Othello, By William Shakespeare Essay

1000 Words Mar 23rd, 2015 null Page
Othello, by Sir 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 defies gender norms of the Renaissance by portraying Desdemona as a woman who does not conform to female expectations of the Renaissance. In this sense, the Renaissance ideals of femininity were submissiveness, piety, patience, silence, and chastity. This rebelliousness against heteronormativity is what eventually causes Desdemona’s death. Shakespeare uses characterization and conflict to describe Desdemona’s gender defiant features.
Ruben Espinosa argues that although the Virgin Mary was seen as a heavenly being, she was not the depiction of the perfect woman. In this sense, the perfect woman was one who adheres to all the gender norms of the time. Espinosa says that:
Protestant Reformers insisted that Mary was ‘ever-virgin’. In a post-Reformation framework, Mary’s virtue and chastity in marriage are qualities worthy of female emulation. However, Mary’s physical virginity, and not her mere chastity, posits an interesting paradox – she is both faithful, and yet not quite a dutiful wife where Joseph is concerned. (92)

The Protestants in the Renaissance saw procreation as the main reason for marriage. Mary was not a good wife because not only did she not carnally satisfy her husband, but she also did not bear him any children, as Jesus is the Son of God,…

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