Women in Othello. Shanté Dickson Honors English . THROUGH EACH ACT…. Through each scene and Act of Othello , we will explore the treatment of women, Desdemona and how she was perceived by the men in her life. Throughout the Text.
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Through each scene and Act of Othello, we will explore the treatment of women, Desdemona and how she was perceived by the men in her life.
BRABANTIO Oh, heaven, how got she out? Oh, treason of the blood! Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' minds
By what you see them act. Is there not charms By which the property of youth and maidhood May be abused? Have you not read, Roderigo, Of some such thing?
BRABANTIO Oh, heaven, how did she get out? My own flesh and blood rebels against me! Fathers, never trust your daughters just because they act obedient and innocent. Are there magic spells that can lead young virgins astray? Have you ever heard of anything like that, Roderigo?
RODERIGO Yes, sir, I have indeed.
BRABANTIO Call up my brother—Oh, would you had had her! Some one way, some another. Do you know Where we may apprehend her and the Moor?
Once seen as an obedient young girl towards her father, Iago & Roderigo’s idea to go see her father (Brabantio) and tell them of Desdemona’s running away to elope with Othello angers Brabantio and ruins any good reputation he had of her.
Because it was definitely uncommon to see interracial relations at the time, especially for marriage he assumed that she was under the influence of something to run off with the Moor; which probably made him feel Desdemona was more submissive than she should be.
IAGO She that was ever fair and never proud, Had tongue at will and yet was never loud, Never lacked gold and yet went never gay, Fled from her wish and yet said “Now I may,” She that being angered, her revenge being nigh, Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly, She that in wisdom never was so frail To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail, She that could think and ne'er disclose her mind, See suitors following and not look behind, She was a wight, if ever such wights were—
DESDEMONA To do what?
IAGO To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.
DESDEMONA Oh, most lame and impotent conclusion! Do not learn of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband. How say you, Cassio? Is he not a most profane and liberal counselor?
DESDEMONA Oh, that's pathetic! Don't listen to him, Emilia, even though he's your husband. What do you think about him, Cassio? Isn't he a horrible man?
CASSIO He speaks home, madam. You may relish him more in the soldier than in the scholar.
In modern English, Iago’s witty quote translates to raising babies and clipping coupons. Iago is Emilia’s husband; Emilia is Desdemona’s maid and the two of them develop a strong bond.
Iago’s line describing a woman who was just average, who didn’t overdress and didn’t get angry when people hurt her was only destined for being a mediocre housewife. In these times, that’s all women were made for in the eyes of men: to procreate and submit to their husband’s every wishes [unless of course, they were prostitutes].
DESDEMONA Oh, that's an honest fellow. Do not doubt, Cassio, But I will have my lord and you again As friendly as you were.
CASSIO Bounteous madam, Whatever shall become of Michael Cassio, He's never anything but your true servant.
DESDEMONA I know 't, I thank you. You do love my lord. You have known him long, and be you well assured He shall in strangeness stand no farther off Than in a polite distance.
Desdemona’s sense of empathy and good wishing describes how a woman is supposed to act in times of conflict, even if it doesn’t involve her. She shows optimism that whatever happens between Cassio and Othello would be resolved in a civilized matter.
IAGO And did you see the handkerchief?
OTHELLO Was that mine?
IAGO Yours by this hand. And to see how he prizes the foolish woman your wife! She gave it him, and he hath given it his whore.
OTHELLO I would have him nine years a-killing. A fine woman! A fair woman! A sweet woman!
IAGO Nay, you must forget that.
OTHELLO Ay, let her rot and perish and be damned tonight, for she shall not live. No, my heart is turned to stone. I strike it and it hurts my hand. Oh, the world hath not a sweeter creature, she might lie by an emperor's side and command him tasks.
OTHELLO Bid her come hither. Go.
She says enough, yet she's a simple bawd That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore, A closet, lock and key, of villainous secrets. And yet she'll kneel and pray, I have seen her do 't.
OTHELLO Why, what art thou?
DESDEMONA Your wife, my lord. Your true and loyal wife.
OTHELLO Come, swear it, damn thyself. Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves Should fear to seize thee. Therefore be double damned, Swear thou art honest!
DESDEMONA Alas, he is betrayed and I undone.
OTHELLO Out, strumpet! weep'st thou for him to my face?
DESDEMONA Oh, banish me, my lord, but kill me not!
OTHELLO Down, strumpet!
DESDEMONA A guiltless death I die.
EMILIA Oh, who hath done this deed?
DESDEMONA Nobody. I myself. Farewell. Commend me to my kind lord. Oh, farewell!
OTHELLO She's like a liar gone to burning hell. 'Twas I that killed her.
EMILIA Oh, the more angel she, 145 And you the blacker devil!
OTHELLO She turned to folly, and she was a whore.
EMILIA Thou dost belie her, and thou art a devil.
OTHELLO She was false as water.
EMILIA Thou art rash as fire, To say that she was false. Oh, she was heavenly true!
OTHELLO Cassio did top her, ask thy husband else. Oh, I were damned beneath all depth in hell, But that I did proceed upon just grounds To this extremity. Thy husband knew it all.
OTHELLO What needs this iterance, woman? I say thy husband.
EMILIA O mistress, villainy hath made mocks with love! My husband say that she was false!
OTHELLO He, woman. I say “thy husband”—dost understand the word? My friend, thy husband, honest, honest Iago.
EMILIA If he say so, may his pernicious soul Rot half a grain a day! He lies to th' heart. She was too fond of her most filthy bargain.