Feminine Roles in Othello Essay

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Feminine Roles in Othello A variety of roles have women in them in William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello. Let us in this essay examine the female characters and their roles. One key role for the heroine of the drama, Desdemona, is to support the general. David Bevington in William Shakespeare: Four Tragedies enlightens us about the hero’s dependence on Desdemona: Othello’s most tortured speeches (3.4.57-77, 4.2.49-66) reveal the extent to which he equates the seemingly betraying woman he has so depended on for happiness with his own mother, who gave Othello’s father a handkerchief and threatened him with loss of her love if he should lose it. Othello has briefly learned and then forgotten the…show more content…
(1.1) Here is seen another role or function of women in the drama – that of comforter for the aged. Brabantio is the old father, and he hates to lose the comforting services of his Desdemona. The daughter’s husband Othello expresses his sentiments to Iago regarding his relationship with the senator’s daughter, saying that I love the gentle Desdemona, I would not my unhoused free condition Put into circumscription and confine For the sea's worth. (1.2) In other words, he greatly appreciates his Desdemona in the role of wife. Once that Brabantio has located Othello, the father presses charges publicly in order to have Desdemona returned: To prison, till fit time Of law and course of direct session Call thee to answer. (1.2) The proceedings which take place before the Duke of Venice cause the young wife to assume a heretofore-unheard-of role for herself – that of barrister. She is compelled by the situation to stand before the senators and duke, members of the City Council of Venice, and present her side of the story in a convincing manner. As a lawyer she does remarkably well. Brabantio’s rage, among other reasons, necessitate that Desdemona live with Iago and Emilia during the Moor’s campaign in Cyprus against the Turks. While awaiting the arrival of Othello’s ship at the seaport of Cyprus, Desdemona shows herself an
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