english othello

  • Created by: jaydene5
  • Created on: 27-11-18 14:20

Does Shakespeare present women as only passive victims?

Loomba states “a white woman flouts the established social hierarchical of ‘clime, complexional degree’ to marry a black man” showing the consistent dominant hold that Othello holds over Desdemona, which permeates throughout the play in similarity to the way men take up most of the plays plot, inserting authoritative machismo. To an extent I agree woman are presented as only passive victims however there are challenges to this statement: Emelia voices her ‘declaration of autonomy on men’.

Women during the Elizabethan era were objectified to the social formality of being subjective to the service of men such as the main female narrative Desdemona who remains seen as a possession of Othello which is shown through possessive conative language. Desdemona’s persona is one of an outgoing, brave and confident one as “She has deceived her father” which challenges social expectations and the archetypal of the subjective passive woman. Although, she escapes imprisonment to one man, her father, she befalls trapped to another one , Othello, as he constantly uses the pronoun “my” when addressing Desdemona creating a tone of control and power as he subtly says he is of higher status and Desdemona is below him. At this point tension would be rising as the Jacobean audience would be astonished that a black man has addressed Desdemona as such throughout and also as a “creature”, showing Desdemona is seen as a passive victim as even after all the rude remarks “zounds” she still only cares about the well-being of


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