Non-masculine Roles in Othello Essay

Non-masculine Roles in Othello Essay

Length: 2029 words (5.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Non-masculine Roles in Othello  

 
   In William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello the three women characters have interesting roles. Through the dialogue and action other roles are stated or implied as applying to women.

 

In “Historical Differences: Misogyny and Othello” Valerie Wayne presents Desdemona’s reaction to Iago’s verbal expressions concerning women’s role as sexual objects:

 

Iago instead claims that four different kinds of women are sexually wanton: either their beauty or intelligence help them to bed, or their ugliness or foolishness get them there anyway. Fair or foul, wise or foolish, women are all whores to him. Desdemona dismisses this ‘miserable praise’ as ‘old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i’ th’ alehouse’ (136-7), but it is a particularly rank form of such mockery that dilates in every instance upon women as objects for sexual use and then blames them, as whores, for a use constructed by that discourse. (163)

 

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:...


... middle of paper ...


...er own husband as the evil mastermind behind the murder 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.

 

 

WORKS CITED

 

Bevington, David, ed. William Shakespeare: Four Tragedies. New York: Bantam Books, 1980.

 

Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos.

 

Wayne, Valerie. “Historical Differences: Misogyny and Othello.” The Matter of Difference: Materialist Feminist Criticism of Shakespeare. Ed Valerie Wayne. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991.

e implicates

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Negative Impact of Gender Roles in Othello Essay

- While there have been a great number of changes in the world since Shakespeare wrote Othello, there are a few truths about humanity and society that remain true. Othello is notorious for it’s examination of race, but is not given enough credit for its observations of gender. Iago embodies masculine gender roles in a severe and exaggerated way, allowing his desire for proving his masculinity to corrupt him morally. Iago then turns and uses his own fears of inadequacy against Othello as the root of his revenge and to improve his own self-image....   [tags: Othello Essays]

Term Papers
1061 words (3 pages)

Gender Roles and Racism in Othello Essay

- Gender roles and racism play a big part in Shakespeare’s Othello. “Othello is unique among Shakespeare's great tragedies. Unlike Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, which are set against a backdrop of affairs of state and reverberate with suggestions of universal human concerns, Othello is set in a private world and focuses on the passions and personal lives of its major figures. Indeed, it has often been described as a "tragedy of character" (Locklear). Adding well-developed female characters to the play Othello creates a dimension of gender conflict and feminist views....   [tags: Othello Essays]

Term Papers
1505 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on The Manipulation of Gender Roles in Shakespeare’s Othello

- The Manipulation of Gender Roles in Shakespeare’s Othello Of Shakespeare’s great tragedies, the story of the rise and fall of the Moor of Venice arguably elicits the most intensely personal and emotional responses from its English-speaking audiences over the centuries. Treating the subject of personal human relationships, the tragedy which should have been a love story speaks to both reading and viewing audiences by exploring the archetypal dramatic values of love and betrayal. The final source of the tragic action in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice has been attributed to various psychological, mythical, racial, social sources: Othello’s status as racial outsider...   [tags: Othello Gender]

Term Papers
4758 words (13.6 pages)

Essay on Gender Roles and Racism in Othello

- Gender roles and racism play a big part in Shakespeare’s Othello. “Othello is unique among Shakespeare's great tragedies. Unlike Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, which are set against a backdrop of affairs of state and reverberate with suggestions of universal human concerns, Othello is set in a private world and focuses on the passions and personal lives of its major figures. Indeed, it has often been described as a "tragedy of character" (Locklear). Adding well-developed female characters to the play Othello creates a dimension of gender conflict and feminist views....   [tags: Shakespeare, sociological analysis]

Term Papers
1542 words (4.4 pages)

Feminine Roles in Othello Essay

- Feminine Roles in Othello         A variety of roles have women in them in William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello. Let us in this essay examine the female characters and their roles.   One key role for the heroine of the drama, Desdemona, is to support the general. David Bevington in William Shakespeare: Four Tragedies enlightens us about the hero’s dependence on Desdemona:   Othello’s most tortured speeches (3.4.57-77, 4.2.49-66) reveal the extent to which he equates the seemingly betraying woman he has so depended on for happiness with his own mother, who gave Othello’s father a handkerchief and threatened him with loss of her love if he should lose it....   [tags: Othello essays]

Term Papers
1884 words (5.4 pages)

Feminine Roles in Othello Essay examples

- Feminine Roles in Othello        A variety of roles have women in them in William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello. Let us in this essay examine the female characters and their roles.   One key role for the heroine of the drama, Desdemona, is to support the general. David Bevington in William Shakespeare: Four Tragedies states the hero’s dependence on Desdemona:   Othello’s most tortured speeches (3.4.57-77, 4.2.49-66) reveal the extent to which he equates the seemingly betraying woman he has so depended on for happiness with his own mother, who gave Othello’s father a handkerchief and threatened him with loss of her love if he should lose it....   [tags: Othello essays]

Term Papers
1311 words (3.7 pages)

Othello’s Female Roles Essay

- Othello’s Female Roles         Let’s look at the roles of the three lady-characters in the Shakespearean drama Othello. Their roles are not marginal, but are rather vital to the tragedy.   In the Introduction to Shakespeare’s Othello: The Harbrace Theatre Edition, John Russell Brown summarizes the role of the heroine of the play:   When considered functionally, Desdemona’s role may be seen to be every bit as demanding as those of the principals. The fact that she has far fewer words to speak and is on-stage for a much shorter time detracts nothing from the scope of the role, but rather shows that the actress herself can move the audience with the quiet authority of her stage presen...   [tags: Othello essays]

Term Papers
1933 words (5.5 pages)

Free College Essays - Roles of Cassio, Roderigo, and Brabantio in Shakespeare's Othello

- Roles of Cassio, Roderigo, and Brabantio in Othello    From Shakespeare's play Othello, this paper will be discussing the roles    of Cassio, Roderigo and Brabantio, and their functions.    First, Cassio. Cassio is an honourable lieutenant and a soldier, who is    very loyal and caring towards his commanding officer, Othello, as shown    in one of many places, act two scene one line 45-48 when he is concerned    about Othello's well being because he has been lost at sea and says: Thanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle, That so approve the Moor....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Othello]

Free Essays
888 words (2.5 pages)

Custom Written Term Papers: Othello’s Feminine Roles

- Othello’s Feminine Roles         The audience finds within the Shakespearean tragic drama Othello several female characters who figure into the plot of the play. Their roles are varied and their lives end tragically.   Alvin Kernan’s “Othello: an Introduction” explains Desdemona’s role as a model of faith and chastity for the protagonist who converts to a belief in her after her death:   His willingness to speak of what he has done – in contrast to Iago’s sullen silence – is a willingness to recognize the meaning of Desdemona’s faith and chastity, to acknowledge that innocence and love do exist, and that therefore The City can stand, though his life is required to validate the trut...   [tags: Othello essays]

Free Essays
2617 words (7.5 pages)

The Influence of Masculine Gender Roles in "The Yellow Wallpaper"

- Interpretive Essay on "The Yellow Wallpaper" "The Yellow Wallpaper" tells the story of a woman living in the nineteenth century who suffers from postpartum depression. The true meaning implicit in Charlotte's story goes beyond a simple psychological speculation. The story consists of a series of cleverly constructed short paragraphs, in which the author illustrates, through the unnamed protagonist's experiences, the possible outcome of women's acceptance of men's supposed intellectual superiority....   [tags: American Literature]

Term Papers
1685 words (4.8 pages)