"Othello and Desdemona's marriage doesn't stand a chance." Discuss. From the time we learn of Othello and Desdemona's marriage, Desdemona manages to convince the audience of their strong relationship. Although there are many reasons to believe that Othello and Desdemona's marriage is eternal, it will be necessary to analyse both, their weaknesses and strengths to know if "Othello and Desdemona's marriage doesn't stand a chance." One reason for the breakdown of Othello and Desdemona's marriage could be Brabantio. The quote "your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul", (1. 1. 84), shows the love and special bond between father and daughter.
Iago must be aware of the love between them and in this quote he describes Desdemona as "half your soul", which has many deep spiritual connotations, but also signifies her importance in Brabantio's life. We know Brabantio's feelings towards Desdemona are very strong and from this I feel even though he is disturbed by this marriage his love for his daughter proves that he would not deliberately try and damage their marriage. However, Brabantio may cause harm to Othello and Desdemona's marriage unintentionally. Even though we know that Brabantio ended his relationship with his daughter, I think that it may not have been his intent to do so, but instead, was emotionally blackmailing her in effort to gain her pity.
The quote "For your sake jewel, I am glad at soul I have no other child", (1. 3. 193), shows the way in which Brabantio is attempting to make Desdemona feel guilty and very low. However, to his surprise Desdemona is not affected and sides with her husband, and Brabanto's only way to win back his daughter fails, but this plan may come into effect later on in the story, after we read about the other obstacles they face. As the story progresses and especially when Iago's plan is put into action we may see a change in Othello's behaviour, which may make Desdemona feel at fault for leaving her loving father for a man who love for her is dying. When she reminisces back to the harsh, but sentimental words said by her father, for example, "I had rather to adopt a child than to get it" will have the most emotional impact as she was an only child and this quote shows the disappointment her father is going through, because she has shattered all his dreams and because of this has lost faith of his blood, as well as the quote "I here do give...
I would keep from thee." shows how Brabantio is sacrificing his happiness for the sake of his daughters, she may feel responsible. As a result of the resentment, which gradually grows toward Othello, the love given to her by her father may pull her back. However, Desdemona was clear when justifying her love for Othello, to her father. She was very courteous when trying to make him understand, but was also very tactful by comparing her and Othello's relationship with her mothers and fathers (1. 3. 184).
She is well aware of her duties and is prepared to choose Othello over her father. Not only does this show that she is truly devoted to her marriage and her love for Othello, but also that she is keen to make her marriage a success. I also noticed that Desdemona was not emotionally affected or influenced when her father replies to her in Act 1, Scene 3. She did not try to pacify or explain to her father, nor did she apologise or hesitate when speaking to him. She shows no signs of fear, and was very blunt. From her attitude it is clear that she is very much in love with Othello and their bond is very strong, which did not break when tested against Brabantio's emotional blackmail.
Another good example in Act 1, Scene 3 is where Desdemona is asked if she would stay at her fathers place whilst Othello is out on war. She replies, "Nor would I there reside", after Othello refuses to let her stay at her fathers. The fact that she quite clearly takes her husbands side shows she want to uphold his respect, and again her love for him. Desdemona seems very proud of this marriage despite anyone's opinions, which shows the strong companionship and a very optimistic marriage.
In my opinion Iago will be the main cause of their break-up. In several occasions we are reminded of Iago's cunning and spiteful character. The quotation "I am not what I am" shows us his split personality and how he is able to mask it. It is clear from the beginning of the play that Iago has immense hatred for Othello and is yearning to destroy him. The way he carefully plans his plots, convinced me from the beginning that he will think of a successful plan to get even with Othello. Evidence of his scheming mind put to work is the way Iago is playing Roderigo.
Iago is using Roderigo's trust for his own convenience, and how he manages to cover his tracks and put the blame on another, like in Act 1, Scene 1 when Roderigo and Iago inform Brabantio of the marriage, is extremely well planned and successful. He is also very persuasive, for instance, "the moors are changeable in their wills, fill thy purse with money." Here Iago is persuading Roderigo to pay him, and by the end of their conversation he is persuaded. Another example is when Roderigo is persuaded that Desdemona is in love with Cassio in Act 2 Scene 1, ("First I must tell thee this: Desdemona is directly in love with him"). We learn of Iago's conspiracy after being introduced to Cassio, a young and charming lieutenant. We find out that Cassio is rather fond of Desdemona and quite a flirtatious character, as shows the quotes, "One that excels the quirks...
does tire the in gener" and "the divine Desdemona", where Cassio is praising Desdemona harmlessly, however Iago takes out a different meaning of this in a very cynical sense and plans to take advantage of Cassio's charming character, but we also know of Desdemona's flirtatious personality as shows the quote "What wouldst write of me, if thou shouldst praise me?" , (2. 1. 116). Iago can now take advantage of Desdemona's character as well. His plot will now be more convincing as Othello knows this side of Desdemona because of the way in which she behaved on several acquaintances before their marriage. As Iago is particularly careful and crafty when plotting his schemes I am sure that he will succeed once again, by leading Othello to think Cassio is too familiar with his wife.
However we also learn that Othello has a lot of trust in Cassio and especially Desdemona, which may cause some problems for Iago. As well as being work colleagues, I assume that Othello has a lot of trust in Cassio. I think this because of the fact that Othello promoted Cassio to his lieutenant, even though he had no experience of going into battle, shown by the quote "One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, that never set a squadron in the field, nor the division of a battle knows", said by Iago (1. 1.
