Desdemona is a tragic character in Shakespeare’s Othello. She is married to the Moorish general Othello, and she is falsely accused of adultery by her husband’s ensign, Iago. Desdemona is ultimately killed by Othello in a fit of jealous rage.
While Desdemona is not the play’s protagonist, she is a central figure in the tragedy. Her unjust death at the hands of her husband highlights the themes of jealousy and betrayal that run throughout the play. As a victim of these forces, Desdemona serves as a symbol of innocence destroyed by the darker impulses of human nature.
To what extent is Desdemona presented as a tragic victim in Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’? Desdemona, the daughter of Venetian senator Brabantio, is enthralled by Othello’s tales of valor as a warrior and falls in love with him. In light of the fact that Desdemona is a “fair” woman and Othello is “an old black ram,” commonly known as “the Moor,” their marriage suggests her destiny may be tragic.
From the beginning of the play, Desdemona is seen as a victim. When Othello is appointed by the Duke of Venice to be the commander of the army in Cyprus, he asks Desdemona to go with him and she readily agrees, despite her father’s protests. Her love for Othello is so great that she is willing to leave her home and family behind. However, this decision leads to her tragic downfall.
Desdemona arrives in Cyprus and provides Othello with much needed support during the Turkish invasion, even though she is scared. When Othello starts to doubt his wife’s fidelity, she remains loyal and tries to prove her love for him. However, due to the machinations of Iago, Othello starts to believe that Desdemona is having an affair with his lieutenant, Cassio.
Othello’s increasing jealousy and suspicion drive him to smother Desdemona in their bed, despite her pleas of innocence. In the end, when Othello realizes he has been deceived by Iago, he kills himself, leaving Desdemona as the ultimate victim of the tragedy.
While it could be argued that Desdemona is partly responsible for her own death due to her naivete and gullibility, it is clear that she is primarily a victim of circumstance. Her love for Othello leads her into a situation where she is powerless and she ultimately pays the ultimate price with her life.
In ‘Othello,’ Desdemona is depicted as a brave young woman who is used against her in order to have her murdered. The irony of the situation is that the very qualities of her personality that make her a good person resulted in her downfall.
Desdemona is a victim because she is an honest person who believes in the goodness of others. She also does not see the manipulative side of people and their ulterior motives.
Desdemona’s tragic flaw is her innocence and trusting nature. The audience knows from the beginning that Iago is not to be trusted, but Desdemona remains oblivious to his plotting and deception. Iago uses her naïveté against her, feeding her false information about Cassio and Othello in order to turn them against each other. He takes advantage of her good nature, knowing that she will not suspect his true intentions.
While it could be argued that Desdemona shares some responsibility for her own death, as she does not take the time to truly understand Iago’s character, it is ultimately her innocence and trust that lead to her downfall. She is manipulated and used as a pawn in Iago’s scheme, with tragic consequences.
Desdemona does not begin as a victim. She exhibited a degree of bravery by pointing out to her father that she sees “a divided duty” in his actions. Desdemona was brave enough to defy her father’s orders and take control of her life as a teenager, reminding him, “I am still your daughter, but this is my spouse,” thus giving him all the obligation he once expected from her mother.
Nevertheless, her father disowns her for going against him. From this moment on, Desdemona is alone in the world with no one to turn to and she becomes a victim.
Desdemona’s marriage is not a happy one as her husband Othello is incredibly jealous. This jealousy eventually leads to Othello murdering his wife. In the play, Shakespeare presents Desdemona as a victim due to the fact that she is an obedient wife who does not deserve the pain and suffering that she goes through at the hands of her husband. This can be seen when Othello says to Emilia, “She was false as water”, demonstrating that he believes his wife has been unfaithful to him. However, Desdemona has in fact been completely loyal to Othello and has never given him any reason to doubt her fidelity.
The audience feels sympathy for Desdemona as she does not deserve the cruel treatment that she receives from Othello. She is a victim of his jealousy and suspicion and ultimately pays the ultimate price with her life. Shakespeare presents Desdemona as a victim in order to create a tragic story in which the audience can feel empathy for the characters.
A brave face is revealed in her response to her father, with a hero’s gracefulness. Prejudice against the poor social class was widespread throughout society in ‘Othello.’ Racist abuse is present in Iago’s discussions with Roderigo early in the play, where Othello is called “an abuser of the world” who “practiced on her with foul charms” regarding his race and sexual relationship with Desdemona.
This would have been a shocking thing to hear in the Elizabethan era as people were very prejudiced. Othello is a tragic hero and because of his low self-esteem, he is easily manipulated by Iago’s words. “I am not what I am,” says Othello. This quotation demonstrates how he feels about himself in relation to Desdemona. He doesn’t feel that he deserves her and this makes him susceptible to Iago’s brainwashing.
Desdemona can be seen as a victim because she is trapped in a society which doesn’t accept her relationship with Othello. She is also trapped by her father’s will, as she is forced to marry someone she doesn’t love. Desdemona is a victim of circumstance but she also has a heroic quality about her. She chooses to stand by Othello despite the prejudice and hatred directed towards them both. Her bravery is admirable and she ultimately pays the price for her love with her life.