Essay about Treatment of Women in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Frankenstein, and Othello

Essay about Treatment of Women in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Frankenstein, and Othello

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When we consider the patriarchal societies presented in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams (1954), Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818) and Othello by William Shakespeare (1602), and attempt to draw conclusions between them, perhaps due to the two-hundred years passing amid the texts, the patriarchal society presented in Othello, one which values bravery and honour, as seen in act I scene II, by Othello ascribing Desdemona’s love of him as owing to the “battles, sieges, fortunes that I have pass’d”; contrasts with that shown in Frankenstein, whereby, as Dr Siv Jannsson comments, Shelley reveals the, “confrontation between a scientific pursuit as seen as masculine and a feminine nature which is perverted and destroyed by masculinity”2. Consequently, these differences allow us to establish how far the treatment imposed upon women in the texts, is due to the differing patriarchal societies presented by the writers, or whether the suffering of the women, is caused by the individual dispositions of the male and female characters. Yet, what makes this question so intriguing is that, despite the age gap between the texts, each writer presents universal truths about human nature, jealousy and ambition. In contrast to Othello and Frankenstein, whose main female protagonists are relatively ineffectual; Williams presents Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, as a strong woman enduring the patriarchal society, yet simultaneously challenging it to save her husband, Brick, from his flaw of alcoholism.
Equally, through Othello in Othello and Victor in Frankenstein, the two writers reveal flaws in their individual dispositions; this leads us to question the extent to which the patriarchal societies have shaped the character’s flaw, and thus ...


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...illiam and thus “perished on the scaffold as a murderess” for a crime she did not commit. With Desdemona however, on one hand we could interpret her last words in act IV scene II of “nobody- myself – farewell” in response to Emilia’s question of “o, who hath done this deed?” upon finding her dying, as the words of a helpless and hapless victim giving into the patriarchal society – a common critical outlook of her, that she – or we may consider that it is her love for Othello, which leads her to cover him as a murder. The latter would imply that it is perhaps not the oppressive treatment of the patriarchal society that is influencing Desdemona’s reaction, yet the individual disposition of love. This in turn would suggest that Desdemona is actually a character in her own right and not an instrument used by Shakespeare to reveal the effects of a patriarchal society.

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