How does Shakespeare reconcile women in what The Norton Shakespeare terms a romance play? Given the tragic outcomes of certain female characters (i.e., Desdemona and Juliet), sexuality must be promptly considered. Desdemona’s “jeopardized” fidelity ignites Othello’s murdering hands. Her sexuality controls him. In the same way, it might be argued that severe sexuality is the compulsion of Romeo and Juliet.
A Feminist Analysis of Othello In William Shakespeare’s tragic play Othello there are numerous instances of obvious sexism aimed at the three women in the drama -- Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca – and aimed at womankind generally. Let us delve into this subject in this paper. In the essay “Wit and Witchcraft: an Approach to Othello” Robert B. Heilman discusses a scene which occurs late in the play and which is sexist: When Othello summons Desdemona and dismisses Emilia, “Leave procreants alone . . .
Shakespeare’s Hamlet, shows strong prejudice against woman especially with such characters of Ophelia and Gertrude. Shakespeare created an interesting character with Gertrude; he created a character that sits in the middle of all the conflict and appears to not partake in much of it. However Gertrude does seem intent in defusing it at every possible chance she receives. Gertrude is a central figure in the play. She appears a great deal but doesn’t say much – implying mystery and creating an interesting uncertainty in the audience.
His insufficiency is more surprising because elsewhere in the play Iago appears as a master rhetorician, but as Bloch explains, ‘the misogynistic writer uses rhetoric as a means of renouncing it, and, by extension, woman.’ (163) Even the noble general yielded to the sexist remarks and insinuations of his ancient, thus developing a reprehensible attitude toward his lovely and faithful wife. Angela Pitt in “Women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies” comments on the Moor’s sexist treatment of Desdemona: Desdemona has, therefore, some quite serious faults as a wife, including a will of her own, which was evident even before she was married. This does not mean that she merits the terrible accusations flung at her by Othello, nor does she in any way deserve her death, but she is partly responsible for the tragic action of the play. Othello’s behavior and mounting jealousy are made more comprehensible if we remember what Elizabethan husbands might expect of their wives. (45) In the opening scene, while Iago is expressing his hatred for the general Othello for his selection... ... middle of paper ... ...reason to the same extent, or even greater than, men; and that men are passion-driven moreso than are women.
What is overlooked, however, are the effects and the drastically different results of the same condition (or at least, a condition that closely parallels Hamlet's) on the play's second most confounding character, Ophelia. Early in the play (Act 1, Scene 2), during the first of many insightful soliloquies (insightful for us as much for him), Hamlet utters, somewhat offhandedly, a summation of his feelings towards his mother's "o'erhasty marriage": "Frailty thy name is woman." Offensive though the quip may be to women of contemporary society (and any not quite passive women of Shakespeare's era), Hamlet's comment was, in many respects, indicative of the prevailing attitude, at least among most men, of the time. Although exceptions to the social system were far from nonexistent (Queen Elizabeth being the most obvious example), women were discriminated against to such an extent... ... middle of paper ... ... New York: Philosophical Library, 1970. Emerson, Kathy Lynn.
Much of the literature composed in Elizabethan England reflects, whether deliberately or inadvertently, the gender inequities cited by Callaghan, Novy, and others. In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, the dynamics of the marriage between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth involve a mutual striving towards manhood as a result of misplaced gender traits in each. Shakespeare develops the androgyny of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and this becomes the basis for the offenses they commit in the play. Both characters achieve a position of power and authority through the use of their masculine characteristics, but their feminine characteristics make their gains tenuous and ultimataly cause their downfall. Throughout the play Shakespeare presents the feminine traits within Macbeth as the characteristics that mark him as a flawed man.
"Morag Gunn in Fictional Context: The Career Woman Theme in The Diviners." New Perspectives on Margaret Laurence: Poetic Narrative, Multiculturalism, and Feminism. Ed. Greta M. K. McCormick Coger. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1996.
A feminist analysis of Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart. Retrieved from http://voices.yahoo.com/a-femanist-analysis-chinua-achebes-novel-things-3187491.html?cat=38 Mezu, R. U. (2013). Women in Achebe’s world. Retrieved from http://www.nigeriaviallagesquare.com/forum/books-creative-writing/4420-women-achebes-world.html Strong-Leek, L., (2001).
Cambridge [England: Cambridge UP, 1993. Print. Tassi, Marguerite A. Women and Revenge in Shakespeare: Gender, Genre, and Ethics. Selinsgrove [Pa.: Susquehanna UP, 2011.
Some may argue that Ophelia is one of the causes of Hamlet’s ‘madness’ and his recoil from love. The reaction Hamlet has to Ophelia, at the play for example, allows us to watch Hamlet’s disintegration- he is crude and sexually offensive towards Ophelia which allows us to see the way Hamlet is changing throughout the play. Gertrude is also arguably crucial in displaying motifs of the play. Hamlet sees his mother as a representation of how weak and frail women are-she is the reason he views women in this way. This shapes Hamlet’s opinion of women dur... ... middle of paper ... ...Women, Madness and the Responsibilites of Feminist Criticism’ page 113 in Martine Coyle (ed) ‘New Case Books: Contemporary Critical Essays” (C Palgrave 1992)  Elaine Showalter ‘Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness and the Responsibilites of Feminist Criticism’ page 114 in Martine Coyle (ed) ‘New Case Books: Contemporary Critical Essays” (C Palgrave 1992)  Vieda Skultans, ‘English Madness: Ideas on Insanity 1580-1890’ (London, 1997) in Elaine Showalter ‘Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness and the Responsibilites of Feminist Criticism’ page 118 in Martine Coyle (ed) ‘New Case Books: Contemporary Critical Essays” (C Palgrave 1992)  Rebecca Smith, ‘A Heart Cleft in Twain: The Dilemma of Shakespeare’s Gertrude’ page 82 in Martine Coyle (ed) ‘New Case Books: Contemporary Critical Essays” (C Palgrave 1992)