Essay about Shakespeare's Othello - Desdemona the Wonderful

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Othello: Desdemona the Wonderful

The innocent and charming personality of the wife of the general in William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello can hardly be rivaled – and yet she died the victim of a horrible murder. Let’s consider her case in this essay.

Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar in “The Engaging Qualities of Othello” comment on the virtue within the innocent wife of the Moor, and how pain came into her life:

Desdemona is warmhearted, tender, faithful, and much in love with her husband. No thought is further from her mind than the infidelity that Iago suggests to Othello. The suspense of the play increases as we watch Iago subtly poison Othello’s mind and witness Desdemona’s bewilderment,
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She is beautiful and also humble:

A maiden never bold

Of spirit so still and quiet that her motion

Blushed at herself. (I.iii.)

Her concern for Cassio shows her generosity, for she will intercede for him with Othello. She is wise, and also a ‘true and loving’ wife – ‘the sweetest innocent that e’er did lift up eye’. (44-45)

David Bevington in William Shakespeare: Four Tragedies describes the depth of virtue within this tragic heroine:

We believe her [Desdemona] when she says that she does not even know what it means to be unfaithful; the word “whore” is not in her vocabulary. She is defenseless against the charges brought against her because she does not even comprehend them, cannot believe that anyone would imagine such things. Her love, both erotic and chaste, is of that transcendent wholesomeness common to several late Shakespearean heroines [. . .]. Her “preferring” Othello to her father, like Cordelia’s placing her duty to a husband before that to a father, is not ungrateful but natural and proper. (221)

Blanche Coles in Shakespeare’s Four Giants interprets the protagonist’s very meaningful four-word greeting to Desdemona which he utters upon disembarking in Cyprus:

Othello’s four words, “O, my soul’s joy,” tell us that this beautiful Venetian girl has brought great joy, felicity, bliss to
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