Women & Sexuality In Othello Essay

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Discuss the Presentation of Women, Love & Sexuality in Othello Shakespeare's Othello is set during the Renaissance period and therefore the roles of the women in Othello are supposedly bound by the period in which they operate. During this time women were supposed to be chaste, obedient, subservient and most importantly, loyal to their husbands and if they had no husbands, then the chain of command was to their fathers or some male figure of the household. In Shakespeare's play Othello many issues are explored. The three women play a vital role in this. Only one of the women in this play survives. All the women have no separate identity within the play; all three are married or associated with a male character. Bianca is the mistress of Cassio, Emilia is married to Iago and Desdemona is married with Othello. According to the time that the play was written in and the general hierarchy within Venetian society men hold all the power and women are considered to be of low intellect. Yet it is the women that speak the most sense throughout the play and it is also the women that are able to trust other characters in the play. Each woman represents a different social level, Desdemona being the highest and Bianca being of the lowest. Each sexual relationship in the play provokes some jealousy between the couple. Bianca does not appear in the play as much as the other female characters yet her presence is key to the death of Desdemona as well as other play themes. Iago often refers to her as a prostitute, "A house wife that by selling her desires, Buys herself bread and clothes". She has fallen in love with Cassio, yet he does not speak of his returned affection for her due to his desire for status, and her social standing would affect this dramatically. She is the jealous partner in this relationship and expresses this when Cassio produces Desdemona's handkerchief,

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