Sex in Othello and Hamlet Essay

Sex in Othello and Hamlet Essay

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Sex debases men. They begin to struggle when they feel they are losing control of their emotions in any way. For a woman to easily change the way a man feels or the way he acts just by being female and attractive is enough to drive men insane. William Shakespeare's plays, Othello and Hamlet, demonstrate on paper, on film, and in other art forms that female sexuality and beauty are a threat to patriarchal society and that they must be controlled. Showalter affirms this in her essay by quoting David Laverenze's essay, "The Woman in Hamlet." In this essay he asserts that, " Hamlet's disgust at the feminine passivity in himself translated into violent revulsion against women and into his brutal behavior toward Ophelia" (Showalter 222). As men begin to see feminine aspects within themselves they will go to great lengths to not only deny, but also control these undesirable changes. Shakespeare's two plays are a direct commentary of the male insecurity that exists within relationships.

Shakespeare's message concerning the male preoccupation with masculinity and their resulting fear of feminine sexuality has been portrayed in film, photography, and drawings. The way the women are represented in each genre clearly demonstrates the power of female sexuality. Though separate in style, each artwork clearly shows how the men of the play see the women as sexual powerhouses. The other genres help to reinforce my analysis of the text. In film we can watch hamlet's facial expressions as he reacts to Ophelia's obvious pull over his emotions. Every picture is taken for a reason in photography. Through each frame we are able to analyze the split second of action the photographer intended to capture. Here we are able to see an emotion or movement w...


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...he become and the deeper into his insecurity he falls. Shakespeare's plays, the movies of his plays, and representations of his women through art all work together to create this great social commentary on men in relationships. The plays are obviously extreme since every man who is in love does not kill his lover. The point of the extremity however, is to reveal the gap that may otherwise go unnoticed. Desdemona and Ophelia are far from role models for women. They die and we do not want that. Once again, however their cases are extreme. We learn from them that acting blind to your lover's issues is not what we should strive to achieve. Rather, we should work together to make our sexuality a less foreign object to men. The more comfortable they are with it, the less intimidating it will seem and the more enjoyable it will be for both participants in the relationship.

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