Essay On Women In Othello And A Streetcar Named Desire

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Although being written centuries apart, the limited expectations of women presented in ‘Othello’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ differ little from each other. The female characters are confined by society’s expectations of male dominance, female purity and virginity, and the many passive roles of women. Despite the differing legalities surrounding the position of women between the centuries in which the plays were written, both plays explore the impact of how societal conventions confine women and the ways they must comply to be safe in a patriarchal society. The behaviours and treatments of Desdemona, Blanche and Stella illustrate the attitudes enforced on and the behaviours of women throughout both periods in time and it is these attitudes and behaviours that impact the plays to the greatest extent. When characters in either plays defy their norms, or demonstrate a lack of compliance they induce negative consequences, such as the murder of Desdemona and the institutionalisation of Blanche. In Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’, Desdemona is spoken about as if she is Brabantio’s possession; his ‘white ewe’. Not only does the …show more content…

The line ‘I’m looking for my sister, Stella DuBois. I mean- Mrs Stanley Kowalski’ delivered by Blanche, in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, illuminates the similar attitudes towards women throughout the Jacobean and post-war eras. The separation of the common noun ‘sister’ and the noun ‘Mrs’ illustrates the separate roles of a sister and a wife, particularly as sister comes before wife chronologically, but the impact is on the correction, as a wife was seen as a more important role than a sister, which is similar to the separation of Desdemona’s roles as a daughter and a wife. Even though Blanche is a woman, and women were legally independent, she assigns her sister to a man because of the powerful societal regulations which she has been exposed and fallen victim

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