Shelby-Ann DebrahDr. CarterHonors World LiteratureNovember 8, 2017 Feminism in OthelloThroughout the tragedy of Othello, a play written by Shakespeare there is a significant amount of sexism.
It occurs from various male characters in the play, who discriminate against the women in the play.There are various instances where sexism is aimed at the three women in the Shakespearean play; Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca. The opening scene shows Iago expressing his hatred for the general in the play named Othello for choosing Michael Cassio as his second in command, Iago creates a plan to avenge himself “I follow him to serve my turn upon him” (1.1.5); Rodrigo is used as a pawn in this throughout the play and assist Iago in the first scene by apprising Brabantio who is Desdemona’s father about his daughter’s plan to elope with Othello: “Call up her father, / Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight . .
. “(1.1.5) In this section a father’s control over a daughter’s choice of a marriage partner is shown.Roderigo receiving a warning from Brabantio show’s the same thing”I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors. In honest plainness thou hast heard me say.My daughter is not for thee”. .
.. (1.1.7). Iago continuing to side with Brabantio encourages Brabantio him to make more decisions for desdemona.
Roderigo who wants to please Iago to win Desdemona who is the love of his life is seen throughout the play insulting Desdemona he even calls her and her actions rebellious “Your daughter, if you have not given her leave, / I say again, hath made a gross revolt . . . ” (1.1.8).After verifying the absence of his daughter from his home, Brabantio tells all fathers to “trust not” their daughters, indicating a tendency among young ladies to rebel against authority: :O heaven! How got she out? O treason of the blood! Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters’ mind. By what you see them act” (1.
1.6)Othello, the general and also the protagonist of the story, seems initially to be lacking in sexism and his unconditional love for Desdemona:As this that I have reach’d: for know, Iago,But that I love the gentle Desdemona,I would not my unhoused free condition (1.2).
Othello’s feelings for desdemona changes as he continues to let Iago put fear and doubt in his mind. His jealousy over Desdemona drives him and her to a tragic death, and the death of the innocent perfection of “woman”. After her death, all the events that continue have a tragic end. Emilia who is the wife of Iago is treated as a slave by her husband. Throughout the play she is portrayed as a timid lady who allows her husband to maltreat her.She eventually stands up to the authority of the men in the play after the death of Desdemona: “I will not charm my tongue, I am bound to speak.
My mistress here lies murdered in her bed ,and because of it is murdered by her husband, which he seems is justified because she was unfaithful to him” (5.2.121). Bianca a young woman who is in love with Cassio but because she is a harlet, Cassio sees her as a laughable nuisance.Bianca is portrayed as a pitiful character who allows men to uses her and much like Emilia maltreat her.
When Cassio continuously treats her badly , it is clear that Shakespeare is making a point about how women get used throughout the play. To conclude this essay the play “Othello” has shown many underlying issues that deal with women.The Shakespearean era, stereotypes the characters of women like Bianca and Emilia as pitiful, and as ladies who worship their husbands no matter how bad they are treated.