Desdemona is a more plausible, well-rounded figure than
much criticism has given her credit for. Arguments that see Desdemona
as stereotypically weak and submissive ignore the conviction and authority
of her first speech (“My noble father, / I do perceive here a divided
Desdemona is at times a submissive character, most notably
in her willingness to take credit for her own murder. In response
to Emilia’s question, “O, who hath done this deed?” Desdemona’s final
words are, “Nobody, I myself. Farewell. / Commend me to my kind
lord. O, farewell” (V.ii.
Tragically, Desdemona is apparently aware of her imminent death.
She, not Othello, asks Emilia to put her wedding sheets on the bed,
and she asks Emilia to bury her in these sheets should she die first.
The last time we see Desdemona before she awakens to find Othello
standing over her with murder in his eyes, she sings a song she
learned from her mother’s maid: “She was in love; and he proved mad
/ And did forsake her. She had a song of willow. / . . . / And she died
singing it. That song tonight / Will not go from my mind” (IV.iii.
Take a Study Break
Every Shakespeare Play Summed Up in a Quote from The Office
Honest Names for All the Books on Your English Syllabus
Pick 5 Books and We'll Tell You What Netflix Show You Should Binge-Watch This Summer
QUIZ: Can You Identify the Shakespeare Play By Its Most Popular Quote?
Every Marvel Movie Summed Up in a Single Sentence
QUIZ: Are You a Hero, a Villain, or an Anti-Hero?
Pick 10 Books and We'll Guess Whether You're an Introvert or an Extrovert