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Emilia and Desdemona have different views of men and women. Write a critical essay about how 21st century morals make Othello outdated.

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Emilia and Desdemona have different views of men and women. Write a critical essay about how 21st century morals make Othello outdated. I will be exploring the different views held by both Emilia and Desdemona on the subject of men and women's moral and social status. Ideas of the contrast between men and women run throughout 'Othello' by William Shakespeare and analysing the two leading female characters will enable us to understand this to a greater extent. I shall analyse and compare these two characters in order to make a conclusion about whether or not this play is outdated. Emilia represents women's rights in the play and is a character that often expresses her opinions without a thought of the consequences. This is a good character for the play to uphold as she is able to represent the truthful but hidden opinions of many women in the 17th century. Women were powerless in Shakespeare's times and were expected to be merely accessories of men and to do as their husbands pleased. Emilia believes that women should be entitled to all the things which men have, "Have not we affections, desires for sport and frailty, as Men have?" This shows a very brave attitude and a somewhat unique opinion as women often thought nothing more of the fact that men were always the leaders and were superior. ...read more.


With little education or social status, Emilia relies merely on her life experiences to guide her opinions and, being wise to the world, with nobody to stand and correct her, can see no reason why women such as her should have less rights than men. Emilia is seen to ponder upon these thoughts within the play. Desdemona, on the other hand, represents a real opposite to Emilia. She is the Duke's daughter and has experienced a thorough education and structured upbringing. Rather than being left to find her own paths of life like Emilia, Desdemona had been taught her place as a woman in the world. And in the same way as a modern girl being brought up today would be taught about items such as political correctness, Desdemona was taught about how all women should always be there for their husbands and should always be willing to do whatever pleased their husbands. Desdemona would have accepted this undoubtedly without a second thought as this was the correct way to live in the 17th century. From the perspective of a 21st century reader, Emilia seems to be in the right as these views supposedly reflect on our modern day society. Many would say, that our modern world does offer equality to men and to women. ...read more.


Queen Elizabeth 1 was, at the height of her reign, one of, if not the most powerful person in the world. She was a fantastic example of female power and with her death in 1603, just before the writing of Othello, she most probably was a great influence upon Shakespeare's thoughts of the possibilities and hidden potential of all women. In the writing of Othello, Shakespeare has shown a remarkable understanding of the status and roles of women of his time. He has shown us different examples of women with multiple different classes and the relationships between the levels of expectations from women and their attitude towards their personal roles. From a modern perspective it is difficult to see why people accepted living in such a land of great bias and why men felt so superior to all others. Many take for granted the fact that we live in a world of equality and opportunity for all, but it is attributable to men such as Shakespeare for introducing such proposals, that ideas of equality were extended to form the complexity of modern society as we know it. "Let husbands know Their wives have sense like them; they see and smell, And have their palates both for sweet and sour As husbands have. What is it they do," Written by Daniel Swift - 1 - ...read more.

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