Othello, By William Shakespeare Essay

1080 Words Feb 29th, 2016 null Page
Over the course of history, in most societies, men have had a more dominant role. Men normally ran the business side of the family and women looked after children and helped the husband when asked. This is the same in William Shakespeare’s Othello, set in Venice and Cyprus in the 16th century. Othello has the gender roles of an Elizabethan society where men were the dominant figure over women. Women were passed from father to husband and served the man who was in charge of them their whole life. Emilia and Desdemona were the two dominant female figures who were supposed to act this way in Othello. However, in William Shakespeare’s Othello, both Desdemona and Emilia try to defy patriarchy and gender roles, but ultimately fail. Desdemona has thoughts of challenging patriarchy in a conversation with Emilia, but still acts submissive to Othello. Desdemona thinks that woman “must think men are not gods” (III.iv.169). She doesn’t understand why Othello is mad at her, and thinks that woman should be able to confront their husbands instead of just being supportive all the time. Desdemona had thought of men as gods, but being with Othello changed that because he is an abusive husband who never lets her into what he is thinking. Desdemona thinks that she should not be under the rule of men, but she still confides to the patriarchy of Othello as her husband. When with Othello, Desdemona refers to him as “my lord” (IV.i.246), demonstrating that she still considers herself inferior to…

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