A women in an Elizabethan society. There are

A feminist analysis of Othello allows us to mediate the social values and status of women in an Elizabethan society. There are only three women within Othello and the way these women behave is linked to the ideological expectations of Shakespeare’s society and to the patriarchal Venetian society that he creates (The Role of Women in Othello Josbd). The actions and language of Shakespeare’s three female characters, signify a tentative step towards an egalitarian society (The Role of Women in Othello Josbd). Within the play of Othello due to the time it is set women are seen to be possessions of the men within their lives (The Role of Women in Othello Josbd). Desdemona, as Othello’s wife, is treated as his possession. By marrying Othello, Desdemona defies both parental authority and the social convention of her times (. The fact that Desdemona and Othello are secretly married shows that Desdemona willingly made her own decision, at a time in history when women’s opinions did not matter. Desdemona questions the loyalty she has for her father when positioned in the way Othello. While doing so, Desdemona questions relationships between male and females. It was very difficult for women to show love and emotions back when women did not have rights. Desdemona loves her husband; however, she is caught in the position of being a woman. The play demonstrates a conflict; strong woman who will stand up to her father for love versus a strong woman who is thought capable of infidelity by her husband. Desdemona says, “My noble father, I do perceive here a divided duty: To you I am bound for life and education; My life and education both do learn me How to respect you; you are the lord of duty; I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband; And so much duty as my mother show’d To you, preferring you before her father, So much I challenge that I may profess Due to the Moor my lord” (Shakespeare 651). Feminists see this as very insulting, but do appreciate Shakespeare is writing to his time period. Women within Othello are seen to be manipulative and sly just because they are women. Feminist critics speak a lot about the role of women as temptresses in Othello and argue that women only held these traits if they were forced into that situation by a man; similar to the case of Desdemona being seen as a temptress due to the work Iago. Perhaps the strongest resemblance to feminism within Othello is the character Emilia. Throughout the play, women were subconsciously stereo-typed by the male mind, influencing many readers and critics. In the end, Emilia cut through that and made the ultimate sacrifice for truth, revealing that while Shakespeare had negatively portrayed women he had no issue showing feminine strength.  


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