The society in which Othello takes place is a patriarchal one, where men had complete control over women. They were seen as possessions rather than being just as equally human and capable of duties performed by men. All women of the Elizabethan were to obey all men, fathers, brothers, husbands, etc. Which leads me to the most reliable and trustworthy character of Desdemona, whom goes through many trials just to satisfy her love. Shakespeare brings the thought of Desdemona into the play by Barbantio, her father, “It is too true an evil. Gone she is.\...Oh, she deceives me\ Past thought! …” (1.1.163)(1.1.168-169), whom has just found she has taken off with Othello and firstly suspects they have been hitched. Shakespeare gives reader the
In the play ‘Othello’ written by William Shakespeare, we see not only the main male character leads. But we also see the female characters, Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca. These three women were portrayed in ways that showed them being inferior to the other male roles as well as society during the Elizabethan Era. But Shakespeare made each of these individual ladies characteristics quite unique to one another having the traits of a feminist. Even though in the play we read how the male characters did somewhat control them and made them look weak compared to them, there were moments where Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca stood up for themselves.
According to the general hierarchy when Shakespeare wrote his play, men were deemed to be more able than women. Instead in Othello, Shakespeare emphasizes the strength of Desdemona despite the stereotypical views about women. Desdemona is portrayed to be more able than the women and as able as the men in the Venetian society. Unlike other women in Othello, Desdemona proves to be very strong and relentless in her beliefs and love.
Through Helena Shakespeare created a woman so pitiful and wretched that he openly mocked the modern sixteenth-century women who allowed themselves to be treated in such a manner. Had a man been the monarch of England when this play was written, the bard might have been more discrete in his support of feminism. Luckily, Queen Elizabeth was fond of autonomous women and showed little animosity towards such mockery.
The feminist school has various goals when being used to scrutinize a piece of literature. As Gillespie points out, historically texts were written by males with primarily male protagonists, and thus, the male sentiment is most dominantly expressed in many works of literature. The lessened representation of women in literature is usually confined to typical stereotypes of the historical period. This can be seen in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, and this will be further explored and discussed. Through the feminist lens, women’s presence and portrayal in the play, as well as the common stereotypes about women in Shakespearean society, can be studied carefully, despite the centuries that have passed between the play’s conception and the present. Additionally, as stated in Literary Theories: A Sampling of Critical Lenses,
We see Desdemona as a young beautiful white female, madly in love with a powerful black man. She is strong inside but doesn't tend to show that side of her as much as she would want to. She tends to play the peace-maker in her marriage and is always trying to understand Othello. Throughout the play she struggles to prove her loyalty and respect to her husband, no matter what it takes she tries to be a
Before someone has the ability to analyze a female character in one of William Shakespeare’s works, one must take into account Shakespeare’s views on feminism, as well as how females were viewed in the time period. Is Shakespeare teaching us that women have no greater value than a breeding mule, or that women are truly property, simply to be owned by men? Obviously Shakespeare’s opinion is that women are inferior to men, seeming that his views are clearly portrayed by Helena’s character in A Midsummers night’s dream.
Others have asserted that the roles of women in his plays were prominent for the time and culture that he lived in,his intent in creating characters to inspire much controversy. Two works, Taming of the Shrew, and Twelfth Night, stand out particularly well in regards to Shakespeare's use of female characters. If you could examine these two plays, you would see that Shakespeare, though conforming to contemporary attitudes of women, circumvented them by creating resolute female characters with a strong sense of self.
By examining Shakespeare’s treatment of familial ties in his plays The Life and Death of King John and The Winter’s Tale, we can see how his attitudes and opinions towards family relationships evolved. In King John (written between 1594 and 1596), Shakespeare adopts what was then a fairly conventional attitude towards family relationships: his characters never question the highly patriarchal family hierarchy. They also assume that the majority of wives will be unfaithful, simply because they are female—however, they take the charge of adultery rather lightly. By contrast, in The Winter’s Tale (written between 1610 and 1611), he adopts a much more progressive, feminist view of family
In the play Othello , Othello strongly represents feminist criticism because he cares so much about their relationship that he couldn’t handle the thought of her cheating on him. He played a big role in the play from being a powerful governor along with being a deep lover. Othello and Desdemona, the daughter of A senator from Venice, fell for each other and are married behind her father’s back. The father, Brabantio, finds out and says that Othello used his magic on her, but yet he still sent the two to Cyprus together. Othello captured Desdemona with his stories about his past and Desdemona quickly falls in love with him. Even though the love of the two is strong Othello lets his ensign Iago draw him into his lies about his woman showing
Main Idea: Shakespeare was not a sexist: All though the main three females in the play were seen as important and contributed tremendously towards the plot of the play. The readers see Shakespeare pushing the ideology of men and women being equal with the slow occurrence of many plots towards the play, and how it all unravels itself. These were proven in the play by when;
When observing gender in our society, women and men are stereotyped with specific roles. Men have always been seen as the family’s main source of income whereas the women take care of their home and children. However, Shakespeare challenges these gender roles in his play with the three female characters Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. While all three are independent, powerful women and even lead their armies into battle, the men seem to be foolish and weak such as King Lear and Albany. Furthermore, Mira cel Batran makes a point in her essay, “Feminist Reading of William Shakespeare’s King Lear”, that although women are regarded as dependent on men, Shakespeare explains that it can be the exact opposite. The men seem to depend on the women such as King Lear depending on Cordelia and Albany depending on Goneril. Shakespeare, in his play, King Lear, portrays women who are strong and intelligent and men who are weak or overpowered by female characters, challenging the societal belief that women are inherently less than or dependent on men.
Feminism is and has always been a prominent focus in society. Specifically during the Renaissance, when Shakespeare’s Othello was written, were women thought of as subordinate to men. Shakespeare portrays women as merely FOIL characters to their male counterparts throughout the play. They help shed light on the men’s dark sides as well as their true faults. Their roles include wives, prostitutes, and even messengers. The women in the play are disrespected and treated as lesser beings. Although there are imperative female characters in Shakespeare’s Othello, many of them are treated as tools or objects and are disrespected by the men, specifically Iago, Othello and Cassio.
Shakespeare and Webster represent the female characters in ‘Hamlet’ and ‘The duchess of Malfi’ by using general themes such as the patriarchy and the social control, the female identity and its independence, this institution of marriage, the expressions of sexuality and finally women shown to be either conformist or transgressive. Men were firmly in control in the Elizabethan and Jacobean era, and the expectations for women were to stay home, cook, clean and raise a family. Women’s status and roles were subject to the Tyranny of patriarchy, they were given strict disciplinary rules to follow whether by law or unspoken norms to prevent from rebellion. Women’s rights were restricted, legally, socially and economically, unlike today were women are more powerful and independent. Today women and men are seen to be equal and women can do pretty much everything a man can do (voting, working, becoming president) although there are many people still today who disagree with women having these rights.
There are only three female characters in William Shakespeare's play Othello, Desdemona, Othello’s wife, Emilia, Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s lady-in-waiting, and Bianca, a courtesan. When first introduced to this limited number of representatives of the female gender, it is quickly assumed that they will not be very present or have an important role in story. In addition, the male characters of the play see women as submissive and promiscuous possessions that should be controlled by either their fathers or spouses. However Shakespeare’s female characters are shown to question male authority and to have the ability to speak for themselves, which could be seen as feminist statement during the Elizabethan time that Shakespeare lived in.