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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Desdemona
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1280  Friday, 10 May 2002

[1]     From:   L. Swilley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 9 May 2001 10:13:17 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1274 Desdemona

[2]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <
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        Date:   Thursday, 9 May 2002 16:26:07 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1274 Desdemona

[3]     From:   Ruth Ross <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 May 2002 18:30:02 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.1274 Desdemona

[4]     From:   Andrew W. White <
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        Date:   Thursday, 9 May 2002 14:29:44 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1274 Desdemona

[5]     From:   H. S. Toshack <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 May 2002 08:07:30 +0700
        Subj:   Desdemona

[6]     From:   Laura Blankenship <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 May 2002 08:32:56 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1274 Desdemona


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           L. Swilley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 9 May 2001 10:13:17 -0500
Subject: 13.1274 Desdemona
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1274 Desdemona

Stuart Manger writes,

> Can I canvas opinions on how unwittingly and thus almost culpably naive
> or irresponsible through innocence and a lack of streetwise savvy
> Desdemona is for her own downfall?

In several parts of the play, this lady has indicated her interest in
being a "warrior" (is it not this adventurous quality in Othello that
has particularly interested her?), and she has "warred" against her
father to marry against his obvious wishes.  Isn't her problem -
somewhat like Juliet's - that she has taken the first step into the
man's world but is fearful to continue the "adventure" by taking a firm
hand - and a direct, honest attitude - towards her husband? (How would
Katherine of "Taming" have handled this? ["Sorry, Buster; I seem to have
lost the bloody thing. Get over it."]).  Desdemona gets her back up to
act independently of her father, but then abandons her self-assertion
when dealing with Othello.  As with other characters, it is
inconsistency that does her in; she's got plenty of "streetwise savvy";
she just hasn't the courage to apply it.

L. Swilley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <
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Date:           Thursday, 9 May 2002 16:26:07 -0300
Subject: 13.1274 Desdemona
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1274 Desdemona

My own feeling is that Desdemona is humanely childlike rather than
"culpably naive or irresponsible."  I think part of the tragedy is that
Desdemona, through no fault of her own, finds herself in a situation
where she is hopelessly overmatched -- against the brutal power of
Othello and the devilish cunning of Iago.  Her only hope is the canny
Emilia, but even Emilia lets her down.

Iago accurately describes his own plot to use Desdemona's goodness to
make the net that ensnares them all.

When I directed Othello in 1998, I deliberately cast an actress who was
an adult, but had a kind of childlike innocence about her. Many were
surprised since other bombshell types had auditioned, but I thought it
worked well.

t.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ruth Ross <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 May 2002 18:30:02 -0400
Subject: 13.1274 Desdemona
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.1274 Desdemona

Stuart,

My 11th grade English students just discussed Desdemona's responsibility
for her own downfall and found her na

 

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