This only is the witchcraft I have used. ” –Othello (act 1, scene 3, 167-169) Othello and Desdemona’s manifestly love-filled relationship was somewhat shielded by society’s views of the age, social position and race differences, that would evidently cause implications. In the late sixteenth century, the time in which Othello is based, it was disreputable to do anything that was thought of as abnormal, for example, marrying below your class. Othello and Desdemona’s relationship was quickly looked down upon, simply due to the fact that it was seen as unconventional at the time.
The implications that were apparent in the relationship were; the fact that Desdemona was considerably younger then Othello, the difference in social position of the two, and of course the obvious reason, being that Othello was dark skinned and Desdemona fair skinned. Beneath these implications, the two shared a deep, meaningful and adoring relationship, for the start of the play, that is. It is believed that Desdemona was only eighteen, when she married Othello, who was thirty-five.
While this was not uncommon at the time, it still had an affect on the relationship, as Othello was so much more mature then her. It was a tradition that the man would provide for the woman, so she would not have to work, her only duties being domestic. This is what caused the normality of such an age gap, an established man who would wed a woman of childbearing age. The age difference of the two also suggests that Othello has power over her, being the older and more mature one.
One of the reasons that Othello believed that Desdemona and Michael Casio were having an affair, is because of how much younger he was then Othello, which made Othello feel threatened. Overall, age has very little impact on the relationship, as it was considered normal at the time. Social position also impacted Othello and Desdemona’s relationship, as they were from different social classes. Desdemona was the daughter of a senator, a well regarded, upper class man.
Othello was a General in the Venetian Military, and while that was a highly classed job, it was considered below Desdemona’s class. In the late sixteenth century, the man was generally from a higher class then the woman, hence why Desdemona and Othello’s relationship was objected to. Social position was an influence in Othello’s belief of Desdemona’s betrayal, as he thought that he wasn’t good enough for her. The most influential impact on Othello and Desdemona’s relationship was the differences in race.
Differences in races have –and will- impact on relationships for a very long time. Desdemona was fair skinned, as was the rest of her family, and Othello was a dark-skinned Moor. Race discrimination has been an issue for thousands of years, with the common misconception, that ‘whites’ are better then ‘blacks’. Othello and Desdemona put this judgment aside, and fell in love with each other. This, of course, shocked others around them, primarily Desdemona’s father, Brabantio. Brabantio had liked and trusted Othello, before he found out that he was with his daughter.
He couldn’t accept them being together, and believed that Othello had put a spell on Desdemona, as ‘black’ people were often presumed to be part takers of witchcraft. Othello also felt threatened by other ‘white’ man around Desdemona, particularly Casio, which made him jump to the conclusion of the affair. Race had the biggest impact on Othello and Desdemona’s unusual, yet genuine, relationship. Othello and Desdemona’s short-lived marriage was faced by the implications of differences in age, social position and race. These were what ultimately drove Othello to do the unimaginable act of killing Desdemona.
He could not handle someone else being younger, higher class and a more affluent race then him, appearing to jeopardize his and Desdemona’s relationship. Other people, and society’s view of their relationship was also a factor in the failure of it. As soon as other people become involved in a relationship between two people, it starts to crumble. Brabantio, Iago and Michael Cassio all got caught up in the relationship, which lead to the tragedy of the two, once lovebirds. Othello and Desdemona’s once perfect relationship, could not sustain from the implications of age, social position and race.