Othello: Emilia The Grander One Essay

1715 words - 7 pages

“Othello,” the tragic play written by William Shakespeare in 1601 has given a new outlook to women’s right during the time period when they had no voice to call their own. A tragic play about a jealous and manipulative man named Iago who does everything in his power to pursue and destroy the life of the protagonist, Othello. In the belief that Othello had wrongfully promoted someone else to the position that he claims to be rightfully his. In this play, unsure if this was the intention of Shakespeare, but Shakespeare’s two main female characters each embodies a completely different bias about women and feminism during the Elizabethan time period. Shakespeare encircles “Othello’s” plot and themes around its male characters all the while concurrently but indirectly shed light to the hidden anti-parallel dynamic among the livelihood of women. Desdemona, Othello’s wife, the more traditional female character, believes in putting her husband first and that love is all that matters. On the other hand, Emilia, Iago’s wife and one of Desdemona’s dearest friends, is portrayed as the stronger feminist in the play and believes in women’s right and that women are physically no different to men.
To place this assumption into retrospect, in Shakespeare time, from the 1558 to the 1600s, England society was ruled by Queen Elizabeth. Although a women took ownership of the country, in Elizabethan’s society married women and minor girls were entirely in the power of their husband and guardianship of their father. None the less, even after Elizabeth I took the throne, she was expected to wed and “have her rights to rule limited or completely take up by her husband” (Wagner, 21). Women living in a society built upon Renaissance beliefs were only meant to marry. Marriage life entitled them to massive responsibilities in managing everything in the house to child rearing. In addition, the expected roles of a woman are to be “silent, sexually chaste, and obedient to their husbands, fathers, brothers, and all men in general” (Gerlach et al). Based upon patriarchal rule it gave justification on women's subordination as the natural order because women were thought to be physiologically and psychologically inferior to men. Contrary to this belief beside Desdemona, there were some exceptions to the rule. Exceptions that manifest itself through the progression of the female character Emilia who develops to challenge Renaissance feminine ideals. Converse to the cultural standards of his time, Shakespeare portrays women stronger than they were thought to be. From a feministic spectacle, from the beginning to the end , Emilia progresses from a meeker and obedient wife to an outspoken strong-willed woman who embodies the beginning development of women in its adjusted roles in society.
To allude in the direction of my analysis, feminist criticism is a type of literary theory that wishes to point out the portrayal of women in a piece of literature. Feminists critics main...

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