21). Keeping in mind that Iago's plot is to make Othello suspect of an affair between Desdemona and Cassio, it will be extremely hard if Othello does really trust her with his life, like he says "My life upon her faith" (1. 3. 290), and because he devotes his life to her trust, it shows how important she is to him. Another example of their faithful relationship in Act 1, Scene 3- Othello asks for Desdemona to come and give an explanation for how they fell in love. However, it appears to me as if Othello is depending on her to save his life, as he says "If you do find me foul in her report...
let your sentence even fall upon my life." I don't think he would be ready to stake his life if he dint have any faith in her. This shows the amount of confidence and confidence he has in her and their love. This quote ties in with the quote in Act 1, Scene 3, Line 290, "My life upon her faith." If on line 31 he his faith had broken, Othello would " ve died. It is obvious that Othello trusts Desdemona and if this trust is maintained Iago will find it very difficult to burry suspicion in Othello's mind. It is evident that Othello trusts Desdemona but then again he also has enough trust in Iago to be influenced by him.
The quote "honest Iago" taken from (1. 3. 90) shows the trust Othello has in him and that he is very convinced that Iago is loyal to him, and because of this trust there is a greater chance that Othello may become brain-washed by Iago. In spite of this I do not think that Othello will have faith in Iago, rather than his wife Desdemona. But in Act 1, Scene 3 Line 280 Othello asks Iago to take care of his wife in his absence. Him asking Iago to do this really stresses the amount of trust in him.
It makes me think that Iago and Desdemona are the two people that he has most trust in, but the why did he not promote Iago instead of Cassio. Another point to consider is that when Othello asks Iago to take care of Desdemona in his absence it is like he is asking Iago to care for his life, as Othello describes Desdemona as his life. Does this mean he trusts Iago more than Desdemona? As well as showing the trust Othello has in Iago, this demonstrates Iago's devious and hypocritical, but persuasive character. As well as attempting to break Othello's marriage by plotting to build suspicion in his mind, it seems like Iago is also instigating the other characters to make them believe that this is an even more serious matter than they would normally think. Such as, Othello's and Brabantio's relationship was quite strong and proof of this was the fact that Othello was spent a plenty of time with him in his house, as shows the quotation, "Her father loved me, oft invited me; Still questioned me the story of my life." And although there was an issue of race in this dispute, Brabantio has always respected Othello despite his race, and so I think he would be easily convinced to accept this marriage if they told him, themselves. Not only because of Othello but also because of his love for his daughter, I'm sure he would be willing to compromise.
Iago tries to touch on Brabantio status and makes an effort to rub in the public humiliation he will face, shown by the quote "Zounds sir, y'are robbed! For shame put on your gown" (1. 1. 84), but it is known that he loved his daughter a lot and I think that he was hurt at the fact that they eloped rather than what the public would say. He may feel she has betrayed him but Iago has taken advantage of the fact that they " ve run away and is rubbing it in. Other than Brabantio, Iago is also instigating Othello. In Act 1, scene 2 Iago is overstressing or even fibbing about how Brabantio reacted on hearing about their marriage.
Iago lies ad tells Othello that Brabantio was bad mouthing him, (shown in line 8, 1. 2, "And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms against your honour"), and because Othello is a very arrogant and proud character he might take it more offensively if he keeps being reminded of the insult. By doing this, Othello will start to resent Brabantio and this could cause arguments between Desdemona and him. Iago tries to provoke and scare Othello but it doesn't work, as Othello is a very arrogant and self-sufficient character and replies that Brabantio is in-debt to him, which shows he is very confident of his status. Another reason for the breakdown of their marriage could be the issue of Othello's race, but neither Desdemona nor any of the army members (in their circle) were very concerned about this. I don't think that Othello's race has influenced Desdemona's decision to marry him but it may do in the future.
Back in the day, there was a lot of prejudice towards other ethnic communities, but despite this bigotry Othello has managed to gain a very respectable place in society. Although he is called to as the "Moor", he is treated equally, and therefore Desdemona has no reason to complain. We know this because Othello was given a chance to justify him-self, after he had been accused of using witchcraft to trap Desdemona. The duke was fair and gave him a chance to explain himself just like Brabantio. Another point to prove that race is not that much of a problem is that there is no racism within the army.
This is not a very obvious point, but if there was a lot of racism then Othello would have faced some discrimination whilst working, but there is none mentioned and the fact that Iago is angry because Othello did not promote him, instead of being annoyed at the fact that Othello, being black is at a higher position than him. There are no signs of racial discrimination. Other than Othello being called "the Moor", but he seems to be accustomed to it and so takes no notice. I have already explained that I don't think Brabantio was very concerned of the fact that Othello was black, but because she eloped and brought shame to his name. Iago tries very hard to persuade Roderigo that the love between Othello and Desdemona is actually lust. However, it is obvious that he is living once again, as we read about the seriousness of their relationship.
It already was enough to prove to me that their relationship is serious when Desdemona "preferred" Othello over her father, but Othello too shows he is just as serious. The quote "I therefore beg it not to please the plate of my appetite... but to be free and bounteous", shows that Othello doesn't want Desdemona to stay with him because of his sexual desires, but so she can fulfil her duties as a wife. This shows the maturity and seriousness of their marriage. Without going in-depth into the ways of their marriage breaking I would think that Othello and Desdemona's marriage would be successful, however after analysing small details, which may affect their marriage, I don't think their marriage stands a chance.
Although Othello and Desdemona have made their love very clear I doubt their love can survive Iago's well-planned plot.