Shakespeare’s Othello and Desdemona has become an iconic couple. Their relationship impresses the readers with its complexity and rapid changes. They started from love and respect towards each other. Yet, the couple ended up in complete mistrust. Being blinded by jealousy, Othello viciously murders his wife. Such an unhealthy relationship ends tragically for both: Othello and Desdemona.
The romantic relationship between Othello and Desdemona was initially against cultural norms. Back in time, society did not accept interracial marriages. Many characters of the play openly express disappointment with the men’s marital choice. Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, even blames Othello for tricking his daughter with his mysterious power:
“O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow’d my daughter?
Damn’d as thou art, thou hast enchanted her;
For I’ll refer me to all things of sense,
If she in chains of magic were not bound.”
(Act 1, scene 2).
The loving couple knows all along about the resentment their relationship is causing to everyone. Othello purely loves his wife. However, he cannot get rid of the feeling of doubt as to why a woman like Desdemona would love him. These feelings are endorsed by Iago’s cruel lies about the wife’s unfaithfulness. The villain plants the seed of doubts, trying to convince Othello of Desdemona’s adultery.
Unlike her husband, Desdemona is assured of her feelings. Being confused by Othello’s behavior, she asks her maid Emilia for advice. As a wise woman, Emilia understands that the root of the Moor’s rudeness is jealousy. So, she explains to her mistress:
“But jealous souls will not be answer’d so;
They are not ever jealous for the cause,
But jealous for they are jealous: ’tis a monster
Begot upon itself, born on itself.”
(Act 3, scene 4)
Eventually, Othello’s doubts overrule his clear mind, as he orders murdering Desdemona. Even on the deathbed, Desdemona proclaims her undying love for her husband. She desperately calls for him, claiming she has nothing to be ashamed of:
“I never did
Offend you in my life; never loved Cassio
But with such general warranty of heaven
As I might love: I never gave him token.”
(Act 5, Scene 2).
The woman remains in love with Othello, knowing that he is the one responsible for her murder.
Overall, the relationship between Desdemona and Othello is an example of a rapid regress. Othello, blinded by his jealousy, turns pure love into an unhealthy marriage. In their couple, Desdemona is the only one who takes care of the family. Yet, she dies of Iago’s evil plan and Othello’s jealousy.