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Discuss why a modern audience might not find Desdemona a believable character in...

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lovelund69 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 5, 2009 at 2:05 PM via web

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Discuss why a modern audience might not find Desdemona a believable character in "Othello".

 

 

Given the context of the place and its setting, she is quite believable in the play othello by william shakespear. give 3 major points

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 5, 2009 at 9:48 PM (Answer #1)

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A modern audience would definitely object to Desdemona's continued innocence at the potential for treachery in the world, especially once she is accused of being unfaithful by her husband. Desdemona is not totally innocent, she displays an independent spirit, defying her father, eloping with a man that he would not approve of, and rejecting all other suitors. In this time period, she should have been totally obedient to her father, but she was not.

Because Desdemona did deceive her father and marry Othello without his approval, she is condemned by her husband as being untrustworthy.  Othello looks at his wife with contempt for the independent spirit that she possesses that is directly responsible for them being together.  Modern audiences would find Othello's attitude very offensive towards women.

The character is relevant in the historical context in which it was written, but modern women might object to Othello's suspicions of his wife without cause.

Othello does not trust his wife even though she defied her father and chose him over all her other suitors.  He is dealing with insecurity and jealousy and he imposes it on her, demanding unattainable proof of her fidelity in the absence of any real indication that she has been unfaithful.

Modern audiences certainly could identify with the passion and the plot, because these emotions still exist and still result in murder, murder/suicides. Desdemona is both an innocent and an independent woman, simultaneously exhibiting both characteristics, she surrenders herself to Othello's jealousy, his murderous rage, knowing that she will die.

A modern audience would probably like to see Desdemona defend herself, rise up against her angry husband, accusing him of not loving her, of being unreasonably jealous for no reason and maybe even see Desdemona escape from the domestic abuse.

 

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