The Consequences Of Patriarchy In Shakespeare's Othello

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Lust and Distrust A tale of passion, the Shakespearean play Othello discusses consequences of patriarchy that surface within romantic relationships. Conflicts of jealousy are sprouted from the seed of assumption, which both Desdemona falls victim to once planted in Othello’s mind. The short lived joy of marriage is overpowered by doubt and manipulation, resulting in fatality. Less dynamic in comparison, Emilia and Bianca’s partners mistreat the women regularly; signifying faults formerly present in each relationship. Each female character possesses a flaw as seen by their male counterparts, who attempt to restrict their sexuality, further undermining their power in a male-dominated society. The severity of restraint determines the fate of…show more content…
The primary instance of spousal abuse directed towards Desdemona is foreshadowed by the words of Iago, “men in rage strike those that wish them best,” (Shakespeare II.iii.243). Thereafter, Othello spirals further into jealousy and Desdemona becomes the victim of unjust punishment, arguing “I have not deserved this,” (Shakespeare IV.i.244). This instance of abuse escalates to premeditated murder. Othello’s stated rationale for ending his wife’s life is “to defend the male world from the contagion of female infidelity,” rather than spiteful revenge; however, this argument is proved hollow as he expresses envious rage (Gruesser 106). Finalizing his violent plan only after Desdemona grieves for Cassio, Othello finds condemning “proof” in her sorrow, exclaiming, “Out strumpet! weep’st thou for him to my face?” (Shakespeare V.ii.77). Although her death is planned, Othello only rashly commits to the actions once his paranoia is triggered. Othello’s immediate response to Desdemona’s death is not remorse, but he stands with the decision, an indication of her degradation to an object of his sexual knowledge. Desdemona’s purity is “de-materialized” with her death to only a symbol of her inability to betray Othello; he fails to understand “that interiority exceeds the act of representation” (Marchitello 554). Emilia reaches a similar fate, murdered by her…show more content…
Bianca holds the lowest position of social influence as a prostitute. Being unmarried, she is not owned by her partner, Cassio. Therefore, she receives her punishment from other members of society such as Iago, who torment her and take advantage of her position. In contrast to the other female characters, Bianca avoids jealousy and violence due to Cassio’s refusal to claim ownership. Comparatively, Emilia holds a higher position of status yet still experiences the masculine authority of sexuality. This is exemplified by Iago’s constant suspicion of adultery or that another man, “hath leap’d into [his] seat,” slandering her reputation (Shakespeare II.i.300). Emilia’s resistance to oppression is her fatal flaw, which she accepts in her final plead to speak and “let heaven and men and devils,” judge her for disobeying her husband before Iago calls her a “villainous whore” (Shakespeare V.ii.220-233). The final female character, Desdemona, offers another perspective as the audience is able to witness the progression of her relationship. Initially outspoken and independent, she breaks free from paternal control and “challenge[s] that [she] may profess/ Due to the Moor” over her duty to her father (Shakespeare I.iii.188-189). Her character is altered greatly by the end of the play where she displays absolute obedience. She reveals her inner

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