Gender Bias in Othello Essay examples

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Gender Bias in Othello Shakespeare’s tragic play Othello is an unfortunate example of gender bias, of sexism which takes advantage of women. The three women characters in the drama are all, in their own ways, victims of men’s skewed attitudes regarding women. Let us delve into this topic in this essay. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine comment in the Introduction to Shakespeare: Othello that sexism is a big factor in the play: At this point in our civilization the play’s fascination and its horror may be greater than ever before because we have been made so very sensitive to the issues of race, class, and gender that are woven into the texture of Othello. [. . .] The issue of gender is especially…show more content…
Roderigo even calls Desdemona’s action a “revolt” against paternal authority: “Your daughter, if you have not given her leave, / I say again, hath made a gross revolt [. . .] .” Upon verifying the absence of his daughter from the home, Brabantio exhorts all fathers to “trust not” their daughters, indicating an alleged predisposition among young ladies to rebel against authority: O heaven! How got she out? O treason of the blood! Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' minds By what you see them act. (1.1) Othello, the general and protagonist, seems initially to be totally lacking in sexism. He loves Desdemona as an equal and accepts her with no preconditions: As this that I have reach'd: for know, Iago, But 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) With the Turkish campaign against Cyprus in motion, the Duke of Venice scarcely has time for Brabantio’s protestations. And the First Senator encourages the newly married general: “Adieu, brave Moor, use Desdemona well.” The word use conveys the sexist belief of the husband’s ownership of the wife. Later, when Roderigo confesses to Iago his depression and suicidal feelings over the loss of Desdemona, the ancient seeks to keep him alive by saying that Othello will soon

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