• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In His Tragedies Shakespeare Often Presents Women Merely as the Tragic Victims of Men.(TM) To What Extent Do You Consider This Applies to Desdemona In Othello(TM)?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'In His Tragedies Shakespeare Often Presents Women Merely as the Tragic Victims of Men.' To What Extent Do You Consider This Applies to Desdemona 'In Othello'? "There are no Antigones in Elizabethan Drama," Lyndsey Turner. Turner is here expressing the view that Shakespeare does not use his women as heroines. Instead she is of the opinion that they are used as devices on which the "tragic impulses of the plays' male characters are enacted." They are a device to produce a cathartic response from Shakespeare's audience. In order to discuss to what extent Desdemona complies with this view, it would appear logical to define a tragic victim. Many say that a tragic victim is a character in a tragedy who suffers at the hand of circumstance and the fates. They suffer through no fault of their own and are brought down by others, they are totally powerless to change their fate and don't contribute to their own tragedy; they are solely the victims of others. It is also vital that they produce a cathartic response from the audience in order for their suffering to be tragic. Looking at these criteria it becomes clear why Shakespeare often uses women as his tragic victims. ...read more.

Middle

It is seemingly no wonder that Othello calls her, "his fair warrior." Although Desdemona is first portrayed as quite a heroic figure by Shakespeare he soon starts to use her as a cathartic device, as the audience watch her previous strength fall away. It becomes clear that Shakespeare made her so strong willed deliberately in order to shape our response to Desdemona. Doing this makes it that much more painful for the audience. A major episode wherein Desdemona is presented as an object of pity is in the handkerchief episode. Desdemona loses her handkerchief and Othello sees Cassio with it. Despite Othello's growing suspicion, Desdemona remains ignorant claiming that, "The sun where he was born drew all such humours from him." We feel tremendous pity for Desdemona when she says this because Shakespeare has shaped our response using structure and also the irony of her language. In the last scene we saw that Othello was seething with jealousy and vowed to kill her. This amplifies hugely our feeling of catharsis for her because we feel so helpless. Our pity for her is only added to when Shakespeare shapes events in the play so that all her qualities that were viewed as good in the first act of the play cause her to fall even further. ...read more.

Conclusion

But in many ways the same is true for Desdemona. Emilia tries to tell her that, "Jealous souls are not ever jealous for the cause, but jealous for they are jealous." But even after this warning Desdemona takes no heed of anyone but Iago, therefore it could just perhaps be confirmation of Iago's intelligence, this backs up Desdemona's role as a victim as she is a victim of others. So in conclusion there is no doubt that Desdemona's demise is very much tragic. Also having examined the criteria it would be accurate to say that in many ways Desdemona is a victim. She suffers through no fault of her own and is the victim of circumstance. However, I am not sure that one could say that she was totally powerless to stop her eventual fate. I would say that Desdemona was not a victim of Iago's scheming or Othello's jealousy as she could have stopped these. She was a victim of her own love for Othello. Therefore, I would say that the statement in the title applies to Desdemona so far as she was the tragic victim of her own love for a man. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    Geoffrey had somehow found out about their affair and intended to kill all three of them in one moment. He was supposed to pick up the English patient in the desert at an appointed time. He arrived, but was flying erratically.

  2. Analyse the ways in which Shakespeare uses dramatic conventions in his plays and why ...

    simply brushes them off; this shows the ignorance of the higher class to the lower class. As the watchmen are trying to act clever they use oxymorons but not deliberately "Senseless and fit." This shows the audience that they are lower class.

  1. To what extent is society to blame for the mental decline of Nicole Dive ...

    1930's American Society had one expectation of women - to marry and have children. Nicole initially gives the impression that she has easily fallen into this position however the role is forced upon her as she struggles to establish autonomy.

  2. Comparing the Role of Women in Sense and Sensibility and Othello

    love to a pretty girl, and promises marriage, he has no business to fly off from his word, only because he grows poor, and a richer girl is ready to have him". (Austen.188). Ms.Jennings, says this when she finds out that Willoughby married Miss.

  1. In both Othello and The Merchant of Venice, however, Shakespeare presents female characters who ...

    Whereas Portia is generally seen as inspiring and quick-witted, Desdemona has been deemed ?pathetic[2]? by many critics. After seeing a seeing a performance of Othello in 1660, Samuel Pepys wrote: ?A pretty lady that sat by me called out to see Desdemona smothered.[3]? Needless to say, some audiences cannot sympathise with Desdemona.

  2. Compare the opening sections of "Brighton Rock" and "Othello". What Impressions of time/place, character ...

    war with Cyprus, it could be interpreted that she is outspoken which is similar to Ida. Furthermore, her disposition in war alienates her nature, which is similar to Ida?s presence in the ?public bar?, and as both of these places are alleged to men, Shakespeare is contrasting against the stereotypical view of woman at their period of time.

  1. Dehumanisation is often integral to dystopian novels, consider some of the ways in which ...

    away,?3 strengthened by syntactic parallelism, ?out of space, out of time, out of the prison of her memories, her habits, her aged and bloated body.?3 The alliterative phrase ?bloated body?3 denotes repulsion. The opportunistic and unscrupulous Controller objectively analogises ?you cannot pour upper-class champagne surrogate into lower-caste bottles?3.

  2. They f*** you up, your mum and dad Philip Larkin. To what extent is ...

    or unintentionally, enabled her to have more freedom in life, the freedom of expression. Sleary says ?people mutht be amuthed?, purposely, phonetically spelt in a comical manner, which explicates that Sissy has had the better experience through abandonment. Dickens himself knew the importance of encouraging a child?s imaginative development and

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work