William Shakespeare's play Othello is a tragic story that delves into issues of power dynamics, sexism, racism, and classism. These themes are intertwined and impact the relationship between the titular character, Othello, and his wife, Desdemona. In this essay, we will explore how sexism, racism, and classism are present within the play and to what extent these power dynamics affect the relationship between Othello and Desdemona.
Sexism is evident in the play from the outset, as it is a male-dominated society. Women are often portrayed as passive and subservient, with their primary role being that of a wife and mother. Desdemona is a prime example of this, as her main function in the play is to serve as Othello's wife. The other female characters, Emilia and Bianca, are also depicted as being subordinate to their male counterparts. For example, Emilia is Iago's wife, and he treats her disrespectfully, as if she is inferior. …show more content…
The play is set in a time when black people were not well-regarded in society, and this is reflected in the way the characters treat Othello. He is subjected to racist taunts and derogatory comments, even from those who are supposed to be his friends. For example, when Othello is accused of using magic to woo Desdemona, Brabantio accuses him of using "spells and medicines bought of mountebanks" (Act I, Scene 3). This statement shows that Brabantio believes that Othello is not capable of winning Desdemona's love through his own merits and that he must have used some underhanded
In his play “Othello,” Shakespeare is very compassionate towards the women of his era. He treats Desdemona with special sympathy. She is the victim of two crossed male aspirations — the devilry of villain Iago and the jealousy of her husband. The main cause of Desdemona’s tragedy is the total absence of women’s personal liberty. The lack of self-development without restrictions of society and family constricts the mind.
The Ladies Found Within The Text And The Roles They Play Throughout this year we have read some of the best literature in all of America and have been introduced to some of the most iconic characters. I would like to focus on the women featured within these novels. In Shakespeare's tragedy Othello, we are introduced to Desdemona who is a victim of murder and false accusations.
A Modern View of Feminist Criticism William Shakespeare 's "Othello” can be analyzed from a feminist perspective. This criticism focuses on relationships between genders, like the patterns of thoughts, behavior, values, enfranchisement, and power in relations between and within sexes. A feminist examination of the play enables us to judge the distinctive social esteems and status of women and proposes that the male-female power connections that become an integral factor in scenes of Othello impact its comprehension. I believe that the critical lens that provides modern society with the most compelling view of literature is Feminist Criticism because it analyzes distrust and disloyalty among relationships, women being treated as possessions
In Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’, women are portrayed as either pure angelic beings and jewels, or as whores who are impure. They are objectified and shown as something to be used. The only women in this play are Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca compared to the main 6 male characters, not to mention the minor characters, who are also all male. Their depicted purpose is to belong to a man; Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca’s lives revolve around being wives to Othello, Iago and Cassio. This fits into the idea of a perfect Elizabethan woman, who’s lives are subject to their husband’s rule across all aspects, to be disposed of as men wish.
For Shakespeare’s plays to contain enduring ideas, it must illustrate concepts that still remain relevant today, in modern society. Shakespeare utilises his tragic play Othello, to make an important social commentary on the common gender stereotypes. During early modern England, Shakespeare had to comply to the strict social expectations where women were viewed as tools, platonic and mellow, and where men were displayed as masculine, powerful, tempered, violent and manipulative. As distinct as this context is to the 21st century, the play exposes how women were victimised by the men who hold primary power in the community in which they compelled women to conform to the ideal world of a perfect wife or confront an appalling destiny for challenging the system. Moreover, Shakespeare utilises the main antagonist, Iago, to portray how men are desperate to achieve what they want and to indirectly fulfil the stereotype of masculinity and power through manipulation.
Shakespeare's Othello is set during the Renaissance period and therefore the roles of the women in Othello are supposedly bounded by the period when women are considered to be of low intellect. In Othello, most male characters assume that women are inherently promiscuous, which explains why all three women characters in the play are accused of sexual infidelity. Yet Shakespeare develops the women to speak the most sense throughout the play and able to trust other characters in the play. To the men in Othello, female sexuality is a threatening force more than it is an attractive one.
The way these women act and conduct themselves is unquestionably related to the ideological expectations of Elizabethan and patriarchal society. Desdemona, Othello 's wife and Brabantio 's daughter, is represented as the ideal woman. So she would never be disloyal to her husband. On many occasions, Desdemona obeys her husband firmly and calls herself obedient even after Othello hits her. She was loving and loyal to Othello and wishes a long marriage of prosperity and commitment that would lead to her ultimate happiness.
A Guiltless Death They Die Sexism is a disease in society. It seeps into every crack of humanity, soaking into literature. Women have had set expectations since the patriarchy put sexism into place. They have been abused, harassed, and their morals questioned.
While Desdemona is a remarkably strong character, Emilia also displays independence unmatched by any other female in Othello, and there are multiple details of Shakespeare and his time that may have prompted such a portrayal. In Elizabethan England, many women worked behind the scenes of productions, like Shakespeare’s, as uncredited authors and editors (Crowley). Due to their anonymity, nobody can be sure that women were involved in Shakespeare’s plays nor Othello in particular, but there is a genuine possibility that female writers did have leverage. This may have had to do with how Emilia was portrayed as resilient from the time of Desdemona’s death all the way until her own, standing up for herself regardless of the ridicule it caused her (Iyasere). In fact, it even killed her in the end.
In Shakespeare’s play Othello, the male characters perceive woman as property of their own who have to be submissive and they treat them as adulterous. The male characters in Othello perceive women characters as promiscuous and adulterous. Iago being the character who strongly shows his perception that woman are promiscuous by concluding that his wife has deceive him with Othello and Cassio. Moreover, Iago creates and immoral image of Desdemona persuading Othello of this lie, ultimately, Othello convinces himself that Desdemona is a promiscuous.
In Shakespeare’s Othello and in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles women play an important role in the development of the plot. Shakespeare and Glaspell develop these women differently to enhance their message. In Othello, Emilia, Desdemona, and Bianca are all treated very poorly by their male counterparts.
To begin, in Elizabethan times women were extremely inferior to men; this is exhibited in Othello through the relationships between father and daughter as well as husband and wife. Typically,
Each of the women in Othello represent the different tiers of the social structure at that time. Desdemona represents the upper class because her father is a senator and very wealthy. She was automatically born into the lavish lifestyle. She wears the finest clothes and eats the finest food. She has a handmaiden that helps her get dressed and follows her everywhere.
The thesis of this article argues the demands for both males and females uncover gender expectations and roles, mainly in Othello. These ideas are present when Pechter states how the, "play is preoccupied with questions of gender difference, the expectations of men and women for themselves and about each other" (2). Pechter points out how in Othello the beliefs and assumptions are not easily encoded. One example that Pechter uses describes how, "too much womanly presence interferes with the appropriate effects (laughter instead of tears, pathos instead of fear); it demands restriction , if not elimination." (114).
The play 'Othello' took place during the late 16th century in the Venetian period. The women during this time were perceived as sexual objects, or possessions, where men view their bodies instead of analyzing their personalities. It is also believed that women were meek and humble towards their superiors (men), becoming submissive towards their commands. This sort of societal attitude can be seen with Desdemona's father, Brabantio, who disproves of her marriage with Othello. In 'Act I Scene I' he claims that his daughter is dead to him, as she is a "treason of the blood," when he realizes that she has run off to be married.