Patriarchy In Othello

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The patriarchal society thrives off of the oppression of women. Likewise, promoting hypermasculinity of men secures a position of power for them. The patriarchy condemns women to a life of silence, suppression and abuse while men are subject to possibly losing their humanity for power. As bell hooks says, men must ignore the emotions that make them human in order to be a true man. This theme is present in Othello by William Shakespeare, in which the women of the play are either insignificant or are killed and the men are greedy for power and become corrupt. First, the female characters are each a representation of a stereotypical woman and their roles in a male society. Next, the lives of the women in the play show how the oppressive nature of male society only succeeds through harming women while men reap the rewards. Finally, male society does not only hurt women, as the idea…show more content…
In the last scene, when she is dying, she defends him, and when asked who killed her she says, “Nobody. I myself. Farewell. / Commend me to my kind lord. Oh, farewell!” (5.2.141-142). She quite literally loves him to death. While Desdemona is supposed to be the strong, influential woman in the play but by embodying this stereotype she is simply weak. Loyalty is a valuable trait, but it must only go so far. In the first quote, Desdemona goes as far as to defy her father’s wishes to defend Othello. This is the first indication of the lengths that Desdemona will go to for her husband. Moreover, she stays loyal to him until she dies, despite him being responsible for her demise. Her loyalty is evidence of the harmfulness of confining stereotypes, and further, of male society. She gave her life out of obligation to be faithful and loyal. As Othello abused Desdemona without any merit, Desdemona stayed with him, as that is what she was obliged to do. The gender roles she was meant to fill are reasons for her untimely
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