Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) Questions and Answers
by Ann-Marie Macdonald

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Like Shakespeare in Othello, MacDonald employs highly significant animal imagery. Compare her use of the “mouse” in Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) with one of the dominant animal images (or a chain of related animal images) in Shakespeare.

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In Ann-Marie Macdonald's comedic play Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), the author refers to her protagonist Constance as a mouse. Constance is an English literature professor at Queens University, and this nickname is given to her by her students. The mouse is a metaphor for her timid and unassertive nature before she enters the world of Shakespeare. Constance's nature undergoes a significant change during her adventure. She realizes that she has the power to change the character of Desdemona from Othello as well as Juliet from Romeo and Juliet. Constance concludes that she is the "missing author" she theorized about in the plays.

In Othello, Iago refers to Desdemona as a white ewe, a lamb commonly used for sacrifice. The white ewe symbolizes purity and innocence and hints at her impending death (Othello eventually strangles Desdemona, as Iago makes him believe that she has been unfaithful). Both Constance and Desdemona are described as meek and powerless animals. The crucial difference between them is that Desdemona remains this way and is manipulated by Iago and Constance. While Desdemona is the prey or victim in the play, Constance becomes convinced of her assertiveness by the end of her Shakespearean journey.

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