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

Women in 'Othello' In Shakespeare's tragic play 'Othello' various issues are explored, such as the role of women.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Women in 'Othello' In Shakespeare's tragic play 'Othello' various issues are explored, such as the role of women. The three women, Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca, are used in order to develop and express both the playwright's views on women, and also the social context at that time. The women in the play lack identity, as all three women are linked with male characters; Desdemona is Othello's wife, Emilia is Iago's wife, and Bianca is Cassio's mistress. During this time and within Venetian society, men were seen as the more powerful and dominant race and women are considered to be lacking in intellect. Desdemona is symbolic as innocence and naivety throughout the play, due to the fact that she is unaware of what is happening around her, blaming Othello's behaviour on ...read more.

Middle

Desdemona also has sympathy towards others, which is shown when she vows to help Cassio's cause, which ironically makes her own situation worse. Othello accuses Desdemona of infidelity, and he sarcastically mistakes her "for that cunning whore of Venice". Emilia is Iago's wife, and also Desdemona's attendant, which helps link her to Iago's evil plan and the plot. She unknowingly helps Iago's plan, when taking the handkerchief, just for the gratitude of her husband. Iago after gaining what he wants, shows no appreciation towards Emilia, and this may be used to show the role of women in this society. Emilia doesn't question Iago's purpose for the handkerchief which may outline the trust of females in the tragedy. ...read more.

Conclusion

This links to marriages for status, which frequently occurred during the time of writing this tragedy, and the Elizabethan/Jacobean audience will be able to acknowledge this. Bianca plays a small part within the tragedy; however her character is of great importance to the plot, both for the murder of Desdemona and for several other themes within the play. Bianca shows her jealous characteristics when she is given Desdemona's handkerchief from Cassio. Bianca is referred to as "A house wife that by selling her desires, Buys herself bread and clothes". This suggests that she is a prostitute, thus she is not mentioned by Cassio as it would undermine his status and ever important reputation. Iago uses Bianca as a device to create confusion and a subject to direct blame upon. ?? ?? ?? ?? By Ravi Khan 13IS ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Othello section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Response to the question

The introduction to this essay promises a very strong argument, however it was a shame that some of these concepts were not explored. The essay superbly picks out the evidence and suggests the meanings, however it does not address the ...

Read full review

Response to the question

The introduction to this essay promises a very strong argument, however it was a shame that some of these concepts were not explored. The essay superbly picks out the evidence and suggests the meanings, however it does not address the audience response or why Shakespeare has chosen to do so. It is this extra discussion which stops this essay from getting top marks.

Level of analysis

The analysis in this essay is sound, with quotations being used to show good knowledge of each of the women. I liked how there was a comparison to the men, however there needed to be closer analysis of the way men describe women, and direct comparison of their language. The understanding of the women's traits is good, but it lacks the discussion of audience response or significance to the play. If I was doing this essay, I would've spoken about the patriarchal influence on the contemporary audience, and the fact that Shakespeare gives Bianca the opportunity to prevent Othello's downfall. The essay acknowledges Bianca's importance simply, but a greater awareness of dramatic effect and the direct effect on the audience would've gained higher marks. I would've liked to have seen some imagery analysed, as Iago describes women in a derogatory manner. The essay could've explored terms such as tragedy, delving into a discussion debating whether Othello is, in fact, a tragedy of women.

Quality of writing

This essay has a strong introduction, but lacks any conclusion. It is well structured, addressing each woman individually, however I wanted to see a conclusion wrapping up the significance of women in the play. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are strong throughout.


Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by groat 20/02/2012

Read less
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 GCSE Othello essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How and why does Othello's character change during the course of the play? How ...

    4 star(s)

    leads her to suspect that something has gone very wrong as the Moor always treated her with the best of respect. When Desdemona talks to Emilia about Othello's strange actions, Othello is lead to believe that she is talking behind his back.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Iago is fascinating for his most terrible characteristic: his utter lack of convincing motivation ...

    4 star(s)

    However there are many factors which keep us from believing him. It is clear Roderidgo is a pathetic, naive and jealous character; he doesn't even have the ability to woo Desdemona on his own. He therefore turns to Iago for help and being rich and inexperienced he gives his money

  1. Othello themes essay

    Othello suspects that Desdemona is deceitful and impure, although she is really blameless and innocent. Othello also feels he's being deceived by Cassio, whom he trusts and who appears loyal. Emilia's exterior suggests salty indifference, but she turns against her husband and dies in defiance of Desdemona.

  2. Compare and Contrast the roles of Women as represented in the Play 'Othello'

    Another example of this is the use of soliloquy. In 'Othello' Shakespeare allows his male characters to use this devise much more than the females, thus emphasising their power and importance. Bianca, the third female character is shown to have both similarities and differences with Desdemona and Emilia.

  1. Discuss the role of women in the play Othello.

    Iago regards Bianca in much the same way as Cassio as is shown in Act5 Scene 1 when Cassio is stabbed. He says - 'O notable strumpet.' Thus dismissing her as a well-known whore. He even blames her for Cassio's stabbing - 'Gentlemen all, I do suspect this trash To be a party in this injury.'

  2. Othello Revision Notes - themes and quotes.

    difference between reputation and honor is the difference between appearance and reality. * Iago uses his reputation as an honest man to deceive Othello and everyone else - ""When devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest at first with heavenly shows."

  1. How Is Othello Viewed By Others And How Does He View Himself

    He is seen as a noble character, lacking in the extreme emotions now observed by Lodovico. Brabantio's relative begins to question Othello's mental disposition- 'Are his wits safe? Is he not light of brain?' and his attitudes have clearly now reversed as he now holds reservations about the stability of

  2. What do we learn of Othello's character through an Analysis of his language?

    As the speech concludes, "Othello's occupation gone" the depression of losing his world is becoming more apparent. The scene shows Othello's feeling of guilt even before a death has occurred. If the crime of killing were to be committed he may as well lose his own life as he needs her life to survive.

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