Women´S Portrayal In Shakespeare´S Othello Essay

1779 words - 8 pages

The play Othello is presented as a male-dominated society where women are only recognized as property; objects to own and to bear children. Women in the Elizabethan society and in Shakespeare society were not seen as equal to men and were expected to be loyal to their husbands, be respectful, and to not go against their husbands judgements or actions. Shakespeare presents Desdemona, Emilia , and Bianca as women in the Elizabethan time where they were judged based on their class, mortality, and intelligence. Shakespeare makes his female characters act the way they would be expected to act in an Elizabethan society. The role of these women in Othello is crucial because they show how women were treated and how unhealthy their relationships between men really were in both Elizabethan and Shakespeare's society.
Desdemona is portrayed as the highest class a female could accomplish. She is elegant, honest and loyal to her husband as any other good Elizabethan married woman would be. She is presented as the ideal woman. Desdemona symbolizes innocence and helplessness against men. Shakespeare presents Desdemona as a mature and knowledgeable woman for her age as she defends her love for Othello to her father, Brabantio. However this is seen differently in the eye's of the society. Brabantio declares her as "Against all rules of nature"(scene.. line...). This statement reveals what the society believes what is natural and what is unnatural. To the society, "natural" is when a women complies to their husbands and fathers wishes, but it's unnatural for a women to do anything else. Women are referred to as property, clearly stated when Desdemona's father angrily calls Othello a "theif" (scene...line..). Here, Brabantio addresses Desdemona as property, as she is something to own and something that can be stolen. Othello addresses her a purchase in act two, further proving how women were seen as objects that can be bought, sold or be stolen. Desdemona is a soft, sympathetic person who always wants peace in every situation. This is why she agrees to help Cassio try to get his job as lieutenant back. Women were never to associate with violence because they were seen as gentle loving beings to own. Iago uses this to his advantage when he makes what is an innocent act of helping someone into a crime of adultery. A married women who is seen being too friendly to another man was seen as a crime, so it was not surprising when Othello accused her of adultery. The way Othello never confides to Desdemona about his feelings or how he never listens to her when she tries to speak, proves that women were not seen as equals. Two people who love one another and who respect each other wouldn't treat the other the way Othello treated Desdemona. Desdemona is one to follow the rules. She believes what she was told; women should never argue with their husbands. This explains why she hides her true self and does not defend herself as well as she should to Othello when he...

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