Relationships effect the outcokme of the play ”Othello” by William Shakespear
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In the play Othello by Shakespeare there are numerous various male and female roles, that between husband and wife, mater and servant relationships as well as the relationship between men and women in the set society which is patriarchally based. The male/female relationships have a large part to play in influencing the final outcome of this tragedy. Notably the relationships between Brabantio and Desdemona, the relationship between Roderigo and Desdemona, the relationship between Cassio and Desdemona, the relationship between Iago and Emila and finally as well as ultimately the relationship between Desdemona and Othello. These four associations impact in both a small and large way to the ending of this play, the death of Desdemona, Emila and Othello.
One of the first relationships seen during the play Othello is that which runs between Desdemona and Brabantio of a father to his daughter. As was the attitude of the time Brabantio considered Desdemona as a procession and a prize rather then a person. This stemmed from the patriarchal society of the time. The way women are treated as possessions can clearly be seen in the way Roderigo and Iago refer to Desdemona in Act one – ‘Thieves, thieves! Look to your house, your daughter and your bags! Thieves, thieves!’ Act 1, Scene 1, 80-3. Brabantio loves his daughter but considerers her as a piece of property to shelter and own. From this attitude of possessing women Brabantio becomes utterly infuriated when he discovers that Desdemona has eloped with Othello and thus deceived him which was unheard of at the time.
Brabantio’s possessive nature of Desdemona reveals itself clearly when he stands before the Duke, ‘She is abused, stolen from me and corrupted.’ Act 1, Scene 3, 60. Upon leaving the Dukes chambers Brabantio says to Othello – ‘If she can deceive once she can deceive again.’ Act 1, Scene 3, 190, – this is the key line which plays an immense part in the final outcome of this play for it runs through Othello’s mind when Iago is convincing him of Desdemona’s disobedience. Therefore the relationship which Desdemona has with her father Brabantio influences the final outcome of this tragedy by one sentence said in fury.
The relationship between Roderigo and Desdemona plays an important role in the tragic outcome of the play Othello for it is the love that Roderigo has for Desdemona which enables Iago to manipulate and plant seeds of doubt in Othello’s mind. Roderigo upon discovering the marriage between Othello and Desdemona, unlike other various suitors did not simply whoo another but continued to try and whoo the gentle Desdemona. Iago realizing that Roderigo still loves Desdemona uses Roderigo for money and for doing his dirty work in unseating Othello. Roderigo’s love for Desdemona is one sided as Desdemona never shows any interest in Roderigo yet to Roderigo Desdemona marrying Othello is the end of the world for him. ‘It is silliness to live, when to live is torment and then you have a prescription to die, when death is our physician.’ Act 1, Scene 3, 304-5. Roderigo’s infatuation for Desdemona enabled Iago to manipulate Othello into believing that Desdemona had cuckolded him and consequently plays a part in Desdemona ultimate death.
The relationship between Cassio and Desdemona also plays an important role in the conclusion of the play Othello, for Cassio’s friendship towards Desdemona is seen as more then friendship but that of lovers. Cassio’s relationship with Desdemona which was at all times only that of friendship seemed to Othello to be a lover’s relationship and sparked in Othello an ungodly rage and jealousy, a jealousy so strong that it overrides Othello’s love for Desdemona. Othello in this state says to the heavens – ‘O yield up, O love, thy crown and hearted throne, to tyrannous hate.’ Act 2, Scene 3, 40. In all truth, the reality of the numerous times that Cassio was seen to be with Desdemona was at Iago’s bidding to help repair the broken relationship between Othello and himself. The only time Cassio even directly refers to Desdemona is – ‘The riches of the sea have come on shore.’ Act 3, Scene 1, 60. In one of the numerous meetings Cassio has with Desdemona, and with Iago’s help, Othello’s first inclinations that Desdemona is being unfaithful begin to go through Othello’s mind. The innocent relationship between Cassio and Desdemona contributes to the plays tragic outcome as Othello believes Cassio to be bedding his wife.
The marriage relationship which Iago and Emila share also adds to the tragic outcome of the play Othello due to Emila’s unwavering loyalty to Iago. Emila takes the strawberry embroidered handkerchief from Desdemona and presents it to her husband all because he bided her to take it from her, even though she knew how much the handkerchief meant to Desdemona. The missing handkerchief was the final reason that Othello needed to prove to himself that Desdemona was unfaithful. Hence the reason that Iago and Emila’s relationship is important to contributing to the Desdemona’s death as Iago plants the handkerchief in Cassio’s chamber and Othello sees Cassio with the handkerchief, proving in Othello’s mind that Desdemona had slept with Cassio. The obedient relationship of husband to wife in the patriarchal society, which Iago and Emila share played a part in Desdemona’s death.
The final and ultimate relationship bond which influences the death of the gentle Desdemona is the relationship between a husband and wife, owner and protector, that which resides between Othello and Desdemona. Othello loves Desdemona and makes the plain statement of ‘I do love thy gentle Desdemona.’ Act 1, Scene 1, 80. Othello then even proceeds to state that Desdemona loves him – ‘I did thrive in the fair lady’s love and she in mine.’ Act 1, Scene 2, 120. Desdemona in her own words and referring to Othello says – ‘For twas, the hand that gave away my heart.’ Act 2, Scene 4, 50. In these previous three quotes we can see the love that flows between Othello and Desdemona and at the present time is untainted.
It is not until Iago taints Othello’s pure and innocent mind that his love begins to waver. Iago even states when referring to Othello and Desdemona’s relationship – ‘In to a jealousy so strong even judgement can not cure.’ Act 2, Scene 2, 90. Desdemona is not entirely unaware of her impending death but when asked about her loyalty says – ‘What ever you be, I am obedient.’ Act 4, Scene 2, 87. Othello does not believe Desdemona when she says she is loyal to him as his jealousy rules and all he can comprehend is her cuckolding him. Othello then proceeds to kill the ever loyal and obedient Desdemona because he doubted the relationship which he shared with her. Othello’s untrusting relationship with Desdemona led to her untimely end.
In the play Othello by Shakespeare the varying range of relationships which exist between the characters all affect in a way the death of the gentle Desdemona and the downfall of Othello. The relationship between father and child – Desdemona and Brabantio, the relationship between a suitor – Desdemona and Roderigo, the relationship between friends – Desdemona and Cassio, the relationship between lovers -Emila and Iago and finally the relationship between Othello and Desdemona. All the above relationships impact in individual and varying ways to the final outcome of this tragedy by William Shakespeare.