Marital Destruction Out of Dysfunctional Marriage and Othello’s Characters

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Course: College English 2
Date: 12/4/12
Marital destruction out of dysfunctional marriage and Othello’s characters William Shakespeare is(1564-1616) widely regarded as the greatest writer in the history of English literature and the most pre-eminent dramatist around the world. Among all his works, many literary critics regard Othello as the peak of his tragedies. Othello is not only a tragedy of family, but also a tragedy of love. Jealous psychology of the characters ultimately leads to the marital tragedy. Iago was jealous of Cassio and Othello, so he slandered and entrapped Cassio and Desdemona, which directly brought about the tragedy. Othello’s true love to Desdemona was utilized by Iago who had an ulterior motive. Driven by jealousy, Othello readily believed Iago, and personally killed his own wife, and eventually drew his sword to cut his own throat. Therefore, the tragedy in Othello’s marriage is largely rooted in jealous psychology. We analyze the reason effect this tragedy of marriage by following the premarital objective situation and the subjective married life. Othello and Desdemona’s marriage is doomed and dysfunctional from the beginning because of acute differences in marriage and due to Othello’s flaw of characters. We analyze the reasons which affect this tragedy of marriage by following the premarital situation then Othello’s characters in married life. To pave the way for detailed analysis, it is necessary to know about two types of marriages at that time. Jessica Tvordi says in “In quarter and in Terms like Bride and Groom”: Reconfiguring Marriage, Friendship, and Alliance in Othello “In its treatment of marriage, Othello introduces and creates tensions between two models of marriage: the dynastic or lineal marriage and the “companionate” or affective marriage.” The traditional discourse of dynastic marriage reflects large concerns regarding the necessary of marriage which means “long term objectives of linear family” which is defined by Lisa Jardine. Jessica Tvordi says “…the discourse of affective marriage emphasizes the importance of companionship in marriage rather than political and economic gains”. About play Othello, Othello is a Moorish general of Venice. Othello is described by Iago as “Barbary horse” (105 line, Scene1, Act1). However, Desdemona is a beautiful girl who is the daughter of Venetian senator Brabantio. Brabantio is a traditional noble person, his mind obeys and follows the dynastic marriage rule. As Desdemona’s father, depend on the different races and different status, Brabantio certainly fight against with the marriage between Othello and his daughter. In other words, Othello lacks the “required conveniences” for Brabantio’s family which is pointed out by Iago. Moreover, similar like the two types of marriages affective marriage and the dynastic marriage are not only occurred in England, but also happened in other country. For example, when people marriage in China, they follow “be matched for marriage”. Because in Chinese culture, marriage is not only two people’s combination but also two families’ unite. So “match” means two families’ economic conditions, social status, and members of family should be equivalent. Apparently, Othello and Desdemona have a big gap in economic conditions and social status. Here, we can find out that Othello and Desdemona’s marriage doomed from the start, at least, their marriage is not benedictory. However, Desdemona and Othello are against the dynastic marriage rule, they start a clandestine marriage which seemed as a misalliance. Iago reveals their marriage to Brabantio, emphasizing the nature of Desdemona’s actions as disruptive of lineal conventions. Seeming, Desdemona and Othello aspire a kind of affective marriage which is presented by Jessica Tvordi “a more equal partnership between husband and wife”. In fact, “Desdemona and Othello represent their feelings for one another within the Protestant paradigm of companionship and affection,...
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