Summary: Male and Female Gender Roles Through The Play

In the story, Shakespeare forms a type of fundamental loop that male and female gender roles are discovered strongly and shrewdly. This is shown by the three couples, Othello and Desdemona, Iago and Emilia, and Cassio and Bianca. Putting complete attention on the female characters, their gender roles are controlled inversely. During that era, a woman’s role was only to get married to a man. Their main duties was taking care of the house and raising their kids. It was commonly believed that women were physiologically inferior and subordinate to men.

Men view their women as their properties.

The women in the play impacted the men in different ways. Desdemona is Brabantio’s daughter and Othello’s wife. She is a harmless, principled, and passionate young woman, who is deeply in love with Othello. When Othello becomes violent, she is dishonest to him about the missing handkerchief. When Desdemona was dying, she was trying her best to protect Othello from her kinsmen.

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The other characters can be arbitrated by their assertiveness regarding her. Emilia, who is Iago’s wife, is extremely faithful to Desdemona. Emilia is convinced that a mischievous antihero has denied her to the Moor. She had no clue that Iago was the criminal till it was too late to save her mistress. She is unintentionally the reason that Desdemona was killed; when she found the handkerchief and handed it to Iago, he used it to exacerbate the Moor’s crazy covetousness. Emilia develops in importance through the play and extends terrible self-worth when she does not stay quiet about Iago’s wickedness, while her telling the truth puts a toll on her life.

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Her failing arguments, dispersing Desdemona of unfaithfulness, caused Othello to commit suicide. Bianca is a prostitute in Cyprus. Cassio gave her Desdemona’s handkerchief, which Iago has established in his compartments. Therefore, she was the one that stirred Othello’s rage.

The women in the play of Othello are viewed as the properties of their men. Brabantio complains to the Duke of Venice and the Venetian state that Othello has kidnapped and “drugged” Desdemona. The senate sides with Othello’s case and the Duke allows Desdemona to escort him to Cyprus for the military procedure. Othello talks to Iago and notifies the Duke that he is going to appoint Desdemona to Iago’s upkeep saying, “To his conveyance I will assign my wife.” This quote suggests that Desdemona, was of proprietorship, and is under control and must be protected and shipped. In comparison to when Desdemona used to be single, she was a daughter who was under power by her dad, and then as a married woman she was beneath Othello. It was very common during the old ages when women were measured as the “flimsier” gender and had to have protection, which is accomplished through becoming married.

The Venetian prospect women that bow to their husbands, and exploit them during motivation. While Othello was alive, the first senator said, “Adieu, brave Moor; use Desdemona well,” which implies in the word “use” which substitutes “look after.” When Othello and the military officers return on the coast after the effective procedure as the Turkish navy was demolished. Othello welcomes and then returns to the castle with Desdemona and says “Let me have speech with you- Come my dear love, the purchase made, are the fruits to ensue.” This sounds pretty amorous and affectionate for Shakespeare’s era, and upkeeps the purpose of women when they are married. Comparable to the first senator’s comment, the words “use” and “purchase,” the woman is obtained by their husband, as property, and the wife has to achieve the husband’s cravings for the honor of their marriage.Furthermore, the women in Othello are viewed as “sex objects”, and are signified as submissive in the story. For instance, men can only use offensive language towards women, which females are not allowed to say (why females are not allowed to say this?). Iago comments extremely sexist and disgusting phrases since he thinks that females are infuriating “sex objects”, and this is very obvious from the start of the play. Afterwards, the conference with the Duke and senate plan the war for conquering Turks, Iago and Roderigo are the only ones on the platform. Roderigo hears out Iago for tactics, Iago notes on his relationship and love-sickness, which would manage the male cravings. The Iago talked about his marriage with Emilia and says he would “drown himself for the love of a guinea-hen,” calling her a prostitute, and additional degrading remarks which means that she is not sufficient for him.

Even though women are viewed as sex objects the one advantage is being sexually dominant. One of the ways that women have an advantage over men in the relationship is their sexual dominance, which is reflected as “immoral” and has to be repelled by men in civilization. Men had no shame of calling women “whores” and it was okay at their time to say that. The linguistics Shakespeare provides to the female characters proposes that they adapted to people’s anticipations of them. Then, separately from personal discussions, the women act the way men want them to, in order for women to be considered ‘normal’. The female characters are shown concurring to these kinds of expectations. Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca’s behavior are connected to the outlooks of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan society.

Sometimes women are used by men as “pawn” to get revenge and their plot is successful. Once Emilia took Desdemona’s handkerchief, she unintentionally dropped it, Emilia says “I nothing but to please his fantasy” and spends time with Iago. She is signified to be submissive and simply completes Iago’s needs and satisfaction. Emilia’s determinations to satisfy are altogether unsuccessful. In the conclusion of the play, she expressed her thoughts and the accuracy following Iago’s plots, however Iago made her be quiet. Later on, Iago started his speech and discusses the ways to obtain vengeance on Othello and his strategies to guarantee the breakdown of Michael Cassio. While pursuing retaliation, Iago questions if Othello had an affair with Emilia and even exceeds the question if Cassio had affair with Emilia. Throughout Iago’s monologue he depicts the Moor of the affectionate type and says that he adores Desdemona so he can endure on his vengeance. He says, “And nothing can or shall content my soul, Till I am evened with him, wife for wife.” Iago thinks that if he had an affair with Desdemona, then he and Othello are even. The feelings of Emilia and Desdemona are instinctively overlooked, while Iago is using them as objects to advance his personal wishes.

