At a time when women were almost nothing and did as they were told, Desdemona throws tradition in the face of her father. Not only does she run off and get married but she chooses someone her family would not approve of.
She sneaks off in the night and marries Othello. This is extremely bold. If we remember in A Midsummer Night’s Dream Egeus proclaims “I may dispose of her,/ Which shall be either to this gentleman /Or to her death, according to our law” (1.1.42-44). This was a man Hermia was asking to marry; not someone she ran off with. If people of the time considered it legal to murder your daughter because she wouldn’t marry who you wanted, what did the laws say about father’s rights to a daughter who ran away and married an unapproved man. I’d say she risked her life!
When confronted about the marriage she stands her ground comparing her marriage to Othello with her mother’s marriage to Brabanzio. She claims that since she is married she now belongs to Othello “so much I challenge that I may profess / Due to the Moor my lord.” (1.3.188-189). This is a way of rubbing it in his face saying there’s nothing he can do now, I’m married.
She interrupts the “men’s discussion” on where to “accommodate and besort”. Giving her piece of mind and opinion.
She’s quite well spoken here in that she says she won’t move back in with her father without insulting him by blaming him: “to put my father in impatient thoughts/ by being in his eye”(1.3.242-243). She doesn’t want him to be upset by seeing her after she deceived him. Nice way to get what she wants without insulting anyone (any further).
In a mere 28 lines of speaking, Desdemona proves to be witty, intelligent, strong minded and brave. This makes her one of my favorite characters of the semester so far.