Presentation on theme: "Othello The role of women"— Presentation transcript:
1 Othello The role of women You will make notes from this powerpoint, and from my lecture that accompanies it.
2 Essay topics the following notes will be handy for: The position of women in Shakespearean dramaCharacter essays on Desdemona/Emilia/Othello/IagoWhy the relationship falls apartReputationThis is not to say that these notes will enable you to write a complete essay on every single topic. It is expected you will synthesise the information you learn into an answer (pick ‘n mix).
3 Women in the Elizabethan period Similar to the 19th century (think back to WSS)A patriarchal society dictated women obey menExpected to be virginal and chaste because…It was through them that blood and wealth was transmitted from father to son. If your wife wasn’t faithful, how could you trust that your child really was yours?Out of control wife=husband’s reputation suffersQuestion: Who was the very first woman? What happened to Adam because of her? In the more extreme views of the day, people could be extremely weary of women – of how they could taint bloodlines and lure men into dishonest dealings.
4 BrabantioBrabantio believes that a daughter’s first duty should be obedience to her fatherSees her elopement as a crime against this dutyO heaven! How got she out? O treason of the blood.Brabantio is speaking literally as well as figuratively – Desdemona IS his blood; her rebellion is a rebellion of part of himself.
5 BrabantioBrabantio believes Desdemona has been tricked into marrying OthelloDoesn’t think she is capable of making her own decisionsShe is abused, stolen from me and corrupted by spells and medicines.
6 DesdemonaMore than capable of standing up for herself and choosing her allegianceObvious that it must lie with her husbandher duty is due to the MoorInitially, a picture of powerful womanhoodAsserts her independence from patriarchy by choosing her own husband
7 The Courtship Devour up my discourse Eagerness to hear Othello’s tales of adventure suggests that Desdemona feels constrainedNeglects domestic duties in order to…with a greedy earDevour up my discourseDesdemona makes the first move with Othello, when she tells him that “she wished that heaven had made her such a man”.
8 Look at Othello’s speech at 1.3.127 What sorts of things did Desdemona hear Othello speak of?What about Othello might Desdemona have been attracted to?
9 The Courtship Falls in love with idea of O’s heroism and exoticism Relationship based on ideal, rather than knowledge and intimacyOne of the reasons why Othello is so easily convinced of her infidelity
10 Iago You rise to play and go to bed to work scathing of women0 bawdy speech suggests true feelingsYou rise to play and go to bed to work
11 Iago Easily convinced by rumours of his wife’s infidelity I, for mere suspicion in that kind, Will do as if for surety.Knows that Desdemona is innocent and virtuous, but is still determined toturn her virtue into pitch
12 Iago as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys Use of lewd and bestial imagery suggests that he sees sex as an animalistic and entirely physical actSays that Desdemona and Cassio areas prime as goats, as hot as monkeys
13 Iago Our general’s wife is now the general Part of Iago’s contempt for Othello is located in his fear that Desdemona has powerHe feels that a man shows weakness by allowing a woman to have power over himOur general’s wife is now the general
14 OthelloDemonstrates his willingness to obey Desdemona when she first pleads Cassio’s suitlet him come when he will; I will deny thee nothing.
15 Othello However, Othello’s jealousy is easily invoked A military man = little knowledge of love and romanceIago manipulates Othello’s sense of himself as an outsider, saying that he doesn’t understand the way women in Venetian society conduct their romantic affairs:In Venice they do let God see the pranks they dare not show their husbands
16 Othello Easily and thoroughly convinced of Desdemona’s infidelity Does not even allow Desdemona the opportunity to defend herself, abusing her and accusing her of crying for effect only:If that the earth could teem with woman’s tears, Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile.
17 Othello Love for Desdemona based on an ideal If he really knew her, he would know she was incapable of infidelitySees her death as a necessary sacrifice in order to preserve the image of her purity and perfection
18 Bianca Cassio’s lover Owns her own home Has the pride to be offended by and to vigorously defend herself against the insults of Emilia:I am no strumpet, but of life as honest as you that thus abuse me.
19 Bianca O, my dear Cassio, my sweet Cassio. Loves Cassio and shows concern for him when stabbedO, my dear Cassio, my sweet Cassio.
20 Bianca What! Keep a week away? and of giving her some minx’s token Relationship with Cassio is contrasted with Othello’s with DesdemonaBoth Bianca and Othello are jealous of their partnerBianca accuses Cassio of avoiding her:What! Keep a week away? and of giving her some minx’s tokenThe difference is that Bianca’s jealousy is justified – it is the nature of such relationships that he will eventually leave her.
21 Emilia Though sharp-tongued, an obedient wife to Iago. Against her better judgement, steals the handkerchief at his request, initially not questioning his purpose:What he will do with it, heaven knows, not I: I nothing, but to please his fantasy
22 Emilia Cynical about male-female relationships Uses imagery of devouring to describe the way men treat women:They are all but stomachs, and we are all but food.
23 EmiliaBelieves that men eagerly take what they want from women, but discard them when their appetites are sated:They eat us hungerly, and when they are full, they belch us.Believes that it is the fault of men’s ill-treatmentif wives do fall
24 Emilia Ordinary voice of common sense in the play Denouement, the unveiling of all lies and dishonesty, comes through herRefuses to be silenced:Let heaven, and men, and devils, let them all, all cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak.
25 Emilia most filthy bargain Villainy, villainy, villainy! Calls Othello ignorant as dirthis marriage to Desdemona amost filthy bargainand her husband’s plotVillainy, villainy, villainy!Dies protesting Desdemona’s innocence.
26 Desdemona Unable to believe that an unfaithful woman exists: I do not think there is any such woman.Totally submissive and obedientI will not stay to offend you
27 DesdemonaRefuses to blame Othello for her death. When asked who is to blame, she repliesNobody – I myself.The audience’s pity for Desdemona is complete because she is completely blameless.Her only flaw (a tragic one) is her love for Othello. When he tells her to think on your sins, she identifies them as loves I bear to you.