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Role of women In Othello

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1 Role of women In Othello
During Othello there are three main central women characters throughout the play. What is othello?

2 Women of Othello Desdemona - The daughter of the Venetian senator Brabantio, who goes against him to marry Othello Emilia - Wife of Iago, and Desdemona’s attendant. Bianca  -  A courtesan, or prostitute, in Cyprus. Bianca’s favourite customer is Cassio

3 Woman throughout the Elizabethan period
Elizabethan woman were raised to believe that they were inferior to men. Women were regarded as "the weaker sex", not just in terms of physical strength, but emotionally too.  It was believed that women always needed someone to look after them. If they were married, their husband was expected to look after them. If they were single, then their father, brother or another male relative was expected to take care of them. Elizabethan Woman were totally dominated by the male members of their family.

4 They were expected to instantly obey not only their father but also their brothers and any other male members of the family Elizabethan Women could not be heirs to their father's titles. All titles would pass from father to son or brother to brother, depending on the circumstances, it would not go to the closest women.

5 Desdemona Desdemona goes against her father, by marrying a “Moor.”
By making her own choices about who to love goes against everything this time period stands for. Causing her father Brabantio to believe that Othello has tricked Desdemona into marrying him as he doesn't think she is able to make these types of decisions. “She is abused, Stolen from me and corrupted by spells and medicine.” -Brabantio (Act 1 Scene 3) Now we know what the typical women was regarded as during this era we can now see how they differ from the characters in the play

6 Brabantio treats his daughter as nothing but property
Brabantio treats his daughter as nothing but property. That quote enhances our view, that women were nothing more than property. Something that can be “stolen” from them.

7 Through Desdemona marriage, she has a divided duty to both her father and her new husband. However her duty is now with her husband Othello. “My noble father, I do perceive here a divided duty. To you I am bound for life and education. My life and education both do learn me How to respect you. You are the lord of my duty, I am hitherto your daughter. But here’s my husband, And so much duty as my mother showed To you, preferring you before her father, So much I challenge that I may profess Due to the Moor my lord.” (Act 1 Scene 3)

8 Through Desdemona having her own mind, causing conflict in her marriage with Othello.
During the start of the play Othello completely trusts Desdemona, “My life upon her faith!” (Act 1 Scene 3) however in the later stages in the play he loses all his trust with her, calling her a “whore” and claims for her to be “false.” However he loses this trust through others around them and what they believe. “Look at her Moor, if thou hast eyes to see. She has deceived her father, and may thee” - Brabantio (Act 1 Scene 3)

9 Desdemona is considered to be naïve.
Despite all her loyalty to her husband, Othello Physically and verbally abuses Desdemona throughout the course of this play. Through actions such as slapping her and calling her a whore while in the public eye. By the end of the play, Othello ends up strangling her and her last breath was used to tell Emilia that it was all her fault. Even though Othello strangled her, she remained faithful. “Nobody--- I myself --- farewell” - Desdemona (Act 5 Scene 2)

10 Emilia Emilia is described as young and virtuous character, is referred to simply as the ensign's wife, and becomes Desdemona's companion in Cyprus. Emilia is a comparatively minor character for much of the play; however, she serves to provide a strong contrast to the romantic and obedient Desdemona, demonstrating that she is both intelligent and distinctly cynical, especially on matters relating to men and marriage - her speech to Desdemona listing the faults and flaws of the male sex .

11 “They are all but stomachs, and we all but food; They eat us hungerly, and when they are full, They belch us. “ - Emilia (Act 3 Scene 4) For much of the play Emilia is considered to be the voice of reason. Even though Emilia is cynical, she also understands her place, she needs to keep her loyalties with husband Iago, and just wants to satisfy him. What will he do with it, heaven knows, not I: I nothing, but to please his fantasy.” - Emilia ( Act 3 Scene 3)

12 However once Emilia realises what happened and that through her being loyal to her husband Iago has end up causing Desdemona’s death. She then refuses to be silenced on that subject. “Good gentlemen, let me have leave to speak. ‘Tis proper I obey him, but not now. Perchance Iago, I will ne’er go home.” -Emilia (Act 5 Scene 2) “She give it Cassio? No, Alas I found it, And I did give’t my husband.

13 In Act 5 Scene 2, Emilia reveals her true loyalties, by refusing to let Iago push her around. Her true loyalty lied with Desdemona, by her explaining how Cassio obtained the handkerchief causes Emilia to get stabbed by her very own husband, Iago. “Ay, Ay: Oh lay me by my mistress’ side.” -Emilia (Act 5 Scene 2)

14 Bianca Bianca is a Venetian courtesan who is in love with Cassio.
Limited but significant role in this play. Is Neglected by Cassio. Is not like the majority of women during this era, as she owns her own house. Showing she is indeed an individual and not property “I was coming to your house.” - Cassio to Bianca (Act 3 Scene 4)

15 Jealous after receiving the handkerchief .
“O Cassio, whence came this? This is a token from a newer friend.” By Cassio giving Bianca the handkerchief, allows the plot to thicken. As Iago gets Othello to think Cassio is talking about Desdemona when he is actually talking about Bianca. Also through Shakespeare using Bianca as a character, it allows for a comparison of Jealousy. Her jealousy after receiving the handkerchief, is the normal kind of jealousy compared to Othello's jealousy of Desdemona where he seeks revenge by planning the murders of both Desdemona and Cassio.

16 Bianca has a reason to be jealous, where as Othello’s jealousy is completely unwarranted. As he has no proof that Desdemona is “false” and is just going by hear say.

17 Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca all play limited roles in the play of Othello, but all three characters are vital in the crucial understanding of the play as a whole, allowing both relationships and friendships to be destroyed. These characters also allow comparisons between characters to understand why William Shakespeare has written it that way.

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