The Role Of Women In Shakespeare's Othello

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It will not come as a surprise that women in Shakespeare’s time lived under stringent social hierarchies that put them on the lowest levels of these hierarchies. They were expected to conform to all social norms, and to obey all societal rules especially in their public life. Men were supposed to be the leaders, both at home and in the public life, and women were expected to adhere to these patriarchal conditions, being obedient towards the male figurehead of the family in all times. Shakespeare’s play, Othello is one play that encourages the reader to challenge a women’s position in the society, by invoking attention at issues like private marriages, adultery, and the intersections between class and gender. However, it shows how women also internalize their submissive roles in this play through the character of Desdemona. Desdemona is Othello’s wife in the play, and her relation and position to Othello means that she is taken as her personal possession. Often he indicates that she is a mere commodity that requires his protection and would not leave her to herself as a person. It is important to note that this kind of thinking is not particular to Othello, but other men as well. In fact, this kind of mindset is the norm. For example, the first Senator wishes Othello well by telling him to use Desdemona well, as if she’s a commodity to be used. Some may argue that the phrase “use Desdemona well” could imply to say that he should take care of her, but the connotation of the

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