Femininity In Othello

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In Othello, even though Desdemona embodied the typical female role of a submissive and domesticated wife, she is still punished for her suspected disobedience by her husband, Othello. Othello is one of Shakespeare’s great tragedies. It takes place in Venice and focuses on the romantic relationships of its characters. The play opens with its main villain plotting against the protagonist. The villain, Iago, has promised Rodrigo that he will get Desdemona to fall in love with him. However, things take a drastic turn when Desdemona elopes with Othello The Moor. As a woman, Desdemona is considered her father’s property and society dictated that the father alone must choose his daughter 's husband. Instead of marrying one of the rich Venetian men …show more content…
She is not the “gentle, fearful, pitying, wavering,, and soft” (Kimbrough, 177) woman she is expected to be, but instead she is “aggressive, daring, bold, resolute, and strong” (177). One would think that in this society that a woman who is seen as “manly” would be seen as disobedient and put to death, but it is quite the opposite. Often the women, like loyal Desdemona, who have always followed the rules of male domination are sentenced to the worst kind of victimization and it is the woman who has always been blatantly disobedient, such as Lady Macbeth, that has escaped severe victimization by men. Lady Macbeth, however, cannot escape herself and is crushed by her guilt. After her husband has killed Duncan and is crowned, she fades away and becomes the feeble, silent woman character. Lady Macbeth is seemingly sick with guilt at her part in the murder of the king, “Help me hence, ho! [...][LADY MACBETH is carried out]” (2.3.907;919). It seems that Lady Macbeth has realized what she has done and the person she has become without abiding by her gender roles. She lets societal ideas back in her head and retreats back into them, eventually causing her to take her own life. While Lady Macbeth is not victimized directly by men like Desdemona is by Othello and Lavinia by her father, it is still the views and male dominance that contributes to her

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