Othello Power

Topics: Iago, Othello, Gender Pages: 3 (1048 words) Published: September 4, 2013
Contemporary audiences are interested in the balance of power between the sexes in Shakespeare’s play Othello. Discuss this statement with close reference to at least 2 key scenes. The spread of power within society is not one of equality with some being able to exert more on others. The role, importance and especially the power of men in Shakespeare’s play Othello has come from the values and beliefs of society at the time of Shakespeare, however Shakespeare in the play has evened out the balance of power experienced by men and women in the play suggesting that woman are of importance and do possess power which men force woman to constrain through the use of male dominance and strength the men have. The society of Othello is strongly dominated by men who are the political and military leaders of their homeland whereas women are thought of as weak second class citizens, with no morals and who are in place for nothing more than to serve their men. This theme is clearly evident in the relationship of Emilia and Iago and later in the play between Othello and Desdemona where the woman is in some sense abused by the man due to the lack of power they experience in Venetian society. The power the men possess are different, where Othello and Cassio are given hierarchical power, Iago has the power of language, but the power they possess over woman are the same, strength and what society has determined for the sexes. The relationship between Iago and Emilia shows how men misuse their power over women and that their relationship is therefore characterised by sarcasm and distrust. Emilia has two important speeches on the subject of the power men possess in Act 3 scene 4, she says that men eat woman hungrily and then when they are full, they belch them out and the other being let husbands know their wives have sense like them. These speeches demonstrate how Emilia knows and displeases the power men are given and that in a male dominated culture where women serve men’s...
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