Othello Women's Roles

1387 Words 6 Pages
Geoffrey Chaucer’s novel, The Canterbury Tales, and William Shakespeare’s play, Othello, includes women throughout both, the novel and the play. The Canterbury Tales is written in the 1400’s, during the late Middle Ages, and the play, Othello, is written in 1603. Women during the late Middle Ages and the early Modern Period were portrayed differently than how women are portrayed today. Typically, during this time period of 1400-1600’s, women 's roles during this time were limited. Women were only allowed to listen to the men in the house and they were not allowed to talk much about anything to the other men. Women were inferior to men during this time period. In The Canterbury Tales and in Othello, the Wife of Bath, Desdemona, and Emilia, portray …show more content…
In the beginning of the play, Desdemona says, “But here’s my husband, / And so much duty as my mother showed / To you, preferring you before her father, / So much challenge that I may profess / Due to the Moor my lord” (Shakespeare 1.3.186-190). During the 1600’s, marriage was also based on your parents. Marriage was arranged and typically your parents chose who you were going to marry. Marriage was not based on love. In Othello, Desdemona gets married to Othello and tells her father after they’re married that they got married. Desdemona and Othello’s marriage was based on true love. Here, Desdemona is telling her father that even though he has given her the best life as his daughter, she now needs to be the perfect wife for Othello. She went against her father and married her true love. During this time period, marrying someone by going against your parents and getting married to the person you truly love was not common of women to do. Also, Desdemona says, “My lord shall never rest. / I’ll watch him tame and talk him out of patience” (Shakespeare 3.3.22-23). Here Desdemona agrees that she will do everything in her power to convince Othello to get Cassio his job back. She will not let Othello sleep until she convinces him. This shows that Desdemona is a controlling woman towards her husband. Women were supposed to be quiet and not allowed to express their own opinions, but in this case, Desdemona controls her husband and voices her opinion to Othello. Another character in this play who actually is portrayed as a “typical Renaissance women” is Emilia. She mostly obeys to everything, but there comes a point where she doesn’t listen to her husband, Iago, anymore. She even stands up for herself and tells Iago how horrible and evil of a person he is. She does everything in her own power to get the truth out about her friend Desdemona

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