AP Lang/Comp -7th hour
1 April 2013
The Female Roles in Othello
Each role that the women in Shakespeare’s Othello play illustrates different aspects of the female personality based off of the nature of their relationship. Desdemona plays the role of a woman who is dedicated to her marriage. Emilia role is of a woman trying to amend her faulty marriage, but eventually gives up having made a deeper connection with someone else. Bianca’s character is a representation of a woman who desires to be married, but cannot obtain it based off her lifestyle.
Desdemona can be seen as a woman who is sincerely devoted to her husband, and the bond of marriage. That devotion also comes with a certain degree of defensiveness in order to protect that marriage from outside forces. The degree of commitment Desdemona has towards her marriage is illustrated when in a conversation with Emilia in Act 4; she see infidelity as “gross” and that it would be “abuse” (IV.iii.64-65) to cheat on her husband. This commitment was first displayed at the beginning of the play where in Act 1 Desdemona tells her father, Brabantio that she has “divided duty” (I.iii.179) because of his being her father, and Othello being her husband. But, she chooses to go against her father wishes telling him, “And so much duty as my mother showed to you, preferring her before her father, so much I challenge that I profess due to the Moor my lord.” By saying that to her father, Desdemona is saying she is living by the example her mother set by being as committed to her marriage to her father as she was. Perhaps the most concrete example of Desdemona’s dedication to her marriage to Othello was when she did not tell Emilia that it was Othello who tried to kill her. Instead she blames it on herself stating after Emilia asked her who did it, “Nobody-I myself.” (V.ii.123)
Emilia is perhaps the complete opposite of Desdemona, as she seems to be portrayed as a woman whose marriage is...
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