Gender Roles In Othello

1549 Words7 Pages
The Shakespearean classic work Othello enchants the readers mind through the tragic love story of the witty and cunning soldier Othello and the charming and powerful Desdemona. The continuous reinforcement of their tragedy is molded by the gender roles present in the play, particularly those of Bianca, Desdemona, and Emilia. Although the men are important within the outcome of the play, mainly Iago and Othello, the women take a more subtle, yet effective approach in manipulating the work through their personalities. Bianca is a woman of self-esteem and sexual power while Desdemona is the keeper of Othello’s heart and handkerchief, never once denouncing him, even her death. Emilia subtly represents that women are just as powerful, if not more,…show more content…
A grand theme of the play is the fact that Shakespeare wrote Othello as a moor. Interracial matrimony was not considered to be an acceptable thing in the setting of the work. The concept that Desdemona is completely in love with a man not of her own race, not only attests to the attraction between the two, but the societal perspective of the couple. Disregarding the racial aspects of the marriage, the audience is allowed to see the amount and severity of Desdemona’s affection towards Othello despite his military rank and his political power. In the scene in which her darling husband forces a strong hand upon her glistening cheek without the slightest amount of love or desire to caress the skin behind it, the extent to which she loves her spouse is revealed. After being struck and slandered with the harsh term “devil”, Desdemona responds in a less aggressive manor with a simple, “I have not deserved this.” (4.1.189) She neither becomes aggressive nor angered by what occurred, but is rather shocked to have witnessed and experienced something that seemed so impractical and impossible for their relationship. Her response symbolizes her adoration for beyond the initial shock, she becomes timid and blames the encounter of her own doing. A person who did not love another to a high degree would not have such a self-blaming reply to an event they personally could not control as…show more content…
Bianca, Desdemona, and Emilia, the three main women from the play, attest to the struggle of male dominance and the issues of societal stereotypes of the classification and limitation of female roles. At the surface, the powerful women seem timid, loving, and willing to care and aid their freelance husbands. However, when explored in a deeper sense, the females can be described as able, having a sense of self, and have attributes that qualify them as much more than housewives, maidens, and objects; Bianca, Desdemona, and Emilia are described as individuals that allow part of themselves to be shared with men that underappreciate their abilities and profounder
Open Document