Othello Patriarchy Character Analysis

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Patriarchy is a social system in which males are the primary authority figures central to social organization, occupy roles of political leadership, moral authority, control of property and where fathers hold authority over women and children. During the Elizabethan era, in England, society was patriarchal, which is why it was difficult to find strong female role models such as the ones in Shakespeare’s plays. In Othello, by William Shakespeare, Emilia and Desdemona are both very strong female characters. Desdemona is strong because of her response to being called demeaning words by her husband, her ability to overlook race and class and her unwillingness to blame and be angry at Othello. While Emilia is strong for other reasons. However, Desdemona …show more content…
This allows her to marry the man she truly loves, Othello. Desdemona is constantly being told that Othello is not good enough for her because of his race and class. Instead of abiding by her father’s (and society’s) wishes and marrying a Caucasian man, she elopes and marries Othello, a person of color. In one scene, Brabantio is speaking to the Duke, Othello, and Desdemona. He claims he would rather adopt than have Desdemona for a daughter. He is deeply disappointed with her because he feels he has taught her better, and cannot believe she has chosen to marry Othello, since he is not Caucasian (1.3.189-194). Desdemona’s marriage with Othello not only angers her father, Brabantio, but also infuriates a society that disapproves of interracial relationships. The disapproval from society is evident through Othello’s low self-esteem and Iago’s manipulation. Iago points out that there is something wrong with Othello and Desdemona’s relationship, saying that “we see in all things nature tends — / Foh! one may smell, in such, a will most rank, / Foul disproportion, thoughts unnatural” (3.3.233-235). Iago is using the “strangeness” in Desdemona loving someone who is not of her class or race for his personal agenda. As the play goes on and Othello continues to hear society (through Iago) speaking about the “strangeness” in their relationship, he begins to doubt …show more content…
In fact, her strength can be found in her ability to communicate instead of merely raging at him (for seemingly no reason). Desdemona does attempt to stand up for herself throughout the play, however finds it difficult to do so when Othello will not answer her questions and just wants to blame her. Despite this Desdemona powers through, and loves her husband until the very end of her life. In one scene, she answers Othello by saying “And have you mercy too! I never did / Offend you in my life; never loved Cassio / But with such general warranty of heaven / As I might love. I never gave him token” (5.2.58-61). She is rejecting his accusation of her loving Cassio and proving her love and devotion to Othello. Although Desdemona waited until (near) her death to say this, had she been given an opportunity to state this truth earlier, she would’ve because she wanted to prove her faithfulness to Othello. However, because of Othello’s opposition to open conversation, she is unable to speak her truth and potentially save her own life. This proves to be a theme, since in multiple scenes, Desdemona becomes confused at the description of her that Othello is portraying, and she asks him questions instead of just raging at him or being passive in their argument. In one scene, Othello accuses Desdemona of dishonesty and she demands to know “what ignorant sin [she] has committed?” (4.2.69). She

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