Feminism in Othello

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Feminism in Othello

•All three women in Othello are presented according to men's interpretations? There are several different forms of feminism represented in Othello, Desdemona is presented in Act 1 Scene 3 as a woman bound to her father and loyal to her husband (as men believe women should be). Perhaps it could be said that Bianca is also presented according to a man's interpretation as she is a whore and is treated accordingly by Cassio. She is dismissed and disrespected. However Bianca is shown by Shakespeare to be a little hard done by and the audience is made to feel a certain amount of sympathy for her rejection by Cassio; this therefore does not continue that idea. Emilia is another woman in Othello who does not comply with this idea of women presented in a man's image, she is feisty and stubborn and argues back in Scene 5 of the play, and eventually uncovering her husbands own betrayal which is his eventual downfall.

•The three women are completely passive throughout the play? Desdemona at first appears a strong minded woman when in Act 1 Scene 3 she pleas with the Duke of Venice to let her go to Cyprus with Othello so that she is not denied her right as a wife, to consummate her marriage, she shows self possessed determination. However she becomes more stereotypically meek and passive as the play progresses, even when struck by Othello in public (Act 4 Scene 1) she merely says "I have not deserved this…I will not stay to offend you." As well as this, Desdemona submits to her own murder by Othello and when asked by Emilia – "Who has done this?" Desdemona replies, "No one…I myself…commend me to my kind lord." It cannot be said that Emilia remains passive throughout the entire play as although she wishes to remain loyal to her husband Iago, she talks bawdily with Desdemona and upon realisation that it is Iago who has caused such tragedy she wastes no time in revealing him. Also Bianca although teased by Cassio with promises of marriage, has no...
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