The presentation of Desdemona

The Presentation of Desdemona:
her character, nature, feelings and gender issues

These references are intended to provide some evidence for informed discussion and further textual research on how Shakespeare presents the character.

1.1.87
Iago: an old black ram / Is tupping your white ewe
1.1.110
Iago: you’ll have your daughter covered with a barbary horse
1.1.115
Iago: your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.
1.1.167
Brabantio: Oh heaven, how got she out?
1.2.25
Othello: I love the gentle Desdemona
1.2. 62 ff
Brabantio: stowed my daughter …. thou hast enchanted her … thou hast practised on her with foul charms
1.3.95
Brabantio: A maiden never bold
1.3.99
Brabantio: To fall in love with what she feared to look on?
1.3.127
Othello: I did thrive in this lady’s love / And she in mine.
1.3.168
Othello: She loved me for the dangers that I had passed / And I loved her that she did pity them.
1.3.176
Brabantio: If she confess that she was half the wooer,
1.3.195
Brabantio: jewel
1.3.253 ff
Desdemona: I saw Othello’s visage in his mind … a moth of peace … Let me go with him
1.3.249
Desdemona: That I did love the Moor to live with him
1.3.294
Brabantio: She has deceived her father and may thee.
1.3.342
Iago: It cannot be that Desdemona should long continue her love to the Moor.
2.1.61
Cassio: he hath achieved a maid / That paragons description and wild fame.
2.1.68
Cassio: Tempests themselves … / …do omit / Their mortal natures, letting go safely by / The divine Desdemona
2.1.77
Cassio: Great Jove … / Make loves quick pants in Desdemona’s arms
2.1.84
Cassio\; Hail to thee, lady, and the grace of heaven, / …Enwheel thee round
2.1.167
Iago: He takes her by the palm
2.1.192
Desdemona: The heavens forbid / But that our loves and comforts should increase / Even as our days do grow
2.2.197
[They kiss]
2.1.220
Iago: she first loved the Moor, but for bragging and telling her fantastical lies
2.1.231
Iago: very nature will instruct her in it and compel her to some second choice.
2.1.257
Iago: their breaths embraced together
2.3.9
Othello: Come, my dear love, / the purchase made, the fruits are to ensue
2.3.18 ff
Cassio: she’s a most exquisite lady … Indeed she’s a most fresh and delicate creature … An inviting eye; and yet methinks right modest … She is indeed perfection.
2.3.248
Othello: sweeting
2.3.334 ff
Iago: For ’tis most easy / Th’ inclining Desdemona to subdue / In any honest suit. … His soul is so enfettered to her love / That she may make, unmake, do what she list
2.3.355
Iago: I will turn her virtue into pitch
3.3.23 ff
Desdemona: I’ll watch him tame, and talk him out of patience … thy solicitor shall rather die / Than give thy cause away.
3.3.51
Desdemona: I prithee call him back
3.3.89
Desdemona: whate’er you be, I a, obedient
3.3.209
Iago: She did deceive her father, marrying you / And when she seemed to shake, and fear your looks, / She loved them most.
3.3.234
Iago: clime, complexion and degree
3.3.229
Othello: Desdemona’s honest
3.3.282
Othello: If she be false, O then heaven mocks itself
3.4.45
Desdemona: ’twas that hand that gave away my heart
3.4.125
My lord is not my lord
4.1.189
Othello: lest her body and beauty / unprovide my mind again
4.1.240
Desdemona: I have not deserved this
4.2.12
Emilia: I durst, my lord, to wager that she is honest, / Lay down my soul at stake
4.2.35
Desdemona: your true and loyal wife
4.2.73
Othello: O thou weed / Who art so lovely fair and smell’st so sweet / That the sense aches at thee
4.2.83
Desdemona: By heaven, you do me wrong
4.2.116
Desdemona: I am a child
4.2.127
Emilia: she hath forsook so many noble matches
4.2.137
Desdemona: heaven pardon him
4.2.153 ff
Desdemona: I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel … Unkindness may do much / And his unkindness may defeat my life / But never taint my love.
4.3.26
Desdemona: ‘My mother had a maid … She had a song of ‘willow’
4.3.39
Desdemona sings: The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree
4.3.60
Des: there be women who do abuse their husbands / In such gross kind?
4.3.77
Desdemona: Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrong / For the sake of the whole world!
5.1.99
Emilia: And have we not affections? / Desires for sport?
5.1.85
Emilia: I do think it is their husband’s faults / If wives do fall
5.2.
[Desdemona in her bed]
5.2.4
Othello: Nor scr that whiter skin of hers than snow / And smooth as monumental alabaster
5.2.16
Othello: balmy breath
5.2.40
Desdemona on her sins: They are loves I bear you
5.2.82
Desdemona: one prayer …. O! Lord! Lord! Lord!
5.1.122
Desdemona answering Emilia’s who hath done this deed?: Nobody. I myself. … Commend me to my kind lord.:
5.2.189
Emilia: I’ll kill myself for grief
5.2.247
Emilia: She was chaste
5.2.270 ff
Othello: ill-starred wench … Cold, cold, my girl, / Even like thy chastity … this heavenly sight!
5.2.344
Othello: [Speak] Of one whose hand / Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away / Richer than all his tribe

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