How did Brabantio react to the marriage of Othello and Desdemona in Othello?

In Othello, Brabantio reacts to the marriage of Othello and Desdemona with shock and disbelief. As well as harboring racial prejudices towards Othello, he simply cannot believe that his daughter would go against his wishes.

When news reaches him of his daughter's marriage, he is so shocked that he thinks that Desdemona's either been drugged or put under a wicked spell. Eventually, Brabantio becomes so traumatized by what he sees as his daughter's betrayal that he dies of grief.

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A rich and powerful man, Brabantio isn't used to people going against his wishes, especially not his own daughter. In common with the prevailing social standards, Brabantio enjoys complete control over his family; he is a forbidding patriarch whose word has the status of holy writ.

So imagine his utter shock when he finds out that his daughter Desdemona has eloped with Othello and married him. Brabantio can't quite believe his own ears. He's so shocked that he actually thinks that Desdemona must somehow have been drugged or put under an evil magic spell.

Brabantio's racism is much in evidence here. He's attributing all kinds of dangerous, exotic powers to Othello, simply because he happens to be black. The very idea that his own flesh and blood chose to run off with Othello of her own free will simply doesn't occur to him; the very thought of it is too horrible to contemplate.

Brabantio feels like he's been deceived by Desdemona, and he's certain that Othello will eventually suffer the same...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 931 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on April 29, 2020
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