To What Extent Is Desdemona Presented as a Tragic Victim in Othello?

1496 Words Apr 14th, 2011 6 Pages
To what extent is Desdemona presented as a tragic victim in the play ‘Othello’?
Desdemona, the daughter of Venetian senator Brabantio, is captivated by Othello’s fables of bravery as a warrior and she falls in love with him. In view of the fact that Desdemona is a “fair” woman and Othello is “an old black ram”, commonly referred to as ‘the Moor’, their marriage indicates that her fate might be tragic. In ‘Othello’, Desdemona is portrayed as a courageous young woman whose character is used against her in plotting her death. The particularly unfortunate event is the irony that the very qualities of her personality that make her a good woman defeated her.

Evidently, Desdemona does not start off as a victim. She in fact had an aspect of
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Her response was brave, thus allowing her to stand above the position of women in society. Despite Desdemona’s bravery about her relationship, Brabantio’s remark to Othello that Desdemona “has deceived her father and may thee” indicates a disastrous event in the future and it recurs in Act 3 Scene 3 when Iago says “she did deceive her father, marrying” Othello.

Shakespeare introduces a couple with innocent love and at the same time, he introduces a malcontent who seeks revenge, metaphorically disguising himself as an honest person, thus bringing Desdemona to her tragic fall. There is dramatic irony as the audience know Iago’s true intentions through his soliloquys and the couple deem Iago a fellow of “exceeding honesty”. Desdemona’s downfall begins when Iago proceeds to “abuse Othello’s ear” as he is “too familiar” with his wife.
He then reveals his plan to convince Othello that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio.

Cassio speaks of Desdemona with utmost respect and admiration, referring to her as “the riches of the ship”, but as pleasant as this appears. “I thank you, valiant Cassio”, replies Desdemona, showing a mutual respect between both characters. Yet again, Shakespeare makes use of dramatic irony when Cassio thanks “honest Iago” but the audience know of Iago’s skilful plan that initiates tragedy. “Be thou assured, good Cassio, I will do all my abilities in thy behalf”, Desdemona assures him just as Iago exclaims “Ha! I like not

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