The Three Women Portrayed in Shakespeare's Othello

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The basis of Shakespeare’s plays appears to focus mainly around the dominant male character and his conflicts, which tend to deal with a woman. There are only three women in the play Othello; Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca. The way in which these women behave and present themselves strongly reflects the ideological expectations of women within Shakespeare’s imagined Venetian society as well as the Elizabethan society in which he lived. This patriarchal Venetian society presented in the play depicts women as possessions of men who should remain submissive and meek at all times. The women are expected to unselfishly and unreservedly devote their lives to serve their fathers until they are of age to do so, their husbands. All three women love their respective partners; however, all three are also rejected by them because they each devote more to their men than their men are capable of returning. Desdemona and Emilia display genuine emotions toward each other that are not reflected in any of the male to male associations. Each of the three women represents levels of class, virtue and in...

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