Theme Of Feminism In Othello

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Register to read the introduction… Since the play was written during the Elizabethan times, there are many aspects of Othello that may appear as sexist from a contemporary view. A feminist reading of Othello centralises on analysing the female characters within the play – more specifically, Desdemona and Emilia.

Women within the play were seen as objects or possessions as seen when Iago warns Brabantio – “Look to your house, your daughter, your bags!” Iago is seen as familiarising women with mere possessions. It is also evident that women were seen as being lower-class by observing their roles in their society. The men all possess highly ranked jobs such as the Moor and the Senators whereas the women were restricted to courtesans and servants.

The stereotypical submissive nature of women is portrayed through the character Desdemona. However, at the beginning of the play, she is seen to oppose her father and speak freely of her love with Othello stating – “So much I challenge that I may profess Due to the Moor my lord.” Nearing the end of the play where Othello is preparing to murder his wife, Desdemona’s weakness is portrayed as she pleads for her life – “Then Lord have mercy on me!” This scene also reflects the dominance and control that males have over females, as Desdemona is seen as being helpless and weak whilst being strangled in her own
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However, the stereotypical weakness of women is yet again portrayed in the play when Iago kills Emilia with ease to silence her.

The feminist reading of Othello focuses on the portrayal of mainly the women. Therefore, feminist readings are much more appropriately relevant to old texts such as Othello where the social context is significantly different to that of today.

The Aristotelian and feminist reading of Othello have significant differences, and with different readings come different meanings. New readings and interpretations will always arise due to the change in context throughout history, as seen in the feminist reading – where they analyse the portrayal of mainly the women whereas the older Aristotelian reading is concerned with defining Othello as a true tragedy according to its criterion. With our ever-changing society, the context of the world will change frequently and thus even more interpretations and readings will form over

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