A feminist analysis of the play Othello allows us to judge the different social values and status of women in the Elizabethan society.
Contact Author A quick summary of the play can be found here. Shakespeare was always wary of women and careful to give them respect, which is obvious when reading Othello.
The society of Othello is strongly dominated by men who are the political and military leaders of their homeland. These men are expected to stay loyal to their reputations and to uphold the strong sense of character that earned them their positions in the first place. Women on the other hand, are thought of as weak second-class citizens or even defective males, who are in place for nothing more than to serve their men.
The monstrous actions and subsequent downfall of the men in Othello show how no one is above being corrupted and how men are not nearly as powerful as they seem. The resolve of the female characters demonstrates their capacities to do much more than simply serve.
Furthermore, by the end of the play, I believe the men of Othello are not the ones who represent strength; instead, this title goes to the women. Such a line seems uncharacteristically submissive compared to the Emilia of later on, but it also shows her intriguing devotion to her husband who seems to care nothing for her.
She does not trust Iago entirely though, as she tries to take the handkerchief back when Iago cannot explain why he wants it.
Of course, the man is easily able to overpower his wife and he orders her to depart, which she does, leaving Iago to bask in satisfaction as his plan seems to fall into place. Little does he know, his wife knows him better than he gives her credit for, and he will have to answer to her in the end.
Most of the attention has been given the power struggle between Iago and the rest, and the women are often brushed to the side.
The emotions are all the more striking because they are so relatable to those of us who understand jealousy and heartbreak. When one is truly in love, it can be hard to think about anything else, and for a man to imagine his lover with another man can be as agonizing an ordeal as any in life.
Any future successes will only come at the expense of the loss of his wife, and he cannot cope with such dramatic failure. Yet, his gross underestimation of his wife is where his scheme unfurls. Her words are bold demonstrations against men who want nothing but to use women for their own pleasure, and they should strike a chord with any man who thinks he may take his lover for granted.
Emilia is obviously not as willing to submit to men as other women may be, and for the first time she shows herself as a possible foe against the seemingly unstoppable Iago. Emilia continues to defend the name of women as the play moves forward, and is characterized as anything but submissive in her conversations and actions.
She becomes more distant from her husband and draws ever nearer to her true companion of Desdemona whose side she refuses to leave. In her most important speech of the play, Emilia at last calls men out as equals and expresses her unwillingness to be heartlessly cast aside.
As Othello has already demonstrated, the love and affection of a female is an awful thing to lose.
Yet even more so, it signifies the death of male domination in its entirety. By now, the characters with the most strength seem to be Emilia and Iago. In the end, the women are victorious for several reasons.
He is played for a fool by Iago and allows his own self-conscious woes to cripple his better senses. In his suicide he admits his wrongs and his defeat. He valued the words of a man he considered his friend over those of his wife, and for such a mistake he is justly punished.
Desdemona, although murdered, shows far greater strength than her husband. She shows phenomenal moral strength and honesty as she never sways from her vows of marriage or does anything to wrong her husband.
These words show her enduring moral strength in not vilifying Othello even when he deserves it most.Othello - Values and Attitudes Words | 11 Pages "If Othello didn't begin as a play about race, history has made it one." The Venetian society that Othello is set in is representative of the writers context.
The Attitudes and Values of Elizabethen Society in Othello by William Shakespeare PAGES 4. WORDS 2, View Full Essay.
More essays like this: othello, elizabethan society. Not sure what I'd do without @Kibin - Alfredo Alvarez, student @ Miami University. Exactly what I needed. The military also provides Othello with a means to gain acceptance in Venetian society.
While the Venetians in the play are generally fearful of the prospect of Othello’s social entrance into white society through his marriage to Desdemona, all Venetians respect and honor him as a soldier. Discuss with reference to both of your texts.
William Shakespeare’s play, Othello and Geoffrey Sax’s film Othello, centre on the values and ideas which existed respectively, during the Elizabethan era and those held by contemporary audiences. Society was patriarchal; in other words, men ran all of the institutions and were considered the heads of households.
In Shakespeare’s time, women did not enjoy the same freedoms that they do today. As witnessed in Othello, the powers of women can overwhelm a man’s strongest intentions with ease. Through this work, Shakespeare warns us of this. Through this work, Shakespeare warns us of this.
Yet it is hard to tell whether this warning is for men to greet with reassurance or with fear.