Summary: Numerous Moments of Obvious Sexism in William Shakespeare’s Tragic Play

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 Othello is a play written by William Shakespeare in the year 1603 and it was first performed one year later, the first November 1604.

In William Shakespeare’s tragic play Othello there are numerous moments of obvious sexism towards the three women in the play (Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca) throughout this paper Desdemona’s position will be discussed, described and explained.Women have a big role in the play due to them being the cause of the tragedies happening. From the start to the end we can observe how the wives are treated poorly and with disrespect.Women during this age had to spent their lives serving men, nonwanted marriages, taking care of the kids by themselves and used as sexual objects. In Shakespeare’s play, women were not allowed to raise their voice but there were some of them who despite the rules, and male dominance did raise their voice for their rights.This is what Desdemona could be seen as in Othello. She decided to stand with her husband even if it was seen as something horribly wrong in society.

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In these times women did not have the freedom that some woman “have” nowdays. The view of Shakespeare’s female character, Desdemona is that she has determined, powerful personality that has been oppressed by culture. As mentioned before, Desdemona is one of those characters who is powerful, strong and which her fight against the male roles on the play cost her, her death.

Shakespeare’s character was vulnerable to society as she was surrounded by men all the time. When she tried to take action against it, it resulted in her death. She could be described as independent, strong and determined to live her life as she truly wanted. She didn’t care about her father’s opinion about marrying a Moor, in that time were it was seen as something antinatural. But he still didn’t care and was against her marrying Othello even though she loved him.Desdemona’s conversation with Brabantio suggests that she is a strong woman.

That is when she informs her father that she has made the decision and is unwilling to go back. She tried not to insult anyone and to be as polite as possible so that her father wouldn’t get mad.Despite being a strong woman, she eventually had to accept her inferior character. As she was shaped by the society. Her status as a woman meant that her intelligence and capability to deal with the problems are not important to the male roles.Apart from that Desdemona was frequently treated by Othello as an inferior. She was treated as a property of the marriage. Othello oppresses Desdemona throughout the play with verbal comments. Horrible and insulting words such as “strumpet” and “whore” are said to her. Desdemona is a victim of sexism. She can be considered to be a victim of violence since Othello’s jealousy makes him mad and he kills his “beloved” wife.

Despite the fact that Desdemona was strong, independent and intellectual, her position as a woman made her vulnerable. She defied her father and married Othello against his wish. However being a woman, she was oppressed by Othello. This shows us that even if a woman fighted for her rights and was right, no one would ever believe her.  

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