Othello and Desdemona Essay

1116 Words5 Pages
In Shakespeare’s Othello, Othello and Desdemona’s marriage was doomed from the start. They did not start well; their marriage was controversial because of their race and Othello’s failure to follow proper etiquette while he was courting her. However these issues could have been overcome with time. The biggest problem is Othello’s attitude to Desdemona. Othello’s model of Desdemona prevents him from considering her a person. He thinks of her instead as superior to himself in every way, to the point that she is a god. Her race, beauty, and status make her godly in his mind. She becomes untouchable in Othello’s mind, and he begins to distance himself from her. Because Othello thinks of Desdemona as “Alabaster”(5.2.5) he will never consider…show more content…
During this he paints a picture of Desdemona, and one of the critical words is alabaster. Therefore when he describes Desdemona as “Alabaster”, we can be sure it is his inner picture of her.
Alabaster’s beauty gives you an idea about his feelings of bodily inferiority to her. Alabaster is a naturally beautiful stone, used by ancient Egyptians and Chinese to make statues and vases. This word choice explains to the reader his feelings of inadequacy to Desdemona. At another time, he describes her as “fair as Dian’s visage”(3.3.389), Dian most likely being the god of healing in Celtic mythology. This gives the impression of a healthy glow surrounding her. Othello on the other hand is never said to be ugly, on the contrary, he is described as “far more fair than black”(1.3.291). However he must have felt some sensitivity about his physical appearance as it was mentioned to him constantly. Othello then goes on to describe her honor as “begrimed and black as mine own face”(3.3.390). Othello superimposes her clean and young white face with his own grimy old black face, making him seem a disgusting person. Othello’s choice of this simile shows his supposed racial inferiority. The fact that Othello believed Desdemona to be unfaithful with Cassio further proves his insecurity. Cassio is a clean white man with golden hair. Cassio is all of the beauty that Othello cannot be, and is therefore able to provide something that
Get Access