Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) Characters
by Ann-Marie Macdonald

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Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) Characters

(Drama for Students)

Author

See Constance Ledbelly

Chorus

The Chorus is the mysterious and riddling narrator of the play as well as the Ghost of act 3, scene 6. The choral tradition dates back to ancient Greece, where a group of people narrated and commented on the actions of a play. During Shakespeare's time, the chorus was often a single man who spoke during the prologue and epilogue. In the prologue of Goodnight Desdemona, the Chorus takes Constance's manuscript out of the wastebasket and talks mysteriously about alchemy, the mythical process of turning base metals into gold.

During the epilogue, the Chorus reveals that he played the part of the Ghost that appears to Constance in the graveyard. The Ghost tells Constance a number of jokes and riddles that hint at the solution to the play's mystery about the Wise Fool and the Author. Constance believes that the Ghost is Yorick, the family jester whom Hamlet finds dead upon his return to Denmark. As the Ghost, the Chorus serves to move along the plot and direct Constance to her discovery of herself.

Desdemona

Desdemona is Othello's wife and victim in Shakespeare's tragedy. She is generally considered a passive character who is devoted to her husband. Goodnight Desdemona challenges this view, however, and interprets Desdemona as a capable, headstrong, and even violent character who marries Othello because of her passion for war and conquest. In act 2, scene 2, Desdemona acknowledges that academia is wrong about her, when she shouts that the idea that she is a helpless victim is "[b―sh―t]!!"

Constance deeply admires Desdemona, claiming that she is "magnificent" and "capable of greatness." In fact, Desdemona serves as an inspiration for Constance to develop her own confidence and strength as well as her beliefs about feminism. The only major fault in Desdemona's character is her impulse toward tragedy. Like Othello, Desdemona is susceptible to manipulation, because she is gullible and has a tendency to become very angry and jealous. At the end of the play, however, Desdemona promises Constance that she will reform this impulse and acknowledge life's complexity.

Ghost

See Chorus

Iago

Iago is one of English literature's most famous villains. He is a bitter and crafty liar who manipulates Othello into killing his wife. In Goodnight Desdemona, Constance foils Iago's plans, although Iago later conspires to manipulate Desdemona into turning against Constance.

Juliet

Thirteen-year-old Juliet is known throughout the world as a symbol of young love. In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, she falls in love with the son of a rival family and then stabs herself when she finds him dead. Her lines beginning "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" are among the most famous in English literature. Constance describes her as "the essence of first love—/ of beauty that will never fade, / of passion that will never die."

In Goodnight Desdemona, Juliet is obsessed with passionate love. Her petty bickering with Romeo and the threats to tell their parents reveal that they are both immature adolescents who are inconstant in their desires. Juliet is strong and active about realizing what she wants, however. This is why she is willing to dress up as a man and vigorously woo Constance. Her views about love at first sight are idealistic and inspiring enough to persuade Constance to love her.

Juliet is also obsessed with death, and her over-dramatic desire to die is a consistent joke in the play. However much she is charmed by Juliet, Constance faults her tragic impulse toward death and destruction. At the end of the play, Juliet swears that she will reform this impulse and take Constance's advice.

Constance Ledbelly

The protagonist of the play, Constance is an assistant professor at Queen's University who finds her true identity by traveling through the worlds of Shakespeare's works. She is a somewhat clumsy and absent-minded person, but she has a great talent for teaching and literary analysis. At the beginning of the play, she is a frustrated...

(The entire section is 1,544 words.)