Essay on Othello, By William Shakespeare

2207 Words Apr 1st, 2015 null Page
Othello, by William Shakespeare, is a play about a black moor, Othello, who marries Desdemona, the daughter of a Senator. This play contains various themes such as racism, love, betrayal, revenge, and gender. Shakespeare depicts Desdemona as a monster by having Iago call her a “white ewe” as a way to establish Desdemona’s nonconformity to gender. In this sense, the Renaissance believed that monsters were creatures formed from an abnormality in nature and were usually represented by animal figures or a hybrid of human and animal. Desdemona disobeys her father, instead of being the submissive woman that a Renaissance woman should be, and marries Othello, a black man. Thus, she does not conform to gender norms that society at the time would think were natural, becoming an abnormality. Shakespeare uses characterization and conflict to describe Desdemona’s monstrous characteristics.
The Renaissance society used physiology to set up expectations of gender behavior. In this sense, men and women behaved differently because they had different biology. During the Renaissance, it was believed that the type of liquid a person had circulating in his or her body determined his or her behavior. This idea was organized around the elements of earth, water, air, and fire and resulted in qualities such as hot, cold, wet, and dry. If one was cold and dry, he or she had black bile running through his or her body, which caused the melancholic behavior. If one was cold and wet, his or her liquid…

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