The 1600s where a hard time for women, They had little no rights and where essentially owned by men. So how does shakespeare portray the women of Desdemona,Emilia,and Bianca?.Othello by Shakespeare is a play in which 2 people from different background get married.When they leave town, the evil Iago tries to seek his revenge on those who he thinks hurt him. Does shakespeare play into the sexist and social class norms of that time or does he do the unthinkable and stray from that.
Well all in all, he fails to stray away as in many instances you see how he writes the women and how he chooses to portray their social class.The women represent three classes in the play. They consist of; The privilege noble women, middle-class servant,and low-class prostitutes. Lets first talk about who represents the privilege noblewomen, and that quote on quote privilege goes to Desdemona. She is the daughter of Brabantio and wife of Othello.So how does the character Desdemona fit into Shakespears sexiest writing of women? Well look no further then act 1 scene 3. Brabantio asked her “where most you owe obedience” this was after he found out about her marriage to Othello. Her response was “but here’s my husband/and so much duty as my mother showed/to you,preferring you before her father/so much I challenge that I may profess/due to the moor my lord”.
The fact that Desdemona had to clarify who she will follow and obey just shows how shakespeare plays into the sexist ways of that time. Even someone of a privileged noblewomen doesn’t really have that many privileges when it’s all set in stone .This also fits into the problem women face when it comes to honor”.
Women in many ways are meant to be seen as perfect and never make a mistake,look no further than Desdemona’s death.The only mistake desdemona makes in the whole play is accidentally dropping the Handkerchief that Othello gave her, yet it’s that one mistake that leads Othello to think she is cheating and kills her in the process.The next female in the play is Emilia,who has the status of middle-class servant.She represents more of the sexist writing and views that shakespeare had.
She is the wife of Iago, who he himself has had no problem sharing his views on what he truly thinks about women and their role.In his eyes women are no more then a way to get babies,sex,and to do little things around the house.Because of this,he shows nothing but disrespect to his wife Emilia.But despite all the disrespect she tries to remain loyal to him.When she was talking to Desdemona she shares how nothing in the world will persuade her to cheat on her husband of whom she obays.
In act 4 scene 3 she states “in troth,i think i should;and undo’t when i/ had done.marry,i would not do such a thing for a/joint-ring,nor for measures of lawn,nor for/gowns,petticoats,nor caps,nor any petty/exhibition;but for the whole world,-why,who”.This shows how loyal she is to her husband Iago,despite how disrespectful he is to her,and even though he makes her sad,she wants nothing more then to please him..In act 3 scene 3 she says “i am glad i have found this napkin:/this was her first remembrance from the moor:/My wayward husband hath a hundred times/woo’d me to steal it:but she so loves this token/for he conjured her she should ever keep it/to kiss and to talk to.I’ll have the work ta’en out,/and gives Iago:what he will do with it/heaven knows,not i;/i nothing but to please his fantasy”.This is when she finds Desdemona’s hankirchid and knows her husband has been wishing for it.All in all Emilia is the biggest victim in shakaspears sexiest views on women,and a lot of that has to do with her social ranking.The title of low-class prostitute goes to Bianka.She is the love interest of Cassio and her character doesn’t develop outside of that.That alone shows how shakespeare thinks all the men need a women to make them men, and the women are nothing more than a trophy,even if they don’t want that trophy to be seen as in Cassios case of not wanting to be seen with Bianka.This is seen in act 3 scene 4 when Cassio states “i do attend here on the general;/and think it no addition,nor my wish,/to have him see me woman’d.Despite this, he still shows to care about her when he tells to to make a copy of the Desdemona’s handkerchief.But her social class of being a low-class prostitute prevents her from ever being seen as more than that.even though its never confirmed she is a prostitute,people will always look down on her.Bianka suffers more from the social class issues then she does from sexism.At the end of the day,if you were to read shakespeare’s othello, you would see how he portrays the three female characters of Desdemona,Emilia ,and Bianca.Desdemona was the one everyone wanted and was jealous of,Bianca was the wife who got abused by her husband, but had to accept that fact that nothing could be done,while Bianka was nothing more then the prostitute of the story.It was in these sexiest stereotypes that lead to the deaths of Desdemona and Emilia.Because desdemona is female,if she were to have cheated on her husband that would be of great disgrace while men can do as they please, and its because Othello thought she cheated that made him decide to take her life,so she wouldn’t cheat on anyone else.Emilia’s death comes from the fact that she decided to betray her husband ,and out his plan of revenge.her punishment for doing this was death and both these examples shows how shakespeare wrote the women in a sexiest and classist way.