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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

Othello Characters

Desdemona is the daughter of the Venetian Senator Brabantio. 

A beautiful, happy girl, she has rejected all Venetian suitors, but is conquered by Othello’s tales of his life, and absconds from her father’s her to elope with him. Brought before the Duke and the Senate, she has the courage to stand up to her father and announce her choice to cleave to the Moor. She refuses to return to her father’s house, and requests instead to be allowed to follow Othello to the wars, partly because they have not yet consummated their marriage. She has a good wit, and enjoys sparring with Iago, having apparently grown fond of her lady-in-waiting’s husband during their voyage to Cyprus. She is also good friends with Cassio, who was her go-between to Othello when they were wooing, and is therefore more than willing to press Othello to restore him to favor. A kind and caring person, she is immediately concerned when Othello seems not well. She is rather naïve, and is shocked to discover Othello to be jealous, something he has never shown any sign of being. She also does not seem to catch on to his clear hints that she should drop the matter of Cassio. She is convinced by his tale of the magic in her missing handkerchief, and terrified by it. She blames government matters for his changed manner, not knowing of anything she can possibly have done to cause it herself. Even when publicly humiliated, she does not lose her temper, merely stating her innocence. She is capable of standing up to Othello as well when her honor is in question, but she is in the main rather passive. She trusts Iago enough to ask him for advice. She seems to judge other women by her own standards, unable to imagine that they might act otherwise than she does herself. Though she begs for her life on her deathbed, she still refuses to admit to a false guilt. With her last breath, she attempts to exonerate her husband of her murder.

 

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