Desdemona. She is near the bottom of the pile economically, and makes end meet by selling her sexual favours. In a speech reminiscent of Shylock’s ‘Hath not a Jew eyes?’, Emilia argues that women are physically no different to men: Their wives have sense like them; they see and smell, And have their palates both for sweet and sour. Othello: Act 4, scene 1 Summary & Analysis New! Moreover, in revenge for Othello’s supposed act, Iago wishes to be ’evened with him, wife for wife’ (II.1.290). Othello: Act 4, scene 3 Summary & Analysis New! The ills we do, their ills instruct us so" (Act IV, Scene III, Lines 83- 100). Admonishing his wife for being a nag in Act II, Iago goes on to compound this stereotype by suggesting that all women are not as they appear. It could be argued, however, that Iago exhibits little love for his wife, insulting her in public and ultimately killing her himself. Emilia suggests that men are brutish and simplistic, unable to control their desires with logical thought. Women’s Functions in Othello Shakespearean England was a completely patriarchal society, with really few rights for women. Critical interpretations Contemporary approaches Feminist readings of Desdemona. Although Shakespeare presents her sympathetically, Bianca is a figure that male characters ridicule, particularly her apparent aspiration to become respectable. Her considers her to be a sexual hazard, a strumpet intent on using her body to blind and deceive him. There are several different forms of feminism represented in Othello, Desdemona is presented in Act 1 Scene 3 as a woman bound to her father and loyal to her husband (as men believe women should be). Othello, Act 4 Research for Theme "Moors are seen by Elizabethans as fundamentally different" Ian Mortimer says in his novel The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England "Such people are not christians, and so it is not possible to appeal to common virtues and morals, which Arguably a much stronger character, Emilia also indicates that she is aware of her ‘proper’ role in society. Today, feminists argue that it is not ‘natural’ for women to be ‘feminine’, that history has tried to camouflage its social expectations of women as part of the laws of nature. Copyright © crossref-it.info 2021 - All rights reserved, All three women are regarded by the male characters as persons who are owned by them. Othello speaks to his ensign Iago, ironically describing him as a man of ‘honesty and trust’, informing the Duke that ‘To his conveyance I assign my wife’ (I.3.283). Once Emilia fully realises the complicity of her own husband, she obeys him no longer, despite his threats, and exposes the reality of Iago’s lying and scheming. Othello responds with the interestingly oxymoronic term of endearment ‘Excellent wretch’ (III.3.90), suggesting that he is aware that her manipulation of him is fairly ‘wretched’, yet finds it ‘excellently’ compelling. Feminist Role of Emilia Othello is often argued to be one of William Shakespeare’s most heart wrenching tragedies. She appears to have completely accepted her role as subordinate and obedientwife. These opinions, however, are given to Desdemona in moments of privacy.Emilia does not express such opinions in the company of men. As she talks to Desdemona at the end of Act IV, Emilia is fairly damming in her opinion of men. As far is Othello is concerned, if he is tempted into conversation and interaction with his wife, then her overpowering sexuality will deter him from the right and inevitable course of action. Therefore, looking from a feminist perspective, Shakespeare’s Othello presents a pro-feminism view at the beginning of the play. Feminism in Othello. Sexism has become ubiquitous and rampant in modern society, especially appearing in the form of crude … Reflecting the culture in which Othello was written, none of the three female characters is ultimately treated as an equal by the men. She discovers Othello as Desdemona’s murderer and uncovers her husband’s plot which she exposes; “I will not charm my tongue. Emilia had stood silently in the background (as a lady's maid should) when Othello demanded to see the handkerchief and Desdemona could not produce it (Act III, Scene 4), so she is aware that the handkerchief itself forms part of Othello's accusation. A feminist analysis of the play Othello allows us to judge the different social values and status of women in the Elizabethan society. Othello goes on to lament his hardheartedness and love for Desdemona, but Iago reminds him of his purpose. Emilia’s role in Othello is key, her part in taking the handkerchief leads to Othello falling for Iago’s lies more fully. It is understandable that she wants to make Iago pay for the pain he has inflicted and to live beyond the constraints of an unsatisfactory marriage. Iago appears to be emotionally abusive, dishonouring her in public and ordering her around in dismissive tones. Read our modern English translation of this scene. In the earlier parts of the play, in Act 3 Scene 4, after Othello swears and shouts at Desdemona for the disappearance of the hankerchief, Emilia speaks to Desdemona and comments on some qualities of men. Both female action and language represent these ideas such as expectations for a wife and expectations for how a woman is to act. Othello speaks with Desdemona in private, threatening to banish her and calling her "whore" and "strumpet" — charges that she immediately denies. Lodovico juxtaposes the noble Othello with the savage one, reminding the audience how great his transformation has been. It is simply the thought that ‘the lusty Moor/hath leaped into my seat’ (II.1.286-7) which drives him mad, the thought that Othello has used a possession that belongs to him. Her youthful desire to experience the fullness of life means that she operated covertly to break free of the constraints of life in her father’s house. It is ‘unnatural’ for them to do anything else. Various ideas are explored through same sex and male–female relationships in Othello; sex and violence, love and hate, honour and dishonesty, loyalty and betrayal, trust and suspicion.Power is also a key factor in all the relationships portrayed. On his way to murder his