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Women in Othello: Commonalities

Autor:   •  December 8, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,544 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,295 Views

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Women in Othello: Commonalities

Women, in history, were not typically used to play powerful roles in plays or entertainment; at first the women in the play Othello do not seem as if they could have much significance but they do. In this play there are three female characters that play surprisingly important roles. The three women in the play are Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca who are all of very different social status in the Elizabethan era. Desdemona was in the highest status of all three women because her father is a Senator, automatically making her a lady of gentry. Emilia is Desdemona’s lady-in-waiting; she did whatever Desdemona asked of her and was not a part on gentry. The third female character, Bianca, is a courtesan, more commonly know n as a prostitute; she is very low in regards to status of the people. In the play it does not appear as if these three characters have anything in common. Unexpectedly Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca all share commonalities between each other; Bianca and Emilia were both used, unknowingly, by Iago as part of his plan to get Othello extremely jealous. Desdemona and Emilia share the characteristic of being unorthodox women in the Elizabethan era. Furthermore, Bianca and Desdemona share a common situation where they are both victims of the men they love.

First off, Iago had a plan to get Othello jealous with the thought of Desdemona and Cassio having an affair; jealous enough to the point that he turns so upset he seems crazy; Both Bianca and Emilia contributed to Iago’s plan, unintentionally by allowing Othello to see proof that Desdemona and Cassio were in an illicit sexual relationship. Bianca help in Iago’s plan was also a surprise to Iago; this was the first and only physical proof of Desdemona being unfaithful to Othello. “This is some minx’s token, and I must take out the work? There, give it your hobby-horse. Wheresoever you had it, I’ll take out no work on’t” (lines 130-131 4.1) In this quote, Bianca is upset with Cassio because he had given her a handkerchief to copy that she assumes is from another women; this handkerchief was a special gift of love that Othello gave to Desdemona. When Othello inherited this gift from his mother he was told that if the person he gave it to later gives it away then she no longer loves him. Bianca confirms, to Othello, that it was another woman that gave Cassio this handkerchief by telling Cassio to give it back to the ‘whore’ who gave it to him; the ‘other woman’ in this case is Desdemona. This is solid evidence for Othello to think that Desdemona has been being promiscuous. In reality, Bianca was just upset with Cassio, she has no idea who Iago is, she doesn’t know his ‘good’, ‘honest’ identity or his evil, malicious personality; Bianca just wanted to express her emotions of betrayal to Cassio.

Emilia’s unexpected aid in Iago’s plan was when she took


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