Othello – Female Stereotypes

Othello– Female Stereotypes

Tuesday, March sixth, 2012 Othello Essay In “Othello,” William Shakespeare thoroughly explores female stereotypes that take place throughout the playwright’s time. Throughout the Shakespearian age, females were seen as the inferior sex, over whom guys had total control and therefore forcing ladies to act submissively and obediently in front of their husbands. Men believed that ladies were objects who just cooked meals, cleaned the house, and bore children while society simply accepted these degrading functions.

William Shakespeare thoroughly enhances female stereotypes by providing the deaths of Emilia and Desdemona to be rightly deserved for defying their female gender functions throughout the play. Emilia and Desdemona are polar opposite characters who serve the very same function for Shakespeare to reinforce sexist stereotypes in his play. Emilia’s constant challenge of the female stereotype with her cynical yet modern concepts and Desdemona’s misleading representation of the best Shakespearean lady lead both characters to their unfortunate deaths.

By acknowledging William Shakespeare’s sexist discussion of his female characters, readers have the ability to make their own viewpoints on the credibility of Shakespeare’s claim that a woman who defies her gender function is worthy of to pass away. Emilia is caused her death by defying the sexist, female convention. Emilia differs from any other character in “Othello” because she challenges the Shakespearean female stereotype by insulting the idea of spouses, thinking in women’s equivalent right to adultery, stealing her own friend’s handkerchief, and swearing at a guy remarkable to her.

Her death is symbolic for representing an effect of her actions for not conforming to the female stereotype. Overlooking her gender conventions, Emilia first speaks bitterly of all spouses and their actions towards their better halves, “They are all however stomachs, and we all but food. To eat us hungerly, and when they are complete, They belch us,” (3. 4. 99-101). During that time, insulting any male, particularly a woman’s own partner, was shocking and unimaginable for any girl. Secondly, Emilia continues to cross the limits by validating a woman’s right to dedicate adultery:

But I do think it is their other halves’ faults If spouses do fall. Say that they slack their tasks […] Throwing restraint upon us. Or say they strike us, […] Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace, Yet have we some vengeance,” (4. 3. 81-88). This was likewise scandalous and unthinkable for any woman to recommend unfaithful on her spouse and trying to justify it. Thirdly, Emilia’s one deceitful act towards Desdemona, taking her handkerchief, turns out to have disastrous consequences. I discovered by fortune and did offer my other half. […] He pled of me to steal it,” (5. 2. 240-243). The loss of the handkerchief is what encourages Othello that Desdemona is guilty of adultery, and Emilia’s little theft winds up indirectly triggering her buddy’s death. Finally, she swears at Othello numerous times. Though it seems valid to insult his absence of intelligence at the end of the play, it is unseemly for any female throughout that time to insult anybody, particularly a male exceptional to her.

She shrieks at Othello, “Fie upon thee!” (5. 1. 127) then again she insults his irrationality, “O gull! O dolt! As oblivious as dirt!” (5. 2. 176-177). Although, Emilia might appear like an innocent woman who just wishes to please her hubby, there are much more minutes in the play when she withstands the female convention instead of fitting into it. Her habits is highly unsuitable for a lady in the Shakespearean time and by constantly breaking the gender convention, she passes away as a repercussion of her actions.

In contrast to Emilia, Desdemona may seem to be the ideal Shakespearean female since of her obedience and submissiveness but her certainty and authority can be seen typically enough in the play to end in her death. Desdemona disobeys her dad, defies Iago, and asserts herself in front of Othello. Her very first lines show her defiance to her dad when she chooses Othello “the Moor, [her] lord” (1. 3. 189) without adult permission. Although, she understands that she is at fault, she does not excuse marrying “an old black ram,” (1. 90). By defying her daddy, Barbantio, she sows her own seeds of damage. When Barbantio states, “She has deceived her dad, and may thee,” (1. 3. 291) to Othello, the doubt in her fidelity becomes apparent to Iago, therefore leading to her own death. Moreover, while Iago continues to make crude, sexist jokes in front of Desdemona and Emilia, Desdemona counters back with her retort, “Oh, a lot of lame and impotent conclusion! Do not discover of him, Emilia, though he by thy hubby,” (2. 1. 169-170).

She even recommends to Emilia to ignore Emilia’s own other half. Desdemona’s reaction to Othello after he strikes her programs her absence of obedience. As a victim of physical abuse, Desdemona tersely replies, “I have not deserved this,” (4. 1. 233). When Emilia asks about her killer before Desdemona’s death, she does not blame Othello due to the fact that she is compliant, but due to the fact that she knows that she is the real specific to blame for challenging the female convention, “Nobody. I myself. Goodbye,” (5. 2. 137).

Obviously, Desdemona is not the subservient and docile character many see her as however one who rebels against the stereotype that is set upon her. The function of her death is to show Shakespeare’s audience that even slightly defying the female stereotype will cause death. Shakespeare enhances sexist, female stereotypes in “Othello” by ending the lives of Emilia and Desdemona for challenging the female convention. The inclusion of these stereotypes is essential to acknowledge in order to end up being more alert of William Shakespeare’s function and presentation in composing.

Shakespeare portrays Emilia as a downhearted and absurd character while Desdemona is represented as a deceptive and noncompliant one. His negative representations of these female characters show his true disdain for ladies, the inferior gender during that time. The deaths are undeserved, senseless, and criminal however Shakespeare portrays them as almost relevant and reasonable thus strengthening the sexist stereotype. The ramifications are rather clear that a perfect female is “never bold, Of spirit so still and quiet that her own motion Blushed at herself,” (1. 96-98) and that she must constantly remain under the tutelage of a male. Additionally, females need to continually make every effort to comply with become guys’s ideals of a best woman. By being mindful and aware of these sexist themes present in “Othello,” audience members and readers are able to thoroughly evaluate the play in a more vital light to prevent being swayed by Shakespeare’s ideas of the ideal female hence avoiding constant stereotypes of ladies in contemporary society. Last Word Count: 1,073

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