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Why Does Desdemona Marry Othello In the last scene of Othello Desdemona recovers long enough from the smothering that her jealous husband has inflicted upon her to pronounce her complete innocence and with her last breath tells Emilia a guiltless death I die V ii l120 Plainly Iago has deceived Othello into believing that his beautiful young wife has committed adultery with his once-trusted second in command Cassio That being so Desdemona is clearly innocent of the charges embodied in Iagos cunning innuendoes and is a victim who does not deserve the tragic end that she suffers Nevertheless Desdemona has put herself in a position to be a victim by virtue of her decision to marry the Moor and to go with him to the isolated embattled post of Cyprus where Othello possesses not only the moral authority of a spouse but also the legal powers of a governor The question naturally arises Why does Desdemona make these tandem choices By the time that we first see Desdemona in the middle of Act I scene iii we have been told that she is a young Venetian noblewoman the beloved daughter of Senator Brabantio who has married the military hero of the city-state without her fathers consent or foreknowledge Desdemona certainly realizes that her elopement with Othello and her sharing of honeymoon quarters with this Barbary horse at the unsavory sounding Sagittary Inn is bound to evoke her fathers wrath Indeed when we first hear Desdemona speak her divided duty defense I iii ll178-188 she appears to have anticipated the need to make her case to both Brabantio and the rulers of Venice Her plea is tightly reasoned and pivots upon a straightforward analogy between her own situation and that of her mother Desdemonas speech is largely devoid of emotional appeal and rests upon the natural precedent of married women transferring their first loyalties from fathers to husbands What she conveniently omits is that she
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