Feminism In Othello

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Feminism in Othello

Othello is a tragic play about an angry man, Iago, who does everything in his power to destroy the life of the hero, Othello, for promoting somebody else. In the play, there are only 2 major female characters and each of these characters embodies a completely different bias about women and feminism in the Elizabethan times. Desdemona, Othello’s wife and the more traditional character, believes in putting her husband first, and that love is all the matters. Emilia, on the other hand, is Iago’s wife and one of Desdemona’s dearest friends. She is the strong feminist in the play, and believes in women’s rights and the fact that women are physically no different to men.
While reading the play, it becomes clear that Shakespeare included two female characters, each embracing an extremely different bias about women from the other. However, society in general during the Elizabethan times seemed to put women “in their place” (smartenglish.com). The men in that society treated women as though they were possessions that they could treat however they please. They also believed that they were superior to women and that women should remain obedient and oppressed, and not question their husbands or fathers. The conversations that the females in the play have when they are not in the presence of men seem to prove that they have accepted society’s expectations of them, and that when they are in the company of men, they behave the way men believe to be natural. It is for this reason that when Desdemona married Othello without her father, Brabantio’s consent, he states that her actions were “against all rules of nature” (I, iii, 101).
Many feminist critics view Desdemona as submissive and oppressed. Desdemona, herself, gives evidence to this claim when she states that she is “obedient” (III, iii, 89) to Othello no matter what. When Desdemona says this, she is

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