There are a number of contradictory perceptions of Othello and Desdemona in Act One as each character views them from a different perspective according to their relationship with them.
Immediately in Act One we are introduced to how the characters Iago and Roderigo view Othello as they describe him as an old black ram and a Barbary horse. This perception of Othello draws attention to his sexual appetite and race and creates the impression that Othello is like a wild, uncontrollable beast who behaves in a bestial manner towards his sexual prey. This insight of Othello is however a sharp contrast with the Dukes view as he describes him as more fair than black which implies that he is a pillar of society and is valiant and respected. On closer inspection, one can infer that perhaps Iagos view is critical of Othello as he is jealous of him as he is only an Ancient therefore is inferior to Othello.
Another opinion of Othello is that he is a foul thief that has stowed Desdemona. This view from Brabantio conveys Othellos character as dishonest, criminal and untrustworthy. However, a contradictory perception of him is that his demerits may speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune. This view describes him as a man of very distinguished royal blood and a man of high respect, value and status who is both trusted and needed to protect the interests of Venice.
Othello is described as a lascivious Moor and this contemporary view of him suggests he is sexually predatory and voracious however, he insists that even on his wedding night he is prepared to be apart from Desdemona and wants her to come to Cyprus with him not to please the palate of my appetite. These views are contradictory as they both display opposite traits of his sexual desires as both sexually voracious and abstemious.
Another assessment of Othello is that he is an extravagant and wheeling stranger which suggests that he is exotic, foreign and an outsider who cannot be trusted however, he says that Her father loved me, oft invited me. This perception explains that Brabantio respected Othello and was interested in his wild, elaborate and exciting past adventures. These are contradictory perceptions of Othello as they both show opposite opinions of how Othello was regarded.
Othello claims to be an ineloquent and deficient speaker and says that Rude am I in speech. This perception of himself however, is proved contradictory to the actual way he does speak as his speech is very articulate, eloquent, respectful and flattering. His speech is so good that the Duke confides that his tale would win my daughter too which is again a contradiction with Brabantios allegations that Othello used magic and charms to win his daughter.
Othello is accused of challenging patriarchy convention when he elopes with Desdemona, however, when confronted by vitriolic and contemptuous Brabantio, he behaves responsibly, reasonably and measured despite being called a Barbarian. When approached with swords he behaves contradictory to this perception by behaving in a civilised way by not fighting and insisting to Brabantio that he shall command with years Than with weapons.
Finally, another perception of Othello from Iago is that he is too honest, trustworthy and naive and Iago criticises his disposition. This claim is disrespectful and, as Iago is dishonest, self-regarding and deceiving, Othellos comment that Honest Iago can be trusted is a contradiction.
A perception of Desdemona is that she is a white ewe meaning an innocent, truthful and obedient girl however, in contradiction to this she disobeys her father by eloping with Othello and marrying him without telling Brabantio.
Contradictory perceptions of Desdemona also include the fact that she is viewed as honest and open, however, when she elopes with Othello she not only challenges patriarchy and the law of Venice by behaving independently but she also deceives her father She has deceived her father and may thee which shows that she is dishonest and deceitful.
Desdemona is described as A maiden never bold which shows that Brabantio presents her as passive, compliant, weak and mild however, in contrast to this perception she acts bold, revolting and active and speaks frankly about her sexual rights, her courtship and their love and insists The rites for which I love him are bereft me.
Another contradictory perception of Desdemona is that she is shy as she would have Blushed at herself if approached but contrary to this she is acts forward, confidently and daring as she hinted to Othello that she liked him by saying that if he had a friend that loved her he should tell the story to her And that would woo her which is an obvious indication of her feelings.
Desdemona is perceived as a chattel and a possession of her fathers which reveals the low and demeaning status of women and she is described as a lawful prize however, contrary to this her behaviour is unconventional as she chooses her husband based on love therefore challenging her fathers authority. Also perhaps there is a contradiction that she went against nature by choosing Othello as he is black and a Moor instead white and Venetian.
Lastly, there is a contradiction between her commitment to Othello which she says That I did love the Moor to live with him and Iagos view that their marriage will not last as she is shallow and only the beginning of their relationship will be passionate It was a violent commencement in her, and thou shalt see an answerable sequestration.
So, to conclude, I would argue that Othello and Desdemona are perceived in a large number of contradictory ways as each character sees them differently such as Iago and Roderigo who, because they dislike and despise Othello, focus on his race and colour whilst the Duke sees Othello for his worth as a great, brave and inspirational military leader.