Desdemona lacks any understanding of othello's social position which ultimately leads to her downfall

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  • "Desdemona lacks any understanding of Othello's social position which ultimately leads to her downfall"
    • FOR:
      • Desdemona lacks total knowledge on the social hierarchy front, as she fails to comprehend the consequences of her actions on herself and her family/friends.
        • Desdemona is naïve to believe that her interactions with Cassio wont be scrutinised by any people who want to exploit a weakness - Iago.
          • "How would'st thou praise me?"
            • Desdemona even flirts with Iago - possibly - when she is joking with him about the role and nature of women. it is strange that Desdemona participates in Iago's derogatory comments about women = is Desdemona the feminist of the play?
      • Desdemona follows Othello into Cyprus, without knowledge of the country and what her role there would be.
      • Due to Othello's social position, and the fact that he is black and considered an 'outsider', his position in the hierarchy cannot be compromised by the threat of his wife having an affair with a younger, more handsome soldier. Desdemona allowed herself to be vulnerable to outside influences and did not realise in time what was happening to her.
    • AGAINST:
      • Desdemona understands Othello's social standing as she is careful as to her reactions when questioned by the Duke etc in Act 1 about her love/ marriage with Othello.
        • She carefully says that she has a divided duty", referring to her love for Othello and her father, Brabantio.
      • Desdemona is cautious as what emotions she lets people see when the news that Othello has not arrived in Cyprus yet because of the storm. she knows it will she weakness on Othello's behalf.
        • "can you tell me of my lord" / "o, but I fear - how you lost company?"
  • UP TO ACT 3
  • Desdemona and Othello still in the honeymoon phase - everything seems fine and perfect until Iago's plan starts disrupting their plans = some argue that it is because they are in a foreign and unknown country why Iago's plan works so well. Cyprus is portrayed negatively/ barbaric/ chaotic.
  • By attentively listening to Othello's of his adventures when he was a slave, and his "redemption since", Desdemona reveals her willingness to experience the same things. this makes the audience think that perhaps she does not love Othello fully as she just stays with him to live his adventures through him.
    • "wished heaven made her such a man"
    • "with a greedy ear devour up my discourse"
  • Ultimately / significantly/ crucially/ ironically/ considering/ there is not doubt/ arguably/ whilst this statement/ to an extent/ some may argue
  • Desdemona understands that Othello needs Cassio in order to thrive and succeed, military wise. this is ironic because it could be seen that Cassio is the reason for Othello and Desdemona's downfall.
  • Other reasons for Desdemona's downfall: Iago, Roderigo, Cyprus, inexperience, patriarchy, Venetian society, fate.
    • patriarchy - a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is reckoned through the male line.
    • fate - the wheel of fortune element of tragedies. this is where a hero could be experiencing the best time of his life, and all the good fortune coming his way, but just by a slight change in the wheel, all that can topple over and crumble. despite Desdemona not being the original hero of the play, Shakespeare allows the audience to feel pity towards her as she receives the brunt of Othello's misdirected anger.
    • ultimately, even if Desdemona was more experienced in how to react to Othello's social position, Iago's manipulation would've poisoned the lovers' relationship and it wouldn't have stood a chance. in a way, the true storm in Cyprus/ the play was their crumbling love.


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