Moreover, Shakespeare characterizes the women as targets of the culture who were pressured to obey the societal standards of the “perfect woman”. Also, women went through a catastrophic time for violating the “rule”, therefore they were treated as lower ranked for being a women. This was mainly displayed throughout Emilia and Iago’s marriage, and Desdemona, who was considered the “perfect” and innocent wife in the play. Othello wanted to go to sleep and asked Desdemona to stay in the bed for him. Desdemona has a conversation with her maid, Emilia concerning her affection for Othello, and distinctive outlooks to marriage and faithfulness.Women would take the blame for the men.Desdemona sang the “Song of Willow”, which cries a woman’s vanished love. Desdemona and Emilia converse about being concerned with their marriages. The song was initially about a gentleman who passed away due to a love's spitefulness. Shakespeare modifies the victim to a female to ensemble Desdemona. This song has a commanding language in order to accentuate her purity and as a victim in a masculine controlled culture. This predicts Desdemona’s forthcoming catastrophe because of Othello’s spitefulness. Emilia asked Desdemona who caused this wrongdoing while she was dying, and she said, “Nobody; I myself. Farewell.” Desdemona’s answer was strange since she did not blame Othello but instead said it was her fault. The penalties on Othello were going to lead to additional penalties for Desdemona, who was killed. Emilia, talked about the utmost logic, which debated for fairness in marriage, provide stable privileges for females, and accuse the men for the problems.

Emilia wanted fairness between the sexes. In the beginning of the play, after Othello cursed and yelled at Desdemona for the missing handkerchief, Emilia talked to Desdemona and made statements about men. Emilia states, “Tis not a year or two shows a man” and the following sentences, “They are all but stomachs, and we are all but food, they eat us hungerly, and when they are full, they belch us.” This was Shakespeare putting his characteristics character Emilia signifying females as sufferers of society Iago mistreated Emilia, and she debated for fairness as males “throwing restraint upon, us or say they strike us” and “they slack their duties.” Females were viewed to be sexualized, pathetic, and lower rank than males; therefore men used it with Emilia’s analogy to food. Emilia believed that females have comparable feelings, alike interests and similar fondness like males do, saying “Their wives have sense like them, they see and smell.”Furthermore, the women disagree about Desdemona and how she was signified in the play from the interpretation of feminism. Females were formed by the society during Shakespeare’s era “constructed as biologically weak and socially inferior. So they must depend on men and should not disobey or transgress their decisions.” In the lenses of feminism, Desdemona and Emilia are strong-minded and have tough traits nonetheless have to obey to the society of male power.

Lisa Jardine, a critic, said, “Here is a woman’s defining knowledge; private, domestic and sexual, requiring to be hidden from the public view in the interest of decorum and modesty.” Desdemona was a very motivated young woman who became a heartbreaking lead since she was defenseless to the domination of society. Desdemona did her best to get out this mess but instead she ended up getting killed. For instance, she was strong-minded to tie the knot with Othello, a Moor when discrimination and bias versus black individuals was common. Desdemona also defies her dad, and throughout that era, fathers were like leaders for their daughters. After her father stopped disputing with her, Desdemona goes against her father’s will and said “So that dear lords, if I be left behind, A moth of peace and he go to war, the rites for which I love him are bereft me.” She talked about the prominence of her complement and the last sentence “By is dear absence. Let me go with him.” This last sentence is significant since it displays a strong and persevering description, and she did not get an approval for her marriage, she just went forward and had the ceremony.

Lisa Jardine then says “In the Elizabethan age, the domineering wife brought shame and humiliation upon her husband,” and Desdemona is on the contrary to the standard and according to Neeley, “the focus of Othello is love, which drives Desdemona but is tempered by her wit and realism.” These quotes from Neeley prove that Desdemona was a very strong woman. When Desdemona approached her father, she says “My noble father”, then, “so much I challenge I profess, due to the Moor my lord.” This is a fundamental dialogue in accompanying her individuality and power. Desdemona came up with the choice and was not going to change her mind, and convinced her father minus wrongdoing, presenting intelligence as a woman in a feminine troubled society.

Desdemona is a strong-minded female but in conclusion yields recognition that she is a female and mediocre, she then “serves” Othello and not her father. She was very brave to reject her father but merely extremely courageous to attend Othello. Desdemona’s personality is molded through society, and believes that only a man can fix any dilemma. Then she contemplates as a female that she is not as intellectual and proficient and then asks Iago. Marsh, another critic says “In the distress she feels, she turns to a man for help. This suggests she does not expect to understand for herself, but a man will be able to explain to her.” Desdemona turns into the target of the play in a society of men supremacy, and she is mistreated and burdened with remarks like “strumpet” and “whore.” Othello did not accomplish his responsibilities as a husband and knocks her out in front of other people, and finally his enviously slays Desdemona.The premise of the position of a woman and a woman in a society is studied in several distinctive methods. Emilia and Desdemona are able to accurately support the outlooks of a female of an elite, Desdemona, yielding to culture anticipations. From Emilia, it shows the disparities of the society and in what way females are handled during the Shakespeare’s era. Desdemona was contemplated by several criticizers and readers to be known as a knowledgeably accomplished and tough woman.

Othello enclosed the social and political philosophies during that era and is about a black army general, Othello who married the Caucasian daughter of an important politician, Desdemona, with their connection tough to maintain through the period of discrimination and bigotry. William Shakespeare concentrates on outlooks of females in Elizabethan society and there was only three females existing in the play, Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca. Each female performed based off the society stereotypes of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan society and the male-controlled Venetian society he formed.

Updated: Feb 16, 2024
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Summary: Male and Female Gender Roles Through The Play. (2024, Feb 16). Retrieved from

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