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It is essentially misogyny - a hatred, fear and distrust of women, which brings about the "tragedy of Othello". Discuss.

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It is essentially misogyny - a hatred, fear and distrust of women, which brings about the "tragedy of Othello". Discuss. Othello is a tragedy. It is a story of the downfall of a great and noble Moor, the result of the deceptions of a villainous man. One of the main themes in the play is trust. The main character (Othello) begins by seeming confident in his wife's honesty, "My life upon her [Desdemona's] faith", however he never really trusts her. Iago is a master of deception and manages to not only make Othello question his wife's honesty, but causes him to fire his leading general and ultimately murder Desdemona in an act of false jealousy. Women in the play are treated as far from equals. Rarely do you hear a man in the play refer to a woman by her name more often than not we hear: "she", "my daughter", "fair lady" or "young maid". The fact that she is referred to in such a way means that Desdemona has a lack of identity; she is merely seen in relation to the man she is with. ...read more.


Lead by his friend, "honest Iago", Othello comes to think of his obvious racial difference as a "problem" and that Desdemona might only be feeling lust for him, as her actions in marrying him were "nature erring from itself". Since Othello believes that Desdemona doesn't accept him as an equal and merely thinks of him as an object to satisfy her "appetite", she becomes a whore in his eyes and Iago is further empowered. Othello merely views women as being of two types: either to be held on a pedestal as a goddess or as a common whore. When Iago plants the seeds of doubt of her fidelity, Othello quickly removes her from the pedestal and relegates her to the common whore, "I had been happy if the general camp, Pioneers and all, had tasted her sweet body." As soon as she becomes a "cunning whore of Venice" in Othello's mind, she no longer holds Othello's trust or love. Desdemona's own trusting and innocent nature plays a part in Othello losing trust in her. ...read more.


Desdemona is a symbol of purity within the play; she truly is a "white ewe", and her modesty, innocence and insistence that she would not commit adultery for "the whole world" increase the dramatic effect of her murder by her husband incited by false jealousy. Iago is a master manipulator. He has the ability to choose language to suit his audience. To Roderigo, he uses persuasive but quite coarse prose; to Desdemona, he uses crude poetry; when uttering his soliloquy he uses much more refined poetry, as he also does when engaging Othello in speech. However, he reverts to coarser pros when talking with Cassio. Consequently, by appearing to be one of them, he is able to gain their trust and later manipulate them. He appears to Othello to be loyal to his friends, such as Cassio, but "thy [Iago's] honesty and love doth mince this matter," also, when he makes an accusation against Othello's true love, "This fellow's exceedingly honest." Never once does Othello seem to question him as he believes that Iago is straightforward and "honest", something which he repeats until the very end of the play. Tom Wallis 12WH ...read more.

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