Desdemona character analysis
Desdemona from Othello embodies what most would believe to be the perfect woman. She is loyal and trusting, innocent and pure, and her inner beauty is only matched by her outer experience. Her somewhat naïve personality however, leaves her exposed to the more worldly individuals, those who have learned how to take advantage of others through experience. What initially attracts many to Desdemona proves to be her downfall, and her inexperience with the evils of the world leads to her demise. One's innocence attracts all types, yet this attraction may become lethal.
Desdemona does not know how to be unloving to one in need. When Cassio does not know how to amend his friendship with Othello, she willingly lends a helping hand. Her vow to “perform it to the last article” is fulfilled when her death is caused by her loyalty to this friendship. Desdemona is also completely blinded by her love for Othello. “Unkindness may do much, And his unkindness may defeat my life, But never taint my love.” This quote could be said to summarize all of the character of Desdemona. Her own words foreshadow her death, yet her love for her husband keeps her from seeing the truth of this statement. Desdemona does not know how not to love even those who, whether intentionally or unintentionally, mean her harm.
The loyalty Desdemona feels towards all she meets keeps her from seeing their true colors. Her trust in the Moor, that he was born without jealousy, keeps her from noticing the changes in his everyday demeanor. Her loyalty to her husband also displays her innocence of the world. When Desdemona asks Emilia if there are really women who would cheat on their husbands, she puts her lack of worldly experience on display for all to see. Her ignorance of how the world works, and her supposedly trusting husband's belief in false statements, eventually leads her to the ultimate betrayal.
The attributes of one such as Desdemona appear to be the perfect qualities that a woman can possess. Yet it is these same seemingly wonderful qualities that turn against their host, blinding them to the realities of society. Her trust in her husband does not allow her to see the beast he has become. Her loyalty to her friends blurs how the relationship may be seen from outside sources. Overall, this “perfect” Desdemona leads herself to her death, yet has no knowledge of doing so while on her life's journey.