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Sexism in Othello by William Shakespeare

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In Othello, women are not seen in society as equal to males. The women are not able to pick who they marry, as their father must grant permission and choose who he wants his daughter to marry to try to become more wealthy and keep money in the family. During this play, there are only three women with speaking roles and that is just because of how important they are to the entire story. 

In Othello, most women were born to marry a wealthy man, have children, and tend to housework. Women do not have close to the same amount of rights as men. Women were taught to be respectful to all men and to not argue with their commands, but to do what is told with no arguments and no back talking. After a man marries a woman, that man has possession of her. Everything he says is to be done and are nearly allowed to speak up for themselves throughout the entire story. In the play, Desdemona goes against the normal society and marries who she wants to marry. This is very bizzare for someone during this period, as it was not with her father’s approval. Desdemona shows confidence in herself and does not want to live the normal life of a woman who does everything her husband tells her to do. She wants to live the life of choice and wants to be the one to decide what she does at that time of the day.

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 In Othello, Emilia says to Desdemona, “Let husbands know their wives have sense like them. They see and smell and have their palates both for sweet and sour, as husbands have”. When Emilia says this to Desdemona, she is talking about how women go through the same things as men, so what makes them so much different to have to be treated in a completely different way?

 Emilia is telling Desdemona to try to make a difference in how these men see women. She believes that she can make an impact on people and make them realize the similarities in men and women. Although women have such restricted rights, Iago persuades Othello to believe things about Desdemona that never truly happened. Maybe Othello would have believed Desdemona if she spent more time to actually get to know his wife than to just have her around for whatever he wanted?

 That is a possibility here. People think so little of women that once a women is considered a whore, just like how Iago persuades Othello that she is, that the women must be killed, as she has dishonored the family name and brought shame to the family. If women were thought a little bit higher of, men would know that no one is perfect, and that just as you make mistakes, women make mistakes as well and are not perfect either. In conclusion, women in this play are treated very unfairly. Women cannot do anything on their own and must follow their husbands orders or there is a possible consequence of death.

 I believe one of shakespeare’s goals in the play is to show the difference from male and female and bring the attention to the public. If he did not care about women, then he would have had less women in the play and a different story.  

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