Othellos Downfall

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Males within Venetian society maintained a higher status than women and were considered to hold the power and intellect. Throughout women’s lives, they are owned by a male figure; as a young girl they are owned by the father, but once they are married they are then owned by the husband. They were also expected to portray a feminine figure, obey and respect men, remain virtuous and maintain a good status as an Elizabethan wife. Throughout Shakespeare play Othello, Iago leads Othello to believe that his wife Desdemona is being unfaithful towards him with his newly appointed lieutenant Cassio. Without confronting his wife about this accusation, he begins to prematurely punish her by treating her without respect and later on strikes her. This occurs In act 4 scene 1, and Desdemona responds to Othello by saying “I have not deserved this”. During Venetian times, physical abuse upon wives was emitted, with the wife unable to fight back. Women were also seen as something males owned. The relationship between Iago and Emilia was clearly not built on love and passion; instead it seemed to be built on Iago’s goal to gain status among piers. Iago requests many favours from Emilia such as stealing Desdemona’s handkerchief and follows Iago in a wifely duty. He does not treat her like his wife until he requires something of her. This shows how the women were used in venetian society, there was no relationship with a give and take system. Instead it was merely the men who would take from the women, and the women would just accept that, as it was the way they were raised. In Act 3 scene 3 Emilia says aloud “my wayward husband hath a hundred times wooed me to steal it… I’ll have the work tane out and give’t Iago” this gives the audience the understanding that Emilia has been requested by Iago to steal the Desdemona’s handkerchief while knowing that it has some link to an evil act ,as she references her husband to a “wayward husband”. Women being seen as male owned, is also...
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