Othello Victims Speech (Desdemona)

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Thank you for that warm welcome. I am honored to be invited here to this seminar on ‘interpretations of Shakespeare's characters’.

EMILIA: “O, who hath done this deed?”
DESDEMONA: “Nobody; I myself. Farewell.”

The short scripted speech and claim of guilt symbolize the loss of strength in Desdemona’s final words as she dies. This is just the first example of many that prove that the statement ‘Victims are actually the makers of their own demise’ is true in relation to that of the character Desdemona in the play Othello. Specifically Desdemona’s flaws, her betrayal, her manipulation and denying her initial instinct can be seen in correspondence to textual evidence from the play as well as Oliver Parker’s 1995 film. Plays are meant to be seen, preformed and interpreted, so how is Desdemona truly presented?

Dictionary.com defines a victim as ‘a person who is deceived or cheated, as by their own emotions or ignorance or even by the dishonesty of others’ and demise is defined as ‘failure or termination’ by the english dictionary. By these definitions we can conclude that Desdemona is a victim, and that her demise does happen. But is she the maker of her own demise?

Othello, is a tragedy. Much like many of Shakespeare’s plays, the tragedy is seen by the characters loss of potential greatness through their flaws and decisions. Critic G.Wilson Knight believes that Desdemona’s potential for greatness were her qualities that contained her innocence and simplicity. However they then became her flaws and the culmination of them overpower her. She becomes fickle and immature and therefore naive in her decisions. Knight wrote that we first see this character change in her decision to elope with Othello at the beginning of the play. According to Knight she willingly enters the ‘unknown seas of marriage with a mystery of man’. DESDEMONA: “It yet hath felt no age, nor known no sorrow”, this quote just shows how inexperienced and gullible Desdemona was....
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