Discuss how age, social position and race impact the relationship between Othello and Desdemona

Topics: Othello, Social class, Sociology Pages: 2 (751 words) Published: February 8, 2014
Discuss how age, social position and race impact the relationship between Othello and Desdemona?

“She loved me for the dangers I had pass'd,
And I loved her that she did pity them
This only is the witchcraft I have used.” –Othello (act 1, scene 3, 167-169) Othello and Desdemona’s manifestly love-filled relationship was somewhat shielded by society’s views of the age, social position and race differences, that would evidently cause implications. In the late sixteenth century, the time in which Othello is based, it was disreputable to do anything that was thought of as abnormal, for example, marrying below your class. Othello and Desdemona’s relationship was quickly looked down upon, simply due to the fact that it was seen as unconventional at the time. The implications that were apparent in the relationship were; the fact that Desdemona was considerably younger then Othello, the difference in social position of the two, and of course the obvious reason, being that Othello was dark skinned and Desdemona fair skinned. Beneath these implications, the two shared a deep, meaningful and adoring relationship, for the start of the play, that is.

It is believed that Desdemona was only eighteen, when she married Othello, who was thirty-five. While this was not uncommon at the time, it still had an affect on the relationship, as Othello was so much more mature then her. It was a tradition that the man would provide for the woman, so she would not have to work, her only duties being domestic. This is what caused the normality of such an age gap, an established man who would wed a woman of childbearing age. The age difference of the two also suggests that Othello has power over her, being the older and more mature one. One of the reasons that Othello believed that Desdemona and Michael Casio were having an affair, is because of how much younger he was then Othello, which made Othello feel threatened. Overall, age has very little impact on the relationship, as it was...
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