pre-Feminism, and seem to only compound the ideological expectations of what it is to be a woman through their own behaviour. Emilia and Othello, emilia judges jealous Othellos behavior harshly and warns Desdemona off him; I would you had never seen him (Act 4 Scene 2, Line 17). Emilias role in Othello is key, her part in taking the handkerchief leads to Othello falling for Iagos lies more fully. Even when he orders Desdemona to go to her bed towards the end of Act IV, she still replies with the submissive I will, my lord (IV.3.9). Women as possessions: Following his hearing of Brabantios complaint and Othellos defence, the Duke eventually grants permission for Desdemona to accompany Othello to Cyprus. He seems to believe that all women are, essentially, wild-cats (II.1.109) and housewives (II.1.111). Desdemona, as Othellos wife, is treated as his possession: he implies that she is a commodity to be guarded and is is, however, by no means peculiar to Othello: the first Senator, wishing Othello well, concludes by hoping that he will use okonkwo in Things Fall Apart Desdemona well (I.3.288). Later in the play, however, Othello ceases to find Desdemonas sexual power so entertaining.
Emilias Role in Othello
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All three women of the play are accused of prostitution and inappropriate sexual conduct, yet it appears that none of them are guilty. Ironically, it is Desdemona who exhibits some power in public, making powerful use of language when explaining to her father, in front of other Venetian senators, that her duty (I.3.182) is now owed to Othello. Moreover, the function of women within marriage is also delineated by Othellos loving words to Desdemona in Act II: Come, my dear love The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue (II.3.8-9). But I do think it is their husbands faults If wives do fall. Their wives have sense like them: they see and smell. Othello is ridiculed and chided by her husband. It is a clear that the actions and language of Shakespeares three female characters, although seemingly subservient, signify a tentative step towards an egalitarian society. Moreover, when she marries Othello, going against his wishes and therefore the ideal mould of woman, he describes her as erring Against all rules of nature (I.3.100). Attempting to change his mind, Desdemona is not frightened to use her position and sexuality: Tell me, Othello. Arguably a much stronger character, Emilia also indicates that she is aware of her proper role in society. Speaking to Iago about his planned murder of Desdemona, Othello is adamant that he will not expostulate with her, lest her body and beauty unprovide my mind again (IV.1.203-5).
In this instance, she refers to her own unquestioning desire to please Othello, implying that he cannot love her as she loves him if he is able to refuse her what she wants. When revealing Iagos plotting at the end of the play, she states that Tis proper I obey him, but not now (V.2.195). Othello serves as an example to demonstrate the expectations of the Elizabethan patriarchal society, the practice of privileges in patriarchal marriages, and the suppression and restriction of femininity. The role of us army wives is to support our men and not expect too much in the way of obvious shows of affection which might make a soldier look weak.
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