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In Shakespeare's play "Othello", the female characters, Desdemona, Bianca and Emilia, are presented to us in a variety of ways through dialogue, reactions, relationships, and their actions. Shakespeare conjures up sympathy for women, especially in the scenes where they are accompanied by men.

Desdemona is presented by Shakespeare in a somewhat contradictory fashion. Although she is "half the wooer", she is victimised by almost all of the male characters. Her own father Brabantio rejects her –"I'd rather adopt a child than get it…" Roderigo's lust for Desdemona is evident in the lines "It is silliness to live, when to live is torment…" Iago merely sees Desdemona as an object, using her to gain revenge against Othello. Her own husband Othello also rejects her, and ends up killing her, believing she has deceived him. Through these actions, Shakespeare conjures up a feeling of sympathy towards Desdemona, presenting her as loyal, devoted wife, who is unfairly punished. Shakespeare's original depiction of Desdemona, and perhaps of women in general, as an innocent, quiet, cooperative lady, is first contradicted in the court scene. Here, she goes against her father "But here's my husband, and so much duty as my mother showed to you, preferring you before her father…" However, on the other hand, upon looking at Othello's and Desdemona's relationship, it can be argued that females are presented as inferior to males. Desdemona is willing to submit to Othello's authority "my heart's subdued even to the utmost pleasure of my lord…"

Emilia is also presented by Shakespeare as a loyal, loving wife, seeking to please her husband. This is especially evident when she gives Iago's Desdemona's handkerchief. However, Shakespeare presented Emilia as a stronger woman than both Desdemona and Bianca. This is evident in her relationship with Iago. When Iago derides women in Act 2 Scene 1, she replies "you shall not ride my praise…" The fact that she rightly...
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