Women In Shakespeare's Othello

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Throughout Othello, the reader can find that the female characters are presented similarly to the expectations of Shakespearean Elizabethan society as well as the patriarchal Venetian society. Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca are the only three women in the play. This essay will focus on the feminist interpretation of Othello and how Othello provided an enabling outlet for feminist anger. Focusing closely on the representation and views of the female characters.
During Shakespearean times a male’s perspective on a woman was in my opinion quite demeaning as females were expected to be much more passive than they are currently. The men in Othello have differing views of women. From Othello who idolizes his wife to Iago who sees love as "merely
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However, this isn’t foreign to Othello, as the first senator wishes Othello well and mentions ‘Use Desdemona well’ (Othello: Act 1. Sc. 3. 12). The word ‘use’ suggests Othello to ‘look after’ Desdemona, but it also agrees to the Venetian expectancy of women, that they are to bow to the needs of their husbands who may use them in any way they wish. The purpose of women in a marriage is defined by Othello’s ‘loving’ words towards Desdemona in Act two. He says: ‘Come, my dear love…The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue’ (Othello: Act 2. Sc 3. 8-9). This quote suggests marriage is described as an act of ‘purchase’. A woman is bought by her husband, more as a goodwill, and is anticipated to fulfil his sexual desires in return for the…show more content…
It is also Iago who views women as a form of ownership. He obviously sees his wife as a possession. This is evident as he shows no respect nor actual love towards her. ‘Twixt my sheets. He’s done my office’ (Othello: Act 1. Sc. 3. 15). He’s infatuated by revenge on Othello for thinking he slept with his wife Emilia. The text suggests that Iago displays the tiniest amount of love for Emilia. He insults her in public and towards the end kills her off. The reason for Iago’s rage can be argued that it is because of ‘The lusty moor. Hath leapt into my seat’ (Othello: Act 2, Sc 1. 13). Meaning that Othello has used something of Iago’s. And it drives him very mad. What glues Iago’s rage and his treatment of his wife is the fact that Iago describes his wife metaphorically, his office as well as his seat. He objectifies her and takes away her humanity. Ultimately for Iago to gain his revenge: he uses both female characters Desdemona and Emilia as pawns in his wicked game. Iago wishes to be ’evened with him, wife for wife’ (Othello: Act 2. Sc. 1. 13) which means sleeping with Desdemona, he believes that Othello and himself will then be equal in doing so. Iago doesn’t care about Desdemona and Emilia’s feelings especially when he’s creating his revenge. Iago is said to be the exact example of a character who take females as possessions. Through his words and his thoughts, he demonstrates the fact that women in both
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