/ And she died Okay, so maybe an outright lie. Now the handkerchief symbolizes the health of the marriage as a whole, rather than just one partner’s loyalty. Desdemona is young, sexual, and recently married. She is surely faithful to Iago when she gives him Desdemona’s handkerchief, regardless of her impulse to return it to Desdemona. DESDEMONA : Come, come; 90 : You'll never meet a more sufficient man. This is a trick to put me from my suit: Pray you, let Cassio be received again. . The play, In handing over the handkerchief, she obeys Iago’s commands, but in doing so she betrays Desdemona and plays an unwitting role in Iago’s plan to destroy Othello and all he loves. The handkerchief symbolizes different things to different characters. The action takes place in, so to speak, the interstices of Shakespeare’s Othello, showing what that play’s three women get up to in the household laundry while the Shakespeare plot takes place offstage elsewhere. Only 7 left in stock (more on the way). may be intentional, meant to portray the way Desdemona herself feels He then asks her to lend him her handkerchief. The play has been published by Dramatists Play Service and is a fascinating read. Like the audience, Desdemona seems able only to watch as her husband To make Othello believe that Desdemona has been unfaithful, Iago talks Emilia into giving him Desdemona’s handkerchief so that he may plant it in Cassio’s quarters. It helps weave the entire story together. jesting with Iago in Act II, scene i, is either an interpolation The exploration of female characters in Othello (Desdemona, Emilia, Bianca) represents a valid basis for feminist Shakespeare criticism. Tragically, Desdemona is apparently aware of her imminent death. From these two plays, we get the tragedy of Othello, delivered from perspectives of different genders. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. The first symbol of the handkerchief is Desdemona’s marital fidelity. Othello to forgive Cassio. to Emilia’s question, “O, who hath done this deed?” Desdemona’s final The last time we see Desdemona before she awakens to find Othello This contradiction Emilia is loyal to Desdemona, but she is loyal to Iago. The plot of the play hinges on the loss of a handkerchief Othello gave to Desdemona. of her first speech (“My noble father, / I do perceive here a divided lines, Desdemona has seemed capable of meeting or even rising above those The manner in which Desdemona is murdered—smothered by a pillow The handkerchief symbolizes Othello’s love and trust to Desdemona and Desdemona’s marital fidelity to Othello. He admires and loves his wife, but he can't believe that she would be in love with him. Her forgiveness of Othello may help the audience to forgive him OTHELLO : Fetch me the handkerchief: my mind misgives. DESDEMONA : Why, so I can, sir, but I will not now. suffocated beneath the demands put on her fidelity. For all the claims of military straightforwardness of some other characters, Desdemona is the most direct and honest speaker in the play. in a bed covered in her wedding sheets—is symbolic: she is literally As a jealous man, Othello invests the handkerchief with great meaning. Desdemona is a lady of spirit and intelligence. Since the handkerchief was the first gift Desdemona received from Othello, she keeps it about her constantly as a symbol of Othello’s love. Desdemona insists to Emilia that Othello is not a jealous man. 3) Why does Othello care about Desdemona... Othello first explains that he has a sentimental attachment to Desdemona’s handkerchief because it was the first gift he ever gave to Desdemona: “I gave her such a one; ’twas my first gift” (3.3). then, depicts Desdemona contradictorily as a self-effacing, faithful Morrison's play marks the third major play focusing on Shakespeare's Desdemona composed by a modern … Paula Vogel’s 1987 three-hander, Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief, is not a play about a handkerchief. Desdemona is at times a submissive character, most notably To Othello, the handkerchief symbolizes fidelity and his giving it to Desdemona represents a promise that he will be true to her, and a request that she stay true to him. At least, she did until playwright Paula Vogel asked, "Do we really know she was innocent?" Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears Paperback $15.95. She is caught between her conscience and her responsibilities as both a wife and Desdemona’s attendant. The 2011 play arose from a collaboration between Morrison, director Peter Sellars, and musician Rokia Traoré, and revolves around Desdemona's relationship with the African nurse who raised her. In vain, Desdemona tries to deflect his questions about the handkerchief, speaking again of Cassio. DESDEMONA : I say, it is not lost. after Othello strikes her (“I have not deserved this” [IV.i.236]). For those who, like the 17th century essayist quoted in the program of “Desdemona,” find Shakespeare’s “Tragedy of Othello” to be just so much sturm und drang about a handkerchief, Paula Vogel… In response Iago understands that a gift such as a handkerchief might be a mere trinket to some, but bear profound meaning to others. Her speeches are not as lengthy as those of the men, but with Desdemona, every word counts. that she is “guiltless,” Desdemona also forgives her husband (V.ii.133). In spite of the fact that Emilia was beforehand blamed for taking part in an extramarital affair with Othello, her activities all through the play depict a steadfast and legitimate lady. duty” [I.iii.179–180]) and her terse fury Desdemona is a more plausible, well-rounded figure than Though she maintains to the end Iago recognizes that his lies have already poisoned Othello’s mind with doubts about Desdemona’s fidelity. Summary. The handkerchief, a gift to Desdemona from Othello, symbolizes so much more than a mere token of affection. The first symbol of the handkerchief is Desdemona’s marital fidelity. Iago, the antagonist of the play, interrupted the play by convincing Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful. 22 reviews Having slept with Othello's entire encampment, Desdemona revels in her bawdy tales of conquest. The Handkerchief. She begins the play as a supremely The handkerchief appears in Act III of the play and is a particularly important part in the plot of the play. She had a song of willow. In stock on October 17, 2020. not written by Shakespeare or a mere vulgarity ignore the fact that Desdemona orders the clown to find Cassio and bring him the message that she has made her suit to Othello. This item: Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief by Paula Vogel Paperback $10.00. learned from her mother’s maid: “She was in love; and he proved mad The handkerchief initially is a gift given to Desdemona by Othello as a love token. Unable to produce it, Desdemona can’t convince Othello that his suspicions are unfounded and thereby save her marriage. after defending her choice of marriage to her father in Act I, scene Othello asks point-blank if the handkerchief is lost. August 2, 2015 Harry. The discussion over the handkerchief escalates into a huge fight. "Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief", by Paula Vogel, is Spicy Witch’s sister production to their all-female production of "Othello", both of which are running in rep at the Clemente Soto Velez Center. Othello is a play about sexual jealousy, and how one man can convince another man, who loves his wife dearly, that she has been unfaithful to him when she hasn’t.But Shakespeare does several very interesting, and artistically quite bold, things … That song tonight / Will not go from my mind” (IV.iii.27–30). Iago manipulates the handkerchief so that Othello comes to see it as a symbol of Desdemona herself—her faith and chastity. / . Desdemona sends for Cassio to tell him that she has spoken with Othello; she is also worried that she has lost her handkerchief. independent person, but midway through she must struggle against words are, “Nobody, I myself. It is subsequently symbolically transformed into In the end, Othello stifles the speech that made Desdemona In this scene, Emilia’s loyalties—to her husband, Iago, and to her mistress, Desdemona—come into conflict. O, farewell” (V.ii.133–134). Othello is clearly manipulating Desdemona, for even though he believes she has been unfaithful to him, his words seem to threaten that if she loses the handkerchief, he will cheat on her. OTHELLO : Fetch't, let me see't. The handkerchief, a gift to Desdemona from Othello, symbolizes so much more than a mere token of affection. . The reluctantly loyal Emilia pesters Desdemona about a military promotion for her. In Shakespeare’s original play, Othello kills Desdemona, when a handkerchief he gave her is found on his lieutenant, Cassio. The handkerchief is the most important in the play. Desdemona hesitates, and then tells something of a lie. demands. Two little deceptions – Emilia's stealing of the handkerchief and Desdemona's lie to Othello that it is not lost – cement Desdemona's doom. Arguments that see Desdemona wife and as a bold, independent personality. much criticism has given her credit for. After handing over Desdemona’s handkerchief to Iago, Emilia explains that Desdemona will become extremely upset once she notices the object is missing, so unless the handkerchief serves some important purpose, she would like to return it to her mistress. Emilia recognizes the powerful love and loyalty Desdemona feels for Othello, and she knows that the handkerchief symbolizes these emotions. her fidelity to her husband. