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Shakespeare presents independent strong- willed women in Othello. Consider significance of these two statements how do you think Shakespeare presents women in the play?

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  • Essay length: 1311 words
  • Submitted: 29/11/2008
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AS and A Level Othello

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Fryer

"Desdemona and Emilia are passive women who are told what to do by their men."

"Shakespeare presents independent strong- willed women in Othello."

Consider significance of these two statements how do you think Shakespeare presents women in the play?

Desdemona and Emilia although at times appear subservient to their husbands it is mostly done out of love and willingness to please. Indeed both women are passive victims of the male characters within the play. After all it is "out of her own goodness" that Desdemona enabled Iago to " make the net" that was unfortunately to "enmesh them all." (II.3 351) Although passive, both women have the articulation to express themselves and voice their opinion, thus reflecting, as often is the case in his plays, Shakespeare's presentation of strong-willed women.

At first we hear the other characters speak of Desdemona as a, 'daughter' who has fallen into the "clasps of a lascivious Moor" (I.i 127) giving the impression of a young naive girl who has succumbed to the lustful charms of Othello. However, Desdemona is "half the wooer," who ran away from her father's house to marry him. Indeed, her first speech quite

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