Othello Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Except loving his stories in Othello, why did Desdemona marry Othello?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I differ a bit from the first answer in my understanding of Desdemona, though I agree that we see her almost entirely through the lens of other people. These others are primarily men, they have their own agendas, and they stereotype women. Desdemona's father, for example, is miffed that she isn't entirely "faithful" (i.e., obedient to him) and so warns Othello that Desdemona might not be sexually faithful to him. How he leaps from a daughter wanting to marry for love to sexual infidelity only shows how obsessed the whole male culture is with female sexual purity. It doesn't mean that Desdemona has a problem: it means she is subject to a society that assumes a woman is likely to be guilty of sexual transgression. Shakespeare knew well that women were fully human and intelligent, so we could read the play as a condemnation of Venetian patriarchy for its narrow vision.

Desdemona, herself, doesn't explain to her father why she loves Othello, but merely implies it is the normal order of things...

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Michael Stultz, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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