Literary Essay Sample: Desdemona's Symbolic Presence in Othello

Published: 2022-05-27
Literary Essay Sample: Desdemona's Symbolic Presence in Othello
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Shakespeare Othello Dramatic literature
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1654 words
14 min read

In the story, Desdemona's handkerchief is identified to be holding a serious amount of symbolic meaning as revealed in Othello. Generally in Act III scene four, what comes out clearly is that Othello understands and he is operating in the knowledge that Desdemona is no longer owning a handkerchief and he has made up his mind through the gift that he provided to her earlier that she must be involved in an this scene, the history of the scene is narrated to Desdemona and focusing on how the handkerchief first changed ownership, it is identified to have been first owned by an Egyptian sorceress who transferred the ownership to his mother speaking good words to the handkerchief that it would work on keeping her husband faithful and also ensuring that he looked desirable all the way out. It is important to note that just before Othello's mother passed away, what transpired was that she passed the handkerchief on the floor and uttered important words that demonstrated a significant promise. The handkerchief is a great symbol since her mother told him that the handkerchief was supposed only supposed to give to the woman that he will one day marry.

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Through the handkerchief, we can clearly tell that it represented the Othello's mixed Venetian and Christian heritage. Through the handkerchief, it also demonstrates a great symbol of chastity and loyalty at the same time since what transpired before was that Desdemona had much earlier lost it and he was living with the belief that she is cheating on him with Cassio and she was not loyal at all. However, to Desdemona, the handkerchief is generally serving as a symbol of Othello 's love and that moment that she lost the handkerchief, the only way she could act was to just act as if she had just misplaced it. Generally, the handkerchief served as one symbol of manipulation and through the handkerchief, it initiated one driving aspect that served his evil plot.

Additionally, the handkerchief was quite symbolic and it served as a symbol of virginity since the dyes were actually removed from virgin mummies hearts. Being that it was woven with the red dye of the strawberries, it's generally a total symbol that the bloodstains that would be left on the sheets created a great association with virginity.

Through the handkerchief, it is important to note the fact that it operated as a symbol of the mysterious past that Othello was having and his general exoticness. "He demonstrated to Desdemona that one great Egyptian charmer provided it to his mother and that his father was to be kept under the great spell". The tragedy of Othello originates from the plight of women. Ideally, men have created perceptions about women which define their role in the society. The play written by Shakespeare presents the readers with a male-dominated society where females have to face difficult times. There are many complex issues in the play but one of the critical issues is victimization of women in the male-dominated society. The role of Desdemona in the play illustrates how women are treated.

Desdemona is treated as a possession. As Othello's wife, she is treated as a possession. The husband implies that Desdemona is a commodity that should be guarded and transported. The first senator wishes Othello all the best in his marriage with Desdemona and concludes by expressing his hope that the husband will use her well. The word "use" in this context illustrates the act of looking after but on the contrary, acknowledges Venetian exploitation of women and the belief that they should be submissive to their husbands who are at will to use them anyhow. Othello's words in Act II, insinuate that marriage is all about the purchase and not love. This is demonstrated in the statement "Come, my dear love,/ The purchase made, the fruits are to ensure". The perception of women as procession is also demonstrated in Lago wishes to be equated with Othello, wife for the wife in revenge of his supposed act.

Desdemona symbolizes the submissive role of women. She is regarded as an awful embodiment of oppressed women by some modern feminist critics. This is evident in her own statement that she is obedient. Throughout the play, she obeys Othello's orders throughout their relationship without question. Towards the Act IV, she is ordered by her husband to retire to bed and she submissively replies, 'I will, my lord'. Even in her last breath Desdemona remains loyal to her husband and says, 'Commend me to my kind lord'. This alone shows that she is completely comfortable with her role and an obedient and subordinate wife.

One major symbol that is broadly used in the play is the handkerchief that is gifted to Desdemona through Othello. Generally, handkerchief as a symbolism is formed part and parcel of the best means in which light is shed in the serious message of innocence lost. This is demonstrated in the part of the play where Othello realized that Desdemona had lost the handkerchief ending up to make a general change in how the storyline flowed. The first thing that happens after this is that Desdemona is in the great problem and suspicicision is rising that she might be having an affair.

Additionally, the willow son song that Desdemona sang is a total expression of symbolism and this is identified through the song lyrics. Focusing on the song, it is identified to be revealing the serious meaning on the existing melancholy that has actually been shared between Desdemona and Othello. Focusing on the deeper understanding, act four and scene three in the play, it is important to recognize the fact that Othello had accused Desdemona of committing adultery and she is left worried and left living in fear about everything that took place in the past. The best way that Desdemona could express her feeling was through singing and this provided a better opportunity for the audience to make the audience understand her expression through a song by making use of a specific role. Through the lyrics, it was a clear expression that an individual has changed from the general feeling of happiness to melancholy. The song goes "The poor soul sat by the sycamore tree, sing all a green willow." Through the message delivered by the song, it was totally clear that Desdemona was not okay and she expressed total anger and through the song lyrics.

Considering the role of Desdemona, what transpired is that Desdemona is one faithful wife in the story.she is identified to be well endowed with beauty. Playing the role of a faithful wife, the general result of not living to trust your partner is identified through handkerchief which made a great symbolism. Being that the handkerchief was the major symbol that connected the relationship, it is important to note that the moment Othello realized that Desdemona was not having the handkerchief, he felt betrayed and the feeling that she was cheating on him. Technically, without a significant symbol, one is not capable of gaining the general understanding at the same level on the higher level of trust that Othello invested in n Desdemona. Because handkerchief which I a great symbol lead to the breaking of trust and can hence lead to the breaking of strong families just because of a handkerchief which I just a piece of cloth.

In the play, Desdemona also symbolizes women as temptresses. Most of the times when she is talking to her husband, he always seems obsessed with her sexuality. Othello is cited severally lamenting over Desdemona's past infidelity. He even states that it would have been better if the entire camp had tasted her sweet body. On his way to kill his wife, he states that 'Thy bed, lust-stained, shall with lust's blood be spotted'. This illustrates the husbands drawn attention to sensual matters that is partially driven by his wife's sexual power. Ironically, Cassio refers to Desdemona as a great captain implying that she has power and control over Othello. Desdemona uses her sexuality and position to negotiate the reinstatement of Cassion by Othello.

Desdemona's presence in Othello symbolizes women as whores. Her husband's suspicion of her sexuality often erupts into slanderous abuse. Othello refers to her wife as a 'subtle whore' and a 'cunning whore' in addition to several other insults of adultery. Emilia and Bianca are also accused of inappropriate sexual conduct yet it is clear that not of them is guilty. It appears that when things are not okay with men in Cyprus women take the blame and end up being labeled inappropriate names.

According to the patriarchal Venetian society presented in the play, women have been pushed to the limit. Men perceive women as handkerchiefs and possessions that should remain submissive and loyal at all times. Sexual power is the only thing women hold against men. However, it is still regarded as an evil that needs to be resisted. The character Desdemona is a representation of the plight of women in Othello. Women intellectual ability has been suppressed by the male-dominated society.

Conclusively, through The tragedy of Othello, it is important to note that it originates from the plight of women. Ideally, men have created perceptions about women which define their role in the society. The play written by Shakespeare presents the readers with a male-dominated society where females have to face difficult times. There are many complex issues in the play but one of the critical issues is victimization of women in the male-dominated society. The role of Desdemona in the play illustrates how women are treated. From the relationship that is existing between men and women, one can finalize that the Othello tragedy by Shakespeare is viewed to be making use of symbolism in the play so as to drive sense and to create a better expression and even a deeper message of the text.

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