The marriage of Desdemona and Othello should have been a good match. Upon meeting Othello, Desdemona was immediately enthralled by his charisma and exotic qualities. Othello was also able to impress Desdemona’s father, which helped his cause considerably. In fact, he makes the claim that Desdemona’s “father loved me, oft invited me, / Still questioned me the story of my life / From year to year,” (I.iii.127–129) which shows that Desdemona wanted to marry him because of the person that he is. It could be argued, on the other hand, that Othello married Desdemona for his own status, as he wished to be included in the same social circle as her and her family. This was difficult for him to achieve, however, as he was always looked at as an outsider by society because of his African heritage. This led to problems in the marriage, as Othello always felt beneath Desdemona on some level.
During this play, Othello is portrayed as a jealous character who lets nearly everything bother him to the point where he eventually begins to behave not as a noble, but rather as a commoner. One can start addressing Othello’s insecurities with the racial issues that he encounters during this play as a result of his African heritage. At the beginning of the play, Roderigo and Iago refer to Othello as “the Moor” (I,i,57) and also make reference to his “thick-lips” (I,i,66). Even though Othello is revered as a general, he is still thought of as a second-class citizen due to his race. Othello is very aware of his differences from the rest of the citizens of Venice and, therefore, he is very self-conscious about it. This is one of the reasons why he is so insecure about his relationship with Desdemona. Since the rest of society sees him as being an outsider, and possibly even socially inferior, part of him believes that Desdemona will believe that also and, thus, she will be unfaithful to him.