Conflict of Male Female Relationship in Othello
The Othello characters covered include: Othello, Desdemona, Iago, Michael her marriage, jesting bawdily with Iago, and responding with dignity to Othello's. All relationships have ups and downs, yet only the existence of love, trust, out with love but eventually turned to hate only on Othello's part. An examination of the relationship between Othello and Desdemona, and the racial element in Othello.
While Othello appears confident of her love for him in Act 1 deep down he is insecure in the relationship. He can't quite believe how happy he is that she loves him: If it were now to die, 'Twere now to be most happy; for I fear, My soul hath her content so absolute That not another comfort like to this Succeeds in unknown fate.
When Iago starts making vague suggestions of Cassio's untrustworthy nature Othello's confidence is knocked sideways very rapidly: This would point to him being more worried about his hurt pride than about the fact that she might not love him. Desdemona, unlike her husband, is not insecure, even when called a 'whore' she remains loyal to him and resolves to love him despite his misunderstanding of her; she is resolute and tenacious in the face of adversity.
Her love for Othello is unwaning: My love doth so approve him That even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns - Prithee unpin me - have grace and favour in them. She bids Othello to do the sensible thing and ask Cassio how he obtained the handkerchief but this is too rational for Othello who has already ordered his murder.
Even as Desdemona faces her death, she asks Emilia to commend her to her 'kind lord'. She remains in love with him knowing that he is responsible for her death.
In his final speech Othello claims that he was "one that loved not wisely but too well" and it is clear that his feelings regarding Desdamona were extremely passionate and overwhelming. Whether one lays all the blame for the tragedy at Iago's door, however, or holds Othello responsible is a matter for each individual audience member as they watch the play.
Shakespeare's Othello - Othello's Relationship with Desdemona - Shakespeare and Race
But it is high time to learn that whatever Shakespeare put deliberately into his dramas is to be considered in the interpretation. The meeting of the two search parties, each seeking Othello for a different reason, brings the relations of Othello and Desdemona into prominence. The party of Cassio, with the Senate's hasty summons to Othello, serves to give dramatic importance to Othello's great ability as a commander, and to emphasize his military value to Venice.
Brabantio and his troop serve to bring out the private side of Othello's character, hither-to unsuspected. When the two parties meet, Brabantio is in a very quarrelsome mood. The cool words of Othello prevent a clash between the two: The sudden danger from the Turks at Cyprus has made great dispatch necessary, and the Duke has ordered Othello before him "even on the instant.
The Moor now finds that his old friend, the Signior Brabantio, formerly his admirer, has unexpectedly become his accuser before the Senate. Formerly honored as a friend and as a great soldier, and gladly admitted to Brabantio's house, Othello discovers that he is now considered an enemy, and execrated as the husband of Brabantio's daughter.
For the first time, possibly, Othello becomes aware of the fact that he is not accepted on terms of full and exact equality in all particulars with the Venetians. It is likely, however, that Othello had feared this, and so took Desdemona in marriage without asking her father, evidently satisfied that as a black man he could not obtain Brabantio's consent.
When the matter is brought before the Senate, Brabantio's objections to Othello all have to do with his difference of race and color.
He thinks it utterly unnatural for Desdemona to accept him willingly and knowingly. He cannot conceive how his daughter, a fair maid of Venice, could consent to marry a man of Othello's color and nationality, unless in some way out of her senses. So preposterous does it appear to him that he must suppose Othello has charmed her with drugs and magic.
Othello Character Relationships | Shakespeare Learning Zone
He cries out in his desperation: He reiterates his belief that it is "against all rules of nature," and speaks of Othello's supposed magic as "practices of cunning hell. It seems likely that this was also the opinion of the dramatist, for there is abundant evidence that it was always so regarded on the Elizabethan stage. Only the development of the drama will show how far Shakespeare sympathizes with this opinion.
Two deeds upon the part of Othello have now brought him into active collision with other persons, and the two are related to each other. Because of his obligations to Cassio in the matter of his love-making with Desdemona he has appointed him to an important position over lago, thus making an enemy of his faithful officer.
He has also stolen away Desdemona from her father, and secretly married her, making an enemy of Brabantio, who had been one of his greatest admirers among the Senate. In both cases there is evidence of his callousness and dullness of mind. Up to this point Othello had been able to carry successfully his exalted responsibility in his adopted state, but in these matters he makes a complete break-down. Not even his superior military training could save him.
He could perform well the duties of military life, but now it begins to be evident that he is not fitted for the higher and more exacting arts of peace, and especially of love, in a civilized state. When Othello leaves "the tented fields" for the streets and homes of a refined city he utterly goes to pieces, and whatever sense of honor he may have had speedily gives place to a dangerous caprice.
Relationships in Othello
An unsuspected weakness, or deficiency, in his character is thus laid bare, upon which the whole tragedy will later be seen to turn. This deficiency, it is now important to notice, the play implies is due to his racial character, and comes from the fact that he is a Moor. The half- civilized Othello is but ill adapted for life in civilized and cultured Venice. Why is it that Iago wants to destroy Desdemona-Othello relationship so eagerly?
Some critics have suggested that he wants Othello to return into the masculine values of the army, and because he wants Othello to hate women as he does and to regard his gentle Desdemona as he regards his own wife 'villainous whore'.
An evil person converts the others into more evil.The thing about interracial relationships...? -- The Othello Project
At last, the women are destroyed and the masculine structure of power is almost intact even after two of the female-loving members have been destroyed. In one sense, even the dramatist seems to have unconsciously tried to excuse the masculine values of so-called morality that is taken so violently. But, it is the women, their characters and actions, which are justified.