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The Character Desdemona and the Role of Women Depicted in Shakespeare's Othello

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The society in which Othello takes place is a patriarchal one, where men had complete control over women. They were seen as possessions rather than being just as equally human and capable of duties performed by men. All women of the Elizabethan were to obey all men, fathers, brothers, husbands, etc. Which leads me to the most reliable and trustworthy character of Desdemona, whom goes through many trials just to satisfy her love. Shakespeare brings the thought of Desdemona into the play by Barbantio, her father, “It is too true an evil. Gone she is.\...Oh, she deceives me\ Past thought! …” (1.1.163)(1.1.168-169), whom has just found she has taken off with Othello and firstly suspects they have been hitched. Shakespeare gives reader the impression Desdemona is a devious imp full of disrespect towards her father. However, surpassing normal tradition of asking of her fathers’ permission to wed, Desdemona ran off and did marry the moor. This in a sense was her emancipation of her father’s possessiveness and oblivion of Othello’s dominance over her. Othello replies to Barbantio’s accusation, sedating or using black magic on his daughter, by saying, “My very noble and approved good masters,\ That I have ta’en away this old man’s daughter.\ It is most true.” (1.3.79-81), which brings me to the claim that Desdemona’s character in this tragedy, was only to become and to serve as Othello’s private possession rather than a typical beloved daughter or wife as in modern time. Shakespeare bases this tragedy on the foundation of Desdemona’s character by the symbol of the discrimination of women in the Shakespearean time era. Desdemona even for the first and only time within the play stands up and challenges her inferiority under her father’s aut...


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...irl she always, throughout the end of the play, tends to bow down to her lord with no opposition showing the claim of her character being nothing more than an object for the men in the play to use as a slave with no pay as well as a consistent source of sexual desires.
Even on her death bed, Desdemona’s character of an inanimate object belonging to Othello is carried on. It is lead on by Emilia’s question of “who hath done this deed” (5.2.137) referring to Desdemona’s death and her reply, “Nobody. I myself. Farewell.\ Commend me to my kind lord. Oh, farewell!”(5.2.138-139), overall putting the responsibility of her death upon herself. Leaving the readers impression of Desdemona as one filled with sympathy and rage against her unwillingness to fight her independence as well as against the men of this time period for not realizing the importance of such a woman.


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