The Portaryal of Gender in Othello by William Shakespeare Essay

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The portrayal of gender roles in William Shakespeare’s play Othello, demonstrates the inferior treatment of women and the certain stereotypes of men placed on them by society. Both the male and female characters in the play have these certain gender expectations placed on them. In a society dominated by men, it is understood that the women are to be seen rather than heard. The women are referred to and treated much like property. If indeed they do speak up, they are quickly silenced. One woman’s attempt to be the perfect wife is what ultimately led to her demise. The expectations of men are equally stereotypical. Men are to be leaders and to be in control and dominant especially over the women. The male characters compete for position and …show more content…
However, in her marriage to Othello, she provides a perfect image of what society expects a wife to be. Nonetheless, she is unaware of the problems that her devotion and virtue will stir up. At the same time it appears that Othello may have been trying to prove himself by obtaining such a women of beauty and stature. To be of color and a great general along with having a beautiful wife would mean he had it all and would be living up to the expectations of what it means to be a man. Desdemona displays obedience towards her husband on many occasions even though at times he treats her as a mere piece of property. She may no longer be under the control of her father, but she is now subject to Othello and even refers to him as her “lord.” It seems as if her hand has merely been transferred from that of her father to her new husband, Othello. Othello asks of Desdemona who she is and her reply is; “Your wife, my lord, your true and loyal wife” (4.1.35). Even when Othello is angry with her, Desdemona keeps her humble composure. She asks “Why, sweet Othello?” (4.1.218) and upon leaving tells Othello; “ I will not stay to offend you” (4.1.226). Despite her submissiveness, love and honor, Othello still treats her as a subordinate. It is as if Desdemona is seen as more of a prize for which Othello has competes against Brabantio and wins. Othello refers to his new wife many times as an object of beauty

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