Othello and a Discourse of Marriage and Wiving

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Othello and A Discourse of Marriage and Wiving

In Othello, Shakespeare adheres to some of but ignores some of the rules set from A Discourse of Marriage and Wiving, while he creates conflicts in Othello’s marriage to Desdemona. While everything starts out great with Othello’s marriage to Desdemona, things slowly unravel when Iago, the villain of the play, begins to fill the heads of his ‘friends’ with lies. Othello is boastful of the beauty and gentleness of his wife, causing the work for Iago to be minimal. Othello allows his sweet Desdemona to be around his friends more often than he should and by doing this Iago finds it that much easier to make his plan fall in place. Othello grows very jealous as Iago fills his head with lies of his sweet Desdemona and from there everything goes spiraling downward into an awful fate. ​In A Discourse of Marriage and Wiving, Niccholes states that one should “Make not they friend too familiar with thy wife.” Do not allow your wife to become too close to your friends. Othello allows Desdemona to be in the company of his governors and companions. Even though Desdemona stays true to her dear Othello, Iago leads Othello to believe that Desdemona has not only been sleeping with Cassio but in love with him as well. Othello begins to ponder the idea as he states to Iago “To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company, Is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well: where virtue is, there are more virtuous” (III, iii). By now Othello has fallen into Iago’s awful plan to ruin his marriage.

​Othello thinks that he knows his wife, Desdemona, better than anyone else knows her. He knows deep down that Desdemona would never be untrue to him. But, as Iago points out when he says “She did deceive her father, marrying you; And when she seem’d to shake and fear your looks, she loved them most” (III, iii). Othello now realizes that he does not know his wife well at all. As said in A Discourse of Marriage and Wiving, “Be advised before...
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