In William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello, the wife of the protagonist, Desdemona, is the main female character. Secondly, there is the ancient’s wife, Emilia, who is morally ambivalent. Thirdly, there is the girlfriend of Michael Cassio, Bianca, who makes her appearance later in the drama. This essay will analyze the roles of these three women.
At the outset of the play Iago persuades the rejected suitor of Desdemona, Roderigo, to accompany him to the home of Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, in the middle of the night. Once there the two awaken the senator with loud shouts about his daughter’s elopement with Othello. This is the initial reference to the role of women in the play – the role of wife. In response to the noise and Iago’s vulgar descriptions of Desdemona’s involvement with the general, Brabantio arises from bed. Iago’s bawdy references to the senator’s daughter present a second role of women – that of illicit lover. With Roderigo’s help, he gathers a search party to go and find Desdemona and bring her home. The father’s attitude is that life without his Desdemona will be much worse than before:
It is too true an evil: gone she is;
And what's to come of my despised time
Is nought but bitterness. (1.1)
Here is seen another role or function of women in the drama – that of comforter for the aged. Brabantio is the old father, and he hates to lose the comforting services of his Desdemona. The daughter’s husband Othello expresses his sentiments to Iago regarding his relationship with the senator’s daughter, saying
that I love the gentle Desdemona,
I would not my unhoused free condition
Put into circumscriptio...
... middle of paper ...
...y true!” and accuses him of lying:
You told a lie, an odious, damned lie;
Upon my soul, a lie, a wicked lie.
She false with Cassio! (5.2)
Then she accuses him of causing murder: “And your reports have set the murder on.” Emilia’s stunning interrogation and conviction of her own husband as the evil mastermind behind the crime results in Iago’s killing her. Despondent Othello, grief-stricken by remorse for the tragic mistake he has made, stabs himself and dies on the bed next to his wife.
Thus it is seen that the roles of women are many and varied – and are key to the successful development of the story.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Role of Women in Othello In William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello, the wife of the protagonist, Desdemona, is the main female character. Secondly, there is the ancient’s wife, Emilia, who is morally ambivalent. Thirdly, there is the girlfriend of Michael Cassio, Bianca, who makes her appearance later in the drama. This essay will analyze the roles of these three women. At the outset of the play Iago persuades the rejected suitor of Desdemona, Roderigo, to accompany him to the home of Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, in the middle of the night.... [tags: Othello essays]
1748 words (5 pages)
- The role of the women in Othello has exceptionally changed from 1603 to today. Women now have more rights than what they were offered in the 1600s. During the duration of this play, the prominent group of people are the men. The men believe they own women as their property, even the father’s own them. Women not supposed to cheat on men but men may have an unlimited number of mistresses and wives. The women in the play, Desdemona, Bianca, and Emilia, have known of this treatment and even talk of such.... [tags: Othello, Iago, Abuse, Gender role]
1533 words (4.4 pages)
- The Role of Women in Othello If we are to assume, as Richard Levin speculates, that women were in the audiences of many Renaissance plays, it is then highly possible that feminine stage images were affected by their presence(165). Likewise, the issues represented by these images would have been constructed to take these women into account in order to satisfy them as paying customers. Levin offers only a "tentative hypothesis on the incorporation of feminine sentiment into Renaissance drama.... [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Othello]
1607 words (4.6 pages)
- The society in which Othello takes place is a patriarchal one, where men had complete control over women. They were seen as possessions rather than being just as equally human and capable of duties performed by men. All women of the Elizabethan were to obey all men, fathers, brothers, husbands, etc. Which leads me to the most reliable and trustworthy character of Desdemona, whom goes through many trials just to satisfy her love. Shakespeare brings the thought of Desdemona into the play by Barbantio, her father, “It is too true an evil.... [tags: othello]
815 words (2.3 pages)
- The Role of Women in Othello At the beginning of Othello two men stand and discuss the fate of a woman. One contested for her and lost and the other willingly admits to her beauty, charm and worth. Both men wish to bring down the man who has won her, Desdemona, and slander her name nonetheless. This man, their rival and superior is none other than Othello. Othello has managed to obtain something they could not; Desdemona. Throughout the play Desdemona is rarely viewed as a human being, she is merely a prize, and from the very beginning Desdemona is an object of lust.... [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Othello]
2704 words (7.7 pages)
- Role of Women in Othello Throughout history the role of women has been heavily debated. Women have had to struggle for the rights they have today, even if some of us may still question if women really do have the same rights as a man. Whether it was getting the right to vote or even being able to join the work force, women have earned their place in society today. There are many avenues that you could take to see and understand the role of women throughout history. For this essay, we will look at William Shakespeare's Othello to see how he interputs women.... [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]
904 words (2.6 pages)
- The Role of Women in Othello by William Shakespeare Shakespeare's Othello is commonly regarded as a work depicting man's ability to use his reason towards evil intentions. A lowly ancient in a general's army is able to destroy him through manipulation and deceit. But although Iago's deceit of Othello is undoubtedly a central theme in the play, another theme regarding the nature of the man towards woman is apparent. Shakespeare's Othello suggests that men mistreat women because women, as a sex, allow themselves to be mistreated.... [tags: Papers]
606 words (1.7 pages)
- The Role Of Women in Othello In Shakespeare's Othello, as in most writings of his time, women are viewed as trophies or objects to capture the attention of men. I do not doubt that these men do love their wives, but the love, respect and admiration for their women is much different that of our time. It seems modern women are much more capable of having what could be known as an "equal opportunity" marriage. In the days of sacred virginity, and honesty of one's word, well off women such as Desdemona were not given responsibility.... [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]
1455 words (4.2 pages)
- Role of Women in Shakespeare’s Othello In Shakespeare’s Othello, the role of women is greatly emphasized. The important characters of the play, Othello, Iago, and Cassio, each have a women that stands behind him. These women each have an obligation to remain loyal and respect their husband's wishes, especially Desdemona and Emilia. We see Desdemona as a young beautiful white female, madly in love with a powerful black man. She is strong inside but doesn't tend to show that side of her as much as she would want to.... [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]
1050 words (3 pages)
- In the play "Othello", Shakespeare presents us with another male dominated society where women are inferior. Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca are rejected by their partners, but love them completely and unselfishly. All three women are in unbalanced relationships, feeling more for their self-centered men who appear unable to reciprocate. Nevertheless, these women display genuine feelings toward each other unlike any of the male-male friendships. Desdemona and Emilia are both married to career military soldiers.... [tags: William Shakespeare]
1136 words (3.2 pages)