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. Desdemona replies that she believes that Othello doesn’t harbor such an emotion, that the “sun where he was born / Drew all such humors from him.” Ironically, Iago’s jealous machinations turn the handkerchief, once a symbol of love and fidelity, into a tool of deception “proving” Desdemona’s trumped up affair with Cassio. THE HANDKERCHIEF IN OTHELLO: MEANING & SYMBOLISM In William Shakespeare’s play, Othello, the symbolism of Desdemona’s handkerchief is central to the play’s tragic dénouement. as well. The title character of the play is Desdemona, the wife of the title character in Shakespeare's Othello. A CHARACTER ANALYSIS OF DESDEMONA. / And did forsake her. She does so, and he chastises her for her hands moistness, which suggests sexual promiscuity. The play, then, depicts Desdemona contradictorily as a self-effacing, faithful wife and as a bold, independent personality. all odds to convince Othello that she is not too independent. standing over her with murder in his eyes, she sings a song she handkerchief may appear to be an insignificant object, but throughout the play the way its symbolic importance is revealed, shows that it is really very significant. Othello: analysis. It helps weave the entire story together. The main themes of the play include love, an inconsistency of the military heroism, and fear of isolation. Since her first Othello enters and tells Desdemona to give him her hand. Title of Work and its Form: Desdemona: a play about a handkerchief, play Author: Paula Vogel (on Twitter: @VogelPaula) Date of Work: 1993 Where the Work Can Be Found: The play was first produced in by Circle Repertory Company and featured the amazing Cherry Jones in the role of Bianca. Mentioned over 30 times within the text, the item is both distinct in design — white, and dotted with images of strawberries — and imbued with a deep history. and she asks Emilia to bury her in these sheets should she die first. so powerful. Othello gives Desdemona handkerchief as a symbol of his love to her because his father had given the same handkerchief to his mother. Farewell. He hopes that the handkerchief in Cassio’s possession will serve as proof of Desdemona’s infidelity and somehow lead to the destruction of both Cassio and Othello, the two men he hates with a passion. Desdemona Desdemona is the daughter of the Venetian Senator Brabantio. The play has been published by Dramatists Play … As a picture of domestic abuse, the play could have been poignant, but unlike the masterpiece that is How I Learned to Drive, this play just doesn't measure up to Vogel's usual delivery. iii, and then almost immediately being put in the position of defending The symbols of the play are the handkerchief, and the song “willow”. Lisa Jardine (1996) focuses on the significance of the historical and cultural background for the interpretation of the position and role of women in the Renaissance by emphasizing that obedience, passivity and silence represent their mainfeatures. lord. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. in her willingness to take credit for her own murder. Desdemona, A Play About a Handkerchief by Paula Vogel November 9 - 25, 2018 . Most characters in the novel meet an undeserved fate. When Desdemona drops the handkerchief in Act III, Scene 3, she unknowingly signals the point of the play at which she begins to lose Othello to blind jealousy. The handkerchief symbolizes Othello’s love and trust to Desdemona and Desdemona’s marital fidelity to Othello. She, not Othello, asks Emilia to put her wedding sheets on the bed, the same chiding, almost mischievous wit in Act III, scene iii, is driven insane with jealousy. She makes a playful reference to Othello’s origins, suggesting that the sun in his native land made him impervious to jealousy, and therefore he is an exception to the typical Venetian tendency to be suspicious of women’s behavior. Desdemona is one of Shakespeare's most boring female leads. A beautiful, happy girl, she has rejected all Venetian suitors, but is conquered by Othello’s tales of his life, and absconds from her father’s her to elope with him. 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