What Is The Role Of Women In Othello

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Of the three female characters in Othello, which one may be considered the most emancipated? Analyze the implications of the answer to this question across the entire play.

Othello is a tragedy written by Shakespeare and it revolves around four main characters: Othello, Desdemona, Cassio and Iago. Othello is one of the most loved works of Shakespeare and is still performed in various theatres around the world. Shakespeare often describes the women in his plays as strong and confident. The women in his play are quite different from the stereotypical women of the time period he lived in. The women of Othello too are displayed with characteristics of a modern woman. Emilia, Desdemona, and Bianca have to defend themselves from the vicious men
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She falls in love with Cassio and is offended when Cassio offers her a ‘token’ of his love. Bianca gets offended and suspects that he has some other lover. The irony here is that how could Bianca of all people have the nerve to question someone's loyalty, when it is her lack of loyalty that earns her money. However she is free from the rules of society and wants to marry a man she loves when another such women of her age must not have dared to. Iago even quotes, “I never knew woman love man so” . But Cassio does not love her as proved when Iago asks him about his thoughts of marriage, “I marry her! What? A customer? Prithee bear some charity to my wit. Do not think it so unwholesome. Ha, ha, ha!”…show more content…
She makes use of such power when she is explaining to her father, in front of the Venetian senators, that her ‘duty’ is to Othello and not to him. Desdemona is a courageous and decisive woman who pursues Othello, falling in love with his intrigued stories of adventure, seeing "Othello's visage in his mind, and to his honors and valiant parts" refusing the attempts of other suitors such as Roderigo. When Shakespeare wrote Othello, women had very few rights and Desdemona is not portrayed as one of those women. Women of that time had no right to chose their husband but despite receiving offers from various suitors and public discouragement, Desdemona married Othello and made it evident that her duty was no longer to her father but was to Othello just as “Duty my mother showed to you” . However there are instances when Desdemona is portrayed as a possession and her character becomes weak. We see the role of a women after marriage in Othello’s loving words to Desdemona, “Come, my dear love, The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue” . It signifies that the man buys the woman by marriage. She is also referred to as a ‘whore’, a ‘subtle whore’ and a ‘cunning whore’, in addition to multiple references to her as a

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