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Female Empowerment in ‘Othello’


Female Empowerment in ‘Othello’Shakespeare provides intimidating power to female characters in the classic story of “Othello”. In a time where society viewed women as residential or commercial property whose function was primarily to serve and obey males, Shakespeare shows the defiant strength in women throughout the scenes of”Othello”. In the Elizabethan era the expectations of males and females were clear. Typically, men were to be the bread winner for his family and the ladies were meant to be mothers and homemakers.”Women were anticipated to be silent, chaste, and obedient to their other halves, daddies, siblings, and all men in general. Patriarchal rule justified ladies’s subordination as

the natural order due to the fact that ladies were believed to be physiologically and physiologically inferior to men “(Functions of Females, literary-articles)Elizabethan women of all classes were raised to think that they were secondary to men. Even the protestant church valued this idea, and in order to guarantee further obedience the protestant leader, John Knox priced quote the bible and wrote:” Females in her biggest excellence was made to serve and follow man. With such strong social views on ladies in the time, the most scandalous thing Shakespeare could have written about was a young Venetian ladies defying her daddy and weding into a interracial union. In addition to a brave females who defy’s her hubby and informs individuals of his evil ways. With these strong female characters varying in social status the reader can see the contrast between the method they were expected to behave and how Shakespeare portrayed them to act. Throughout this essay, the expectations of Elizabethan women in the time of”Othello”, will be compared to the actual behaviors of the female characters in the story. In the Elizabethan era there was clear expectations for women of all social status. Females of a greater class, like Desdemona were just often provided the opportunity to have an education. Girls from noble families were taught by tutors from ages 5 or younger. The curriculum they were taught consisted of various languages, English and music. Nevertheless, girls who were not rich did not receive education. The only thing they were taught were home hold responsibilities and how to look desirable in hopes of drawing in a possible hubby. Weather they were from an abundant family or a poor household a girls life goal in the Elizabethen period was to wed as quickly as possible, sometimes as young as twelve.

“Single Elizabethan females were in some cases looked upon with suspicion. It was often the single ladies who were thought to be witches by their neighbors. All Elizabethan ladies would be anticipated to marry, and would depend on her male loved ones throughout their life.”(Alchin, L. K. Elizabethan Period, 2005)Iago sets the tone for the view of women in “Othello “also by mentioning how he feels females should act and what he thinks their function is in act 2 scene one. She that was ever fair and never ever happy, had tongue at will and yet was never loud, never do not have ‘d gold and yet went never ever gay, got away from her dream and yet said’Now I may,’she that being anger ‘d, her vengeance being nigh, bade her wrong stay and her annoyance fly, she that in wisdom never ever was so frail to change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail; she that might think and ne’er reveal her mind, see suitors following and not look behind. She was a wight, if ever such wight were,–“( Othello, 2. 1. 36-946) With such strong viewpoints being so apparent and understood by everyone, it isn’t at all surprising that society’s views of females were that they were weak and not as crucial as guys.”Elizabethan society was patriarchal, suggesting that males were considered to be the leaders and ladies their inferiors. Women were considered as”the weaker sex”, not just in terms of physical strength, but emotionally too. It was thought that females constantly required someone to care for them. If they were wed, their other half was anticipated to care for them. If they were single, then their daddy, bro or another male relative was expected to take care of them.”(Heather Thomas, Elizabethan,1998-2012 )With such strong and strict expectations embedded in women from such a young age, it can be assumed that

a good deal of guts and rebellion would be needed in a girls if she were to act out versus society and defy the guys in her life and act upon her own dreams. Which is exactly what the primary female character, Desdemona, did in the efforts of being with the male she liked, Othello. Desdemona is a really strong character in” Othello”, however some might argue that she ultimately showed to be weak and submissive in the end when her other half Othello murders her out of jealousy. From the start of the story”Othello” Desdemona, child of Brabantio proved to be a strong female character. In a time when it was thought about a sin versus ones religious beliefs to defy their moms and dads she defied her father by running away and marrying him, a Venetian basic, who was likewise an African American male. After Desdemona’s dad accuses Othello of using black magic to get Desdemona to fall in love with him and wed him, they go to the Duke of Venice to decide their fate.” Ay, to me. She is abused, stol ‘n from me, and damaged by spells and medicines bought of mountebanks.(1. 3. 64-66 )The Duke sees that Desdemona is truly

