Othello: Women and Sexuality

View mindmap
  • Womanhood and Sexuality in Othello
    • Desdemona: The Madonna
      • Plays the role of the virtuous wife
        • 'Beshrew me if I would do such a  wrong/For the whole world'
          • This quote shows her virtuous/naive nature. She cannot believe anyone would cheat on their husband
          • She cannot see how her behaviour may be misinterpreted to others
    • Bianca: The Whore
      • On the surface, Bianca is presented as the stereotypical whore
        • Even Emilia, the feminist icon, accuses her of being  a 'strumpet'
      • However, Shakespeare undermines this view of Bianca as a 'whore.' And shows her to have more complex feelings.
        • Cassio treats her as disposable: 'she haunts me in every place'
        • But Bianca loves Cassio: 'Alas, he faints! O Cassio, Cassio, Cassio'
    • Emilia: A Complex Mix
      • Emilia fits neither into the stereotype Desdemone or Bianca does
      • Instead she seems to be partly Desdemona, as she seems loyal to Iago when she gives him the handkerchief
      • Yet she is not wholly loyal. She defies Iago at the end of the play- costing her her life.
        • She also says women have the right to 'revenge' if they are mistreated
    • Context
      • Setting
        • Venice was well known for its sexual promiscuity
          • This perceived immorality of Venetian women is shown through Emilia's description of adultery as a 'small vice'
        • Iago even uses this to convince Othello of Desdemona's adultery
          • He convinces Othello he knows the 'country disposition'
            • He argues that Desdemona is sexually corrupt, that she will commit adultery without a bad conscience


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all Othello resources »