(in Shakespeare's Othello). Daughter of Brabantio. She fell in love with Othello, and eloped with him. Iago, acting on the jealous temper of the Moor, made him believe that his wife had an intrigue with Cassio, and in confirmation of this statement told the Moor that she had given Cassio a pocket-handkerchief, the fact being that Iago's wife, to gratify her husband, had purloined it. Othello asked his bride for it, but she was unable to find it; whereupon the Moor murdered her and then stabbed himself.
“She ... was ready to listen and weep, like Desdemona, at the stories of his dangers and campaigns.” —Thackeray.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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