Shakespeare's "Othello" Women's Role

Topics: Othello, Iago, Michael Cassio Pages: 2 (800 words) Published: November 16, 2005
In the play "Othello", Shakespeare presents us with another male dominated society where women are inferior. Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca are rejected by their partners, but love them completely and unselfishly. All three women are in unbalanced relationships, feeling more for their self-centered men who appear unable to reciprocate. Nevertheless, these women display genuine feelings toward each other unlike any of the male-male friendships. Desdemona and Emilia are both married to career military soldiers. Newly wedded Desdemona is inexperienced (innocent) in the "real world" despite being raised by a prominent Venetian Senator. In contrast, Emilia appears to have been married for some time. She is knowledgeable to the ways of a soldier, yet only believes a portion of what her husband tells her. Although Emilia has been Desdemona's attendant since the play's start (maybe much earlier), we really don't get an intimate view of their relationship until Act 4, Scene 3. During this scene, Emilia is truly concerned for Desdemona and her problems with Othello. Desdemona tells her, "Even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns – prithee, unpin me- have grace and favor in them (line 21)." She also tells Emilia if she should die before her to wrap her body using the sheets on the bed. At first, Emilia thinks this is only "talk", but Desdemona begins to tell her about the song she learned from her mother's maid Pieseski 2

(Barbary). This becomes an intimate moment between the two, as Emilia is unpinning Desdemona's hair and preparing her for bed (like a mother helping her young daughter). This showing of affection is strictly among the women of this play. The men are the ones who are committing all the violence and most of the distrust. This conversation continues intimately...
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