A feminist reading of othello essay

Timeline of Shakespeare's works Feminist interpretation Reflecting the culture in which Othello was written, none of the three female characters is ultimately treated as an equal by the men. A feminist interpretation of the play would assess the balance of power between the genders, the cultural expectations displayed in the play and the degree to which these are conformed to by the women, as well as how far the drama centres on male or female perspectives etc. A patriarchal perspective on women For an understanding of the cultural expectations of females in the world of Othello, see: For information about the female ideal, against which Desdemona is assessed, see:

A feminist reading of othello essay

A feminist analysis of the play Othello allows us to judge the different social values and status of women in the Elizabethan society. Othello serves as an example to demonstrate the expectations of the Elizabethan patriarchal society, the practice of privileges in patriarchal marriages, and the suppression and restriction of femininity.

According to Elizabethan or Shakespeare's society built upon Renaissance beliefs, women were meant only to marry. As their single occupation, marriage held massive responsibilities of house management and child rearing. Additionally, women were expected to be silent, chaste, and obedient to their husbands, fathers, brothers, and all men in general.

Patriarchal rule justified women's subordination as the natural order because women were thought to be physiologically and psychologically inferior to men.

As we go through Othello we find that the women characters are presented according to this expectation of the Elizabethan society.

Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca. These notes will explore some of the ways in which the female characters are presented in the play. This is, however, by no means peculiar to Othello: It could be argued, however, that Iago exhibits little love for his wife, insulting her in public and ultimately killing her himself.

Compounding this theory is the fact that Iago refers to his wife metaphorically in these two instances: By sleeping with Desdemona, he believes that they will then be equal.

A patriarchal perspective on women

The feelings of Desdemona and Emilia are completely disregarded in his plotting. The women are merely objects to be used in order to further his own desires. Although Iago is an extreme example, he nonetheless demonstrates, through his thinking, the fact that women, in both Elizabethan and Venetian society, are perceived as possessions, secondary to the lofty plans and desires of men.

A feminist reading of othello essay

Women as submissive Some modern feminist critics see Desdemona as a hideous embodiment of the downtrodden woman. Whether this is actually the case will be explored later in these notes. Suffice it to say, there is a large body of evidence to support this critical stance.

She appears to have completely accepted her role as subordinate and obedientwife. Although going on to betray her husband, she still feels the need to explain why she is deviating from accepted behaviours. Society weighs heavily on the shoulders of these women; they feel that they must support the men and defer to them, even if the actions of the men are questionable.

By expressing these qualities of women in the masculine domain of the Venetian senate,Brabantio compounds and develops the traditional expectations of women in a patriarchal society. Venetian society presents its own social beliefs as immutable laws of nature. The women of Othello, however, are pre-Feminism, and seem to only compound the ideological expectations of what it is to be a woman through their own behaviour.

Women can be powerful This is not to say, however, that the women of the play fail to question men at all. The only difference, Emilia implies, is that men are mentally weaker: Emilia suggests that men are brutish and simplistic, unable to control their desires with logical thought.Considered one of Shakespeare's masterworks, Othello takes on a variety of themes, but like many of Shakespeare's plays, the portrayal of strong and complex female characters lend a feminist.

A feminist reading also recognises that it is the men's deplorable attitudes in regard to women and gender that in part caused the tragedy, for instance, Othello's response to Emilia insistence that Desdemona is honest, "She says enough; yet she's a simple bawd/That cannot say as much" (Act 4 Sc 2).

A Feminist Analysis of Othello In William Shakespeare’s tragic play Othello there are numerous instances of obvious sexism aimed at the three women in the drama -- Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca – and aimed at womankind generally.

A Feminist Perspective of Othello Throughout the length of Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello there is a steady undercurrent of sexism. It is originating from not one, but rather various male characters in the play, who manifest prejudicial, discriminatory attitudes toward women.

A Feminist Perspective of Othello Essay - A Feminist Perspective of Othello Throughout the length of Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello there is a steady undercurrent of sexism.

Othello is relevant today because of its ability to be interpreted from different perspectives and have different readings applied to it.

One such reading is the Feminist reading. The opening scenes of Othello establish firm Gender /5(2).

The Role of Women in Othello: A Feminist Reading | Literary Articles