Marriage

Rebecca Birch
Mind Map by Rebecca Birch, updated more than 1 year ago
Rebecca Birch
Created by Rebecca Birch about 4 years ago
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AS - Level English literature (Themes/Symbols in 'Othello') Mind Map on Marriage, created by Rebecca Birch on 03/24/2016.

Resource summary

Marriage
1 Context: In Elizabethan times, arranged marriages were the norm and in most cases, the woman had no idea of who she was marrying. After marriage, the woman legally became her husband's property. Marriages were arranged by the father (typically of the bride) and women were married as young as 12, with this being 14 in men. Interracial weddings were heavily frowned upon, as was eloping to marry a man/woman that had not been approved
2 BRABANTIO'S VIEWS ON D&O'S MARRIAGE
2.1 'O, thou foul thief, where hast thou stowed my daughter?'

Annotations:

  • Act 1, Scene 2 
2.1.1 'foul thief' suggests that he sees Desdemona as his 'property' and that she is something to be owned. He shows anger towards the fact that she has been 'stolen' from him by Othello, which heightens his anger because Othello is a black man
2.2 'Damned as thou art, thou hast enchanted her! For I'll refer me to all things of sense, if she in chains of magic were not bound, whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy, so opposed to marriage that she shunned the wealthy curlèd darlings of our nation, would ever have, to incur a general mock, run from her guardage to the sooty bosom of such a thing as thou - to fear, not to delight! Judge me the world, if 'tis not gross in sense that thou hast practiced on her with foul charms, abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals that weaken motion'

Annotations:

  • Act 1, Scene 2
2.2.1 He claims that Othello must have put a spell on Desdemona in order for her to marry him, because if she had declined all of the upper class, approved men in Venice, then why would she marry him? (Accusing black men of witchcraft was typical of the time as they were seen to be conspiring with the Devil
2.2.2 His voicing of dislike towards Othello's marriage to Desdemona plays on the fear of miscegenation
3 IAGO'S SUSPICIONS ON OTHELLO RUINING HIS MARRIAGE
3.1 'I hate the Moor: and it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets 'has done my office. I know not if't be true, but I, for mere suspicion in that kind, will do as if for surety'

Annotations:

  • Act 1, Scene 3
3.1.1 Claims that Othello has slept with his wife, Emilia, which is another motive for his revenge on Othello
3.1.2 'has done my office' has connotations of doing my job, suggesting that it was a man's 'job' to have sex with his wife. This links to men being the superior gender and how women were suppressed by them
3.1.3 'Abuse him to the Moor in rank garb for I fear Cassio with my nightcap too'

Annotations:

  • Act 2, Scene 1
3.1.3.1 He fears that Cassio has slept with his wife as well. This suggests that Iago has an obsession with infidelity and highlights the lack of trust he has in Emilia (probably because he barely knows her). This also supports the fact that women were stereotypically sexually promiscuous
4 IAGO'S MANIPULATION OF OTHELLO THROUGH HIS MARRIAGE
4.1 IAGO: 'She did deceive her father, marrying you...' OTHELLO: 'And so she did'

Annotations:

  • Act 3, Scene 3
4.1.1 Iago claims that a woman who deceives her father is likely to treat her husband the same way, manipulating Othello to believe the same thing. Rather than seeing her willingness to elope as a sign of loyalty, Othello believes that it is a prelude to infidelity
5 OTHELLO'S VIEWS ON MARRIAGE
5.1 'O curse of marriage, that we can call these delicate creatures ours and not their appetites! I had rather be a toad and live upon the vapor of a dungeon than keep a corner in the thing I love for others' uses. Yet 'tis the plague of great ones; prerogatived are they less than the base. 'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death. Even then this forked plague is fated to us when we do quicken'

Annotations:

  • Act 3, Scene 3
5.1.1 This suggests that he believes that it is in a man's destiny to become a 'cuckold'. Therefore, it is easier to understand why Othello was so easily manipulated by Iago, despite having never shown real evidence
5.2 'What sense had I of her stol'n hours of lust? I saw 't not, thought it not; it harmed not me. I slept the next night well, fed well, was free and merry. I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips. He that is robbed, not wanting what is stol'n, let him not know 't, and he's not robbed at all'

Annotations:

  • Act 3, Scene 3
5.2.1 After finding out about Desdemona's alleged affair with Cassio, Othello says that he would rather not have known
5.2.2 Can also comment on the language in 'He that is robbed' as he treats Desdemona as if she is his property -> this can be compared to the language and beliefs of Brabantio at the beginning of the play when Othello 'steals' Desdemona from him
6 EMILIA
6.1 'I am glad I have found this napkin. This was her first remembrance from the Moor. My wayward husband hath a hundred times Wooed me to steal it. But she so loves the token (For he conjured her she should ever keep it) that she reserves it evermore about her to kiss and talk to. I'll have the work ta'en out and give 't Iago. What he will do with it heaven knows, not I. I nothing but to please his fantasy'

Annotations:

  • Act 3, Scene 3
6.1.1 Despite Iago's constant abuse, Emilia still yearns for his love and approval, linking to how women were inferior and had to do right by men
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