In Othello, how much does Desdemona embody power when declaring her love for Othello?

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This scene is an important one for Desdemona because it contrasts with her later disempowerment. Her declarations of love for Othello demonstrate their affection for one another and their equality before their relationship deteriorates until it is irreparable.

Othello suggests Desdemona—not him and not her father—speak for herself. He wants her to have her own voice. Desdemona expresses herself respectfully but clearly. She tells her father, Brabantio, “I am hitherto your daughter,” but that her allegiance is ultimately with “the Moor my lord.”

In front of officers, senators, the duke, and her angry and racist father, Desdemona says that she is bound to the Moor. She is just a young woman, but she is opposing society and Brabantio. Unless Desdemona is being sarcastic, she even seems to wish to keep a good relationship with her father, stating that she would not want “To put my father in impatient thoughts / By being in his eye.” Brabantio says goodbye to his child by warning Othello to distrust his deceitful daughter.

Othello and Desdemona are so in tune that they both want her to join him on his escapade to Cyprus, another courageous step for Desdemona to take. Even though she says relatively little in this scene and expresses submission to both Othello and Brabantio, Desdemona expresses extreme strength by risking everything to follow her desires. Even more impressive, she stands by it.

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