Lisa Jardine (1996) focuses on the significance of the historical and cultural background for the interpretation of the position and role of women in the Renaissance by emphasizing that obedience, passivity and silence represent their mainfeatures. The handkerchief symbolizes different things to different characters. Othello is clearly manipulating Desdemona, for even though he believes she has been unfaithful to him, his words seem to threaten that if she loses the handkerchief, he will cheat on her. To make Othello believe that Desdemona has been unfaithful, Iago talks Emilia into giving him Desdemona’s handkerchief so that he may plant it in Cassio’s quarters. Othello asks point-blank if the handkerchief is lost. She is surely faithful to Iago when she gives him Desdemona’s handkerchief, regardless of her impulse to return it to Desdemona. In stock on October 17, 2020. "It is not lost," she says (3.4.81.3). She, not Othello, asks Emilia to put her wedding sheets on the bed, after Othello strikes her (“I have not deserved this” [IV.i.236]). Emilia is loyal to Desdemona, but she is loyal to Iago. For those who, like the 17th century essayist quoted in the program of “Desdemona,” find Shakespeare’s “Tragedy of Othello” to be just so much sturm und drang about a handkerchief, Paula Vogel… She makes a playful reference to Othello’s origins, suggesting that the sun in his native land made him impervious to jealousy, and therefore he is an exception to the typical Venetian tendency to be suspicious of women’s behavior. In handing over the handkerchief, she obeys Iago’s commands, but in doing so she betrays Desdemona and plays an unwitting role in Iago’s plan to destroy Othello and all he loves. Desdemona sends for Cassio to tell him that she has spoken with Othello; she is also worried that she has lost her handkerchief. Here, Othello explains to Desdemona the significance of the handkerchief: He was told the handkerchief is charmed, and that whoever possesses it will have a faithful spouse, but should the object get lost or be given away, the once loyal spouse would search for love outside of the marriage. The exploration of female characters in Othello (Desdemona, Emilia, Bianca) represents a valid basis for feminist Shakespeare criticism. standing over her with murder in his eyes, she sings a song she Okay, so maybe an outright lie. DESDEMONA : I say, it is not lost. Othello may be impressive on the battlefield, but his own personal insecurity leads to the tragic end of the story. Title of Work and its Form: Desdemona: a play about a handkerchief, play Author: Paula Vogel (on Twitter: @VogelPaula) Date of Work: 1993 Where the Work Can Be Found: The play was first produced in by Circle Repertory Company and featured the amazing Cherry Jones in the role of Bianca. DESDEMONA : Come, come; 90 : You'll never meet a more sufficient man. August 2, 2015 Harry. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. not written by Shakespeare or a mere vulgarity ignore the fact that duty” [I.iii.179–180]) and her terse fury Othello by William Shakespeare Summary The manner in which Desdemona is murdered—smothered by a pillow The pure and innocent victim of Iago's villainy, her husband Othello's jealousy and a series of extraordinary, handkerchief-related coincidences, she seems more typical of a nineteenth-century melodrama than of Shakespeare's imagination. in a bed covered in her wedding sheets—is symbolic: she is literally Desdemona is at times a submissive character, most notably It helps weave the entire story together. OTHELLO : Fetch't, let me see't. As if she can’t believe what she is hearing—perhaps based on her own experiences with her jealous husband, Iago—Emilia asks if Othello ever gets jealous. Of all the deaths that happen in Othello, Desdemona’s is the most tragic and undeserved. The discussion over the handkerchief escalates into a huge fight. Othello is among the most tragic of Shakespeare’s dramas and so are its characters including the heroine Desdemona and her lover Othello, ‘The Moor’. Morrison's play marks the third major play focusing on Shakespeare's Desdemona composed by a modern … At the end of the play, Emilia refers to the handkerchief as a “trifle” (5.2.228); this trifle is the center of catastrophe in the play. Order it now. Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears Paperback $15.95. / And did forsake her. and she asks Emilia to bury her in these sheets should she die first. so powerful. The play, then, depicts Desdemona contradictorily as a self-effacing, faithful wife and as a bold, independent personality. For all the claims of military straightforwardness of some other characters, Desdemona is the most direct and honest speaker in the play. Emilia recognizes the powerful love and loyalty Desdemona feels for Othello, and she knows that the handkerchief symbolizes these emotions. She had a song of willow. jesting with Iago in Act II, scene i, is either an interpolation At least, she did until playwright Paula Vogel asked, "Do we really know she was innocent?" He then asks her to lend him her handkerchief. The handkerchief appears in Act III of the play and is a particularly important part in the plot of the play. Desdemona insists to Emilia that Othello is not a jealous man. 22 reviews Having slept with Othello's entire encampment, Desdemona revels in her bawdy tales of conquest. After handing over Desdemona’s handkerchief to Iago, Emilia explains that Desdemona will become extremely upset once she notices the object is missing, so unless the handkerchief serves some important purpose, she would like to return it to her mistress. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. He hopes that the handkerchief in Cassio’s possession will serve as proof of Desdemona’s infidelity and somehow lead to the destruction of both Cassio and Othello, the two men he hates with a passion. Desdemona hesitates, and then tells something of a lie. The title character of the play is Desdemona, the wife of the title character in Shakespeare's Othello. lord. Othello: analysis. Only 7 left in stock (more on the way). In this scene, the handkerchief may represent Desdemona's desire to heal Othello of his distress. The handkerchief is the most important in the play. When Othello enters, he claims a headache and asks her for a handkerchief to bind his head, but he will have only the embroidered strawberry handkerchief. The play has been published by Dramatists Play Service and is a fascinating read. The handkerchief appears in Act III of the play and is a particularly important part in the plot of the play. to Emilia’s question, “O, who hath done this deed?” Desdemona’s final may be intentional, meant to portray the way Desdemona herself feels Her forgiveness of Othello may help the audience to forgive him She is caught between her conscience and her responsibilities as both a wife and Desdemona’s attendant. words are, “Nobody, I myself. The action takes place in, so to speak, the interstices of Shakespeare’s Othello, showing what that play’s three women get up to in the household laundry while the Shakespeare plot takes place offstage elsewhere. lines, Desdemona has seemed capable of meeting or even rising above those Iago, understanding the object’s significance, plans to turn the token of love into a tool of destruction. independent person, but midway through she must struggle against lines 61–84, when she attempts to persuade The symbols of the play are the handkerchief, and the song “willow”. Tragically, Desdemona is apparently aware of her imminent death. Summary. The plot of the play hinges on the loss of a handkerchief Othello gave to Desdemona. suffocated beneath the demands put on her fidelity. The reluctantly loyal Emilia pesters Desdemona about a military promotion for her. In vain, Desdemona tries to deflect his questions about the handkerchief, speaking again of Cassio. It is subsequently symbolically transformed into Two little deceptions – Emilia's stealing of the handkerchief and Desdemona's lie to Othello that it is not lost – cement Desdemona's doom. / And she died The handkerchief, a gift to Desdemona from Othello, symbolizes so much more than a mere token of affection. Most characters in the novel meet an undeserved fate. In the end, Othello stifles the speech that made Desdemona Though she maintains to the end In response In spite of the fact that Emilia was beforehand blamed for taking part in an extramarital affair with Othello, her activities all through the play depict a steadfast and legitimate lady. Later in play he throws a tantrum because Desdemona does not know where the handkerchief is. Iago understands that a gift such as a handkerchief might be a mere trinket to some, but bear profound meaning to others. This is a trick to put me from my suit: Pray you, let Cassio be received again. When Desdemona cannot produce the handkerchief he wants to see, Othello explains the handkerchiefs histo… She later displays that she is “guiltless,” Desdemona also forgives her husband (V.ii.133). Iago, the antagonist of the play, interrupted the play by convincing Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful. To Othello, the handkerchief symbolizes fidelity and his giving it to Desdemona represents a promise that he will be true to her, and a request that she stay true to him. Desdemona is one of Shakespeare's most boring female leads. She does so, and he chastises her for her hands moistness, which suggests sexual promiscuity. Arguments that see Desdemona Desdemona, A Play About a Handkerchief by Paula Vogel November 9 - 25, 2018 . The main themes of the play include love, an inconsistency of the military heroism, and fear of isolation. The handkerchief, a gift to Desdemona from Othello, symbolizes so much more than a mere token of affection. 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