Comparison Of Manhood In Othello And Macbeth

1999 Words 8 Pages
In both plays Shakespeare presents the heroes as losing their dominance and manhood through another character villainy. As both heroes identities are built around manliness, for the villains to insult their manhood would hurt them severely.
In Act 4 Scene 1, Othello is stating that “A horned man’s a monster and a beast”. In the Jacobean era, the image of a cuckolded man was a man with horns which indicates a bestial and monstrous nature. It is a physical indicator that he is less than a man. He is subhuman, like an animal. This is, in his way, to lose control over the woman in his life is to lose everything that makes him a man. Othello has lost his confidence, ergo he loses his authority and respect which composes his masculine personality.
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In this letter from Macbeth, Lady Macbeth learns the witches’ prophecy in which Macbeth is to become King of Scotland. Lady Macbeth worries Macbeth is too considerate and honourable to fulfil the prophecy. Although she knows that he is ambitious, she says that he does not inhibit the “illness” needed to be able to act upon it. In order to provoke his aggression she decides to question his manhood, making him quick to act. As she awaits for Macbeth’s arrival she calls on for spirits to “unsex me here”. Underlining how she wishes to remove her femininity and to be more masculine. As revealed in a soliloquy, the audience learn these are her desires as soliloquys were used to reveal the thoughts of a character. However alternatively it may be that she is perhaps unsatisfied with her husband’s nature. In the Jacobean era, women were seen as by nature itself to be physically weak and emotionally nurturing. Men, in contrast, were accepted as being strong and emotionally bent toward physical conflict and cruelty. Ergo she resolves to put her natural femininity aside so that she can do the actions necessary to seize the crown. As she now has more masculine qualities than Macbeth, she is able to be more prevailing so Macbeth takes …show more content…
In Act 4 Scene 1, after recovering from his trance, Othello is told by Iago to hide himself for when Iago talks to Cassio. When Cassio arrives, Iago talks to him about Bianca and “how she plucked him to my chamber”. However Othello believes he is talking about Desdemona revealing now how Iago’s lies make Othello only able to interpret the world that Iago desires, living in a world of Iago’s illusions. He is misinterpreting not only who Cassio is talking about, but also hearing different words in his mind. Later on in Act 4 Scene 1, Lodovico (Desdemona 's cousin) arrives to Cyprus. When Desdemona is talking to Lodovico about Cassio, Othello misinterprets her speech of “For the love I bear to Cassio”. Shakespeare employs ambiguity as it could mean she is talking of him as a friend or as genuine love. Nevertheless she means to talk about Cassio as a friend. But Othello misapprehends this thinking she was openly admitting her affair with Cassio to everyone. Jacobean women who committed adultery were severely punished so it would not make sense for Desdemona to openly admit her affair with Cassio. This demonstrates how Othello’s mind has become so twisted by Iago that his thinking and his interpretation of the world is

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