wife, he states that ‘Thy bed, lust-stained, shall with lust’s blood be spotted’ (V.1.36). Society weighs heavily on the shoulders of these women; they feel that they must support the men and defer to them, even if the actions of the men are questionable.Brabantio’s opinions of women appear to represent Venetian ideology.Speaking of Desdemona before she erred, he describes her as ‘perfection’,‘Of spirit still and quiet’ and ‘A maiden never bold’ (I.3.95-97). Some modern feminist critics see Desdemona as a hideous embodiment of the downtrodden woman. The word ‘use’ seems to connote the phrase ‘look after’, but also supports the Venetian expectation of women - that they are to bow to the wills of their. William Shakespeare's "Othello” can be read from a feminist perspective. It is a clear that the actions and language of Shakespeare’s three female characters, although seemingly subservient, signify a tentative step towards an egalitarian society. He also describes Desdemona as ‘the purchase made’ (Act 2 Scene 3). About “Othello Act 4 Scene 3” Othello orders Desdemona to go to bed and send Emilia away. However, although Desdemona confidently challenges her husband to be generous with his love both to her and to Cassio, when faced with his anger she retreats into the safety of conventional submissiveness: Desdemona is in one sense the perfect example of wifely obedience, yet she is ‘modern’ in asserting her own perspective, on acting with a degree of autonomy and, ultimately, in fighting for her life. It is still so common to see many of the points presented in the book till this day, men believing that they are … Dramatically however, Desdemona is the throbbing light of the drama, the moral counterpoint to Iago’s scheming. Although going on to betray her husband, she still feels the need to explain why she is deviating from accepted behaviours. In this way, Emilia can be seen as striking a blow for feminism. As such, male society uses her and gives little regard to the reality of her emotions. This is because it is so ideologically embedded that women do not seem to consider any other possibility, other than, as these notes have shown, in private conversation with one another. Appearing only briefly, her story does not even merit a dramatic resolution. Even Cassio refers, jokingly, to Desdemona as ‘our great Captain’s Captain’ (II.1.75), implying that she is the only individual capable of controlling and taming Othello. In this instance, she refers to her own unquestioning desire to please Othello, implying that he cannot love her as she loves him if he is able to refuse her what she wants. Understand every line of Othello. That Emilia, who clearly has strength of character, complies with his requests and fails to speak out until Othello’s evidence impels her to, speaks of a wife who is either scared of her husband or yearns for some crumbs of affection and has learnt that compliance is the only way to gain favour. Othello highlights several of the problems women of the time face. Male society, in addition to constructing women as second-rate citizens, also constructs their sexual allure as evil. If Othello ended after Act 1, it would be, as many commentators have observed, a romantic comedy. Othello has trouble reconciling his wife’s delicacy, class, beauty, and allure with her adulterous actions. Next. In material terms, she ends up an example of a physically vulnerable, isolated younger woman, a victim of domestic violence. She is variously called a ‘hussy’, a ‘strumpet’, a ‘fitchew’ and a ‘caitiff’, all terms associated with a prostitute. Emilia may have resigned herself to a sour, abusive relationship, but in Desdemona she finds a cause worth defending, a pure wife whose worth needs fighting for. Later in the play, however, Othello ceases to find Desdemona’s sexual power so entertaining. A feminist interpretation of the play would assess the balance of power between the genders, the cultural expectations displayed in the play and the degree to which these are conformed to by the women, as well as how far the drama centres on male or female perspectives etc. By expressing these qualities of women in the masculine domain of the Venetian senate,Brabantio compounds and develops the traditional expectations of women in a patriarchal society. Bemoaning the fact that he did not know earlier of his wife’s supposed infidelity, Othello argues that he would have been happier ‘if the general camp,/Pioneers and all, had tasted her sweet body,/So I had nothing known’ (III.3.342-4). Following his hearing of Brabantio’s complaint and Othello’s defence, the Duke eventually grants permission for Desdemona to accompany Othello to Cyprus. Othello, when talking of his wife, often seems pre-occupied with matters of the flesh. The repetition of the word ‘lust’, combined with the sexual associations of Desdemona’s bed and the violent plosives and sibilants of this line, reflects and draws attention to Othello’s preoccupation with sensual matters. Themes and Colors Key LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Othello, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. He suggests that he will poison his wife, but Iago advises him to strangle her in the bed that she contaminated through her infidelity. Emilia also shows us her feminist side in Act V when she call out the lies of her husband in front of Iago, Othello, and some of the other men. Read our modern English translation of this scene. This Venetian concept was also an Elizabethan and pre-Elizabethan belief, and was widely understood by Shakespeare’s audiences. I am bound to speak” (Act 5 Scene 2, Line 191). Iago in particular serves as a mouthpiece for misogyny, frequently making offensive comments about women both in private asides and soliloquies and in public conversations. Desdemona uses this when attempting to persuade Othello to reinstate Cassio: she tells the latter that ‘My lord shall never rest’ (III.3.22) until she has changed his mind, an indication of the tenacity of the woman. Thanks to the women's rights movement, females today enjoy rights and freedoms that are unprecedented in the history of Western civilization. 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