As Othello beings to question her and her honesty, she remains true to her protests to his jealousy. We as an audience know that Desdemona has done no wrong, so we feel very empathetic towards her during this time in the play. However, she is not seeking empathy, she understands that sometimes the …show more content…
Cordelia loves Lear more than her sisters do, but because she is unable to “heave” her heart into her mouth, her integrity prevents her from making a false declaration in order to gain his wealth. Lear’s rage at what he expects to be her lack of affection sets the tragedy in motion. Cordelia’s refusal to flatter Lear, then, establishes her virtue and the authenticity of her love, while bringing about Lear’s dreadful error of judgment. Cordelia understands that her father, even though she may see him as a great man, even he has his faults. His rejection of her during the beginning of the play symbolizes the beginning of the end for their relationship. Cordelia is a strong enough woman that she knows when it is time to back away and let things go. She accepts his faults, and does not let his faults define her. She goes on the marry a man, who’s “goodness” matches her own. He accepts her despite her lack of a dowry because of her father’s rejection. King Lear’s actions though out the rest play and the way the other characters manipulate him gives the audience reason to begin to also accept his faults and begin to forgive him for them. In Act 4, we learn that Cordelia has also forgiven her father. We see their relationship begin to heal, which was only possible because of

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