Desdemona's Treatment Of Women In Othello Essay

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From the beginning on, when the audience has its first encounter with Desdemona, she is portrayed as a submissive and innocent girl. Although she goes against the wishes of her father, by marrying the Moor, she will do anything Othello demands of her. She clamps herself onto Othello and his life, in such a way that she can no longer control her own life, everything is devoted to her husband. In Shakespeare’s time, this was the norm and women were expected to remain content with their secondary status. Marriage is more like a purchase; a woman is bought by her husband and is expected to fulfil all of his desires. When Desdemona is travelling to Cyprus to be with Othello he implies that she is a “commodity” needed to be guarded and transported. …show more content…
In contrast to Desdemona, it could be said that Emilia is a much more opinionated and stronger character. She is actually completely aware of the fact that she is solely being used by Iago for his desires and has not much trust left in the continuing of their marriage. She starts to disobey him, and tends to be more vocal about her own opinions. “Tis proper I obey him, but not now”. (Shakespeare W, Othello) “And although the readers can find a partial rejection of these social norms which let the men decide the women’s roles in Emilia” (Pratap A, Women’s Role in Othello), her brutal honesty and frankness eventually lead to no good when she tries to expose her husband. She is also actually not allowed to let herself go that way and to speak up against any male character. When she eventually did dare to do so, she had to pay her life with it. It is the perfect example of how women were always expected to support the actions of their husband or father, as questionable as they may have …show more content…
Bianca is a so called courtesan or prostitute meant to entertain and fulfil the desires of the men in her society. Her status in society, which is all the way at the bottom, determines how the community treats her. When having a more respectable place in society, just as Desdemona or Emilia, finding love or other joy will be more easily achievable. However, she does not seem to have much success with this as she is rejected multiple times by Cassio. The way Shakespeare is portraying Bianca is also sympathetic, when Cassio treats her in a very unpleasant way, it's clear that Shakespeare's making a point about how women get used throughout the play. It is the perfect example of how status defines the way people treated each other in Elizabethan society. Regarding the fact that Bianca was also a woman as well as courtesan, did not make her journey any less difficult. Her expression of sexuality was seen as a threat to the men. All men assumed that Venetian women were inherently promiscuous and were not meant to be trusted, so women were also ordered not to act that way to avoid any shame upon the family. It can be said that women were seen as sexual objects, but in no exception were meant to act that way.
To conclude, the whole plot of Othello is about this gender based conflict. Shakespeare’s portrayal of each of the three women in the play and its Venetian society, reflects the way Elizabethan society looked upon

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