Othello Feminist Analysis

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Shakespeare's tragic masterpiece Othello contains many complex layers and issues that can be found by reading deeply into the play, and not simply reading it as a simple narrative. One such issue that is important in the play is how the women are portrayed as victims due to men determining social organisation. This conception is supported throughout the play through the representation of men and women. The play is divided into two distinct sections, Venice which is a site of order and the island of Cyprus a site of disorder and anarchy. Both settings allow for demeaning portrayal of women and their position within the patriarchal society of the day showing that social conditioning in the men's favour turn them into victims.

Venice at the
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is a potent illustration of the victimisation and marginalisation of women. Throughout the play there is only three main female characters, compared with scores of male characters. Within the male cast list there is characters such as messengers, soldiers and sailors who have very little impact if any on the story and development of the plot and theme. If these male characters that have little impact on the story are introduced, then the wives of important male characters such as Brabantio should also be introduced. The minor female characters being omitted shows very clearly to the audience that because of the social climate that the play is set in, women who are related to important male characters are considered secondary to insignificant male characters such as a clown. This again enforces the idea that women are victims because of the male dominated social …show more content…
The female suffering within Othello is caused solely by the actions of men. It is shown that the killing of women is a fit punishment for someone whom is not supportive of their husbands dishonesty (Emilia) or for implied unfaithfulness (Desdemona). This is completely different for men, Iago who's dishonesty and evilness was the cause of all disharmony is not killed, and Cassio who is portrayed as somewhat of a playboy or womaniser does not face any consequences for this. The social conditioning is such that men may do almost whatever they wish without fear of retribution in the form of death, yet women must not do anything that could be construed as offensive in the eyes of her male husband/owner. A measure of how subordinate the women had become to their domineering husbands is their attitude when facing death, Emilia sings the ?willow song?, the song of forsaken lovers, and Desdemona says when asked who has mortally wounded her ?Nobody; I myself. Farewell: Commend me to my kind lord: O, farewell! ? (Act 5, Sc 2, 125-126). This really does show that even when facing death women are the real victims of ?Othello? because of the social conditioning of the

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