Race and Alabaster

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Love, God Pages: 3 (1018 words) Published: April 15, 2013
Othello and Desdemona’s marriage was doomed from the start. Even considering the racial nature of the marriage, his lack of a constant home, and the improper method of his courting, there is another reason why their marriage would never have worked. Othello’s label of Desdemona prevents him from considering her a person. He thinks of her instead as superior to himself in every way, to the point that she is a god. Her race, beauty, and status make her godly in his mind. Because Othello thinks of Desdemona as “Alabaster”(5.2.5) he will never consider her capable of responding to his love. Because Othello is at his wit’s end when he refers to her as “Alabaster”, he is speaking out of his heart. After Othello reads the letter from Venice, he begins to speak in less cohesive manner. For instance the line, “Pish! Noses, ears, and lips. Isn’t Possible? Confess! Handkerchief! O devil!”(4.1.42) contains none of Othello’s former eloquence. He begins to speak with word association, rather than in complete sentences. For instance, the word “confess!” brings up the word “Handkerchief!”, and “devil!”. Because Desdemona, the handkerchief, and the sense of maliciousness were on his mind so much, he begins to express with abstract words and ideas instead of sentences. Although this makes his lines harder to read, they show us what he is constantly thinking of. Instead of clear and concise lines, they are a torrent of his true feelings. Therefore when he describes Desdemona as “Alabaster”, we can be sure it is his inner picture of her. Alabaster’s beauty gives you an idea about his feelings of bodily inferiority to her. Alabaster is a naturally beautiful stone, used by ancient Egyptians and Chinese to make statues and vases. This word choice gives the reader a sense of his feelings of inadequacy to Desdemona. He is never said to be ugly, on the contrary, he is described as “far more fair than black”(1.3.291). He must have felt some sensitivity about his physical appearance. In...
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