Gender Differences In Shakespeare's Othello

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In many of his works, Shakespeare explores and illustrates the gender differences that appear between men and women. While Shakespeare’s Othello does just that, the two main female characters, Desdemona and Emilia, are shown in accordance with the expectations of women in Elizabethan society. The manners in which these two characters carry themselves, is undeniably linked to the attitudes they are subjected too by their male counterparts. In the play, each woman is essentially “owned” by a male, and ultimately becomes his property: property that can be used, dominated and abused. This view towards women, held by Iago, Othello and Brabantio, leads to the abuse of power and to the subsequent downfall of each man in the play, as well as the deaths…show more content…
While the women appear submissive to the men’s requests and name calling, the women do not fail to question their attitudes. Similar to how Iago is damning in his opinion towards women, so is Emilia; she argues that men are “all but stomachs, and we all but food/ They eat us hungerly, and when they are full/ They belch us” (3.4 116). Emilia goes on to question why men are able to carry out their actions in such a manner and take advantage of women when, in reality, men and women are very…show more content…
Despite the cynical attitudes that Desdemona and Emilia are subjected too by Othello and Iago, these two female characters are essential parts to the play as a whole; their stories show tremendous significance regarding the roles of women in Elizabethan society and the impact it has on society. By accentuating the theme of gender roles, people are able to learn how women were treated back then and how history has brought women to equal men. While gender equality is the overarching theme, there is also a strong feminist aspect to Emilia which helps contrast the very different dynamics of the male and female authority at the time; ultimately, women seem to be put firmly in place as objects and temptresses, whereas men are the ones who possess true power. As a result, women must begin to question the validity of unchecked male authority in order to make a stride towards a more egalitarian society back them and

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