Othello--Analyzing Gender Barriers

1208 Words5 Pages
The misconceptions of the opposing genders in Othello are almost as detrimental to Desdemona and Othello as jealousy. It is a theme so abundant that it is seen throughout the entire play and extends to characters beyond Desdemona and Othello. The men are trapped in their misconceptions and stereotypes about women, while the women are doomed by their hope that the men will understand them. The play opens with Desdemona's rebellion against her father. She does not ask her father for his permission to marry—an action that is beyond radical for the 17th century. Many would believe that Barbantio’s outrage is to do with Othello's race but Othello’s race has nothing to do with it. Barbantio was close friends with Othello prior to the marriage further proving that his outrage stems from his daughter defiance. He believes, like all men of the time, that his daughter is his possession like his house and his clothing, making Othello the same as robber. Barbantio sees his daughter only how he expects her to be, quiet and obedient, rather than an individual. His refusal to see her beyond his assumptions causes him to blame her rebellion on witchcraft. “Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense/Sans witchcraft could not” (1.3.76-77). Barbantio’s assurance that Desdemona was put under some kind of spell exemplifies his misconceptions of Desdemona, if he had seen his daughter as an individual he would have been able to see the budding romance between her and Othello. Desdemona calmly, logically explains her actions. While trying to reach civility with her father she explains how she is aware that she is bound to her father who created, fed, and educated her yet she, like her mother, must give her loyalty to her husband. Desdemona hopes that her father will see her side but he does not even attempt to because he cannot see past her defiance.

More about Othello--Analyzing Gender Barriers

Open Document