in love with Othello and grants them permission to take a trip to Cyprus together. Although Desdemona did such a stunning thing for that time, before this occurred she had actually been an excellent girl who never ever did anything inappropriate, and even when she was married to Othello she was a correct wife who obeyed him. As the story advances and Othello is poisoned by Iago’s lies of Desdemona and Cassio sleeping together, Othello’s lieutenant, Othello is infuriated with jealousy and swears to defend his honor by eliminating Desdemona and Iago swears to assist by eliminating Cassio. Bit does Othello know that Iago is lying to him. When Othello slips into Desdemonas room while she sleeps he is clashed about eliminating her due to the fact that he loves her however he is too happy with his honor and is too embarrassed of how society will view him after understanding his better half cheated on him to let Desdemona live. As he tells her to pray prior to he kills her Desdemona objects a little by stating she hasn’t done anything wrong, and after that tries to plea with him to kill her up until the next early morning. He then smothers her with a pillow. Desdemona’s actions leading up to her death show that her upbringing along with societies expectations of ladies in the time caused her to die wrongly accused at the

hands of her envious partner. Soon after Emilia, Desdemona’s attendant and Iago’s spouse pertained to the door and recognizes Desdemona had been smothered. She goes to her side and witnesses her last words. When Emilia asks her who has actually done this to her Desdemona replies”Nobody; I myself. Goodbye applaud me to my kind lord: O, farewell!(5. 2. 133-134)Desdemona shows how faithful and selfless she is, hr hubby has simply eliminated her unjustly and she still does not tell Emilia he did it, rather she lames herself. Some might view this as weak but it’s the strongest thing an individual can

do, to act selflessly and to be at peace. This is why Desdemona proved to be an incredibly powerful female character in” Othello”. When Emilia see’s that Desdemona has actually been killed, Othello soon after admits that it was him who eliminated her due to the fact that of the affair she had actually been having with Cassio. Emilia is angered and starts protecting Desdemona’s name”Thou art rash as fire, to state that she was incorrect. Oh, she was divine real!” (5. 2. 148-149)Othello gets mad and informs her it was Iago, her spouse who had actually informed him of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness. Emilia is shocked and after arguing some more Emilia shouts for assistance. Montano, Gratiano and Iago go into. Emilia tells the guys what has actually taken place and explains to them that it was Iago’s lies that made Othello kill Desdemona, Iago informs Emilia to be quiet and go home, but she wont. “Great gentlemen, let me have leave to speak. ‘T appertains I obey him, however not now. Perchance, Iago, I will ne’er go house. “(5. 2. 207-209)She continues to tell them how Iago made her take Desdemona’s scarf, which Iago utilized to make Othello believe Desdemona was having an affair with Cassio. Iago soon after stabs Emilia and fleas

. Although Emilia was unconsciously part of Desdemona’s murder she showed herself as an honorable and just character by sacrificing herself for the justice of Desdemona’s death. She defy’s her partner and speaks out when her girlfriend is unjustly killed. Emilia passed away so that Desdemona’s death would not fail and that once again is a true characteristic of a strong person. This is how Emilia proves to be a worthy and strong character. In conclusion, Shakespeare represented women characters to be genuinely strong throughout the story of “Othello”.

Shakespeare shows the reader time and time once again the real power women have in their compassion, their anger and their altruism. Even in a time where none of females’s effective qualities were valued or appreciated. Emilia and Desdemona are caught in a web of disaster developed by the males in their life and suffer at the hands of their selfishness however still die heroically and innocently. Desdemona and Emilia are the real hero’s of this story, they both showed guts and went against everything they understood and all their social-norms in their efforts to do what was ideal for them and others.

The greatest thing that Desdemona did was love her husband even when he murdered her, she always loved him even when he was angry. “So would not I. My love doth so authorize him that even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns– Prithee, unpin me– have grace and favor.” (4. 3. 18-20)Desdemona loved her husband unconditionally which is why she is the genuine hero. Othello gave up on their love when he believed Desdemona was capable of infidelity, whereas Desdemona continued loving Othello even though he had actually eliminated her. That is why Desdemona is the real strong hero in the story of”Othello”


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