Essay on Othello and Women

Submitted By abbybrown2011
Words: 1518
Pages: 7

Othello The differences in the mind set of men and women are remarkable, particularly within the realm of love and lust. William Shakespeare’s Othello explores this relationship further, reaching into the ideas of men and power. These differences in opinion and thought are what, in the end, ruin lives and change the course of events throughout the play. There is an unbelievable barrier between the minds of women and men within the realm of sex and love and whether the two are interconnected with one another or not.
The views and perspectives in the modern day society now are much different than the views of women of Othello’s time period, yet the concepts are still consistent. Love is real in the minds of women. It is as plain as that. Desdemona, from the first moment she decided she loved Othello until her very last breath. She was utterly loyal to him, even in moments when she should not have been. Loyalty is one of the truest forms of expressing love for another and Desdemona shows this clearly when she says to Emilia, “Nobody I myself. Farwell. Commend me to my kind lord. Oh, farewell!” (Shakespeare V.ii.138-139). Desdemona is not only blaming her death on herself, but she is in a sense, forgiving Othello for his actions as well. In her last few moments of life, her love is so much greater than any form of negative emotion she may have had towards Othello. By saying this to Emilia she is not only accepting Othello’s true self and flaws, but she is also saying that is it all right. Love is a complex thing for anyone to wrap their head around. The complexity of love is especially true for the strumpet Bianca. Infatuated from the start with Cassio, she begins to love him. As Iago points out, “To beguile many and be beguiled by one” (Shakespeare IV.i.99), and he’s right. Bianca is a woman known to many men and many men are mesmerized and fooled by her, for her body. And yet she knows what love is and loves only one, Cassio. Women tend to combine the thoughts regarding sex and love together into one whole idea. Bianca, not only has sex with Cassio, but she loves him as well. Bianca believes that part of loving Cassio, she needs to be open with him and to say what is on her mind to his face, not behind his back like he does to her. “She mocks him to his face but not behind his back as he does her” (Neely 63) as Carol Neely points out. Bianca respects him, even though he might not necessarily respect her in the same way.
The innocent, virtuous love shown in the women of the play is not apparent in the actions of the men. Whether it be in simply degrading women through comments regarding their bodies or in going against the truest form of showing love, trusting another being, it becomes apparent that not only is respect not visible in the actions of the men, but trust isn’t as well. Iago is the most apparent misogynistic character in Othello. It seems that the only statements he makes are regarding the topic of sex. It is because of this fact, that he is so unlikeable within the realm of women. When talking to Desdemona he states, “Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk: / You rise to play, and go to bed to work” (Shakespeare II.i.112-113). Iago here is saying to Desdemona that she, as a woman, wakes up in the morning to ‘play’ or simply do nothing and the real work begins when she goes to bed. The bedroom is a common place for sex, and by making this reference, Iago is plainly saying that all Desdemona, as well as the rest of women, are only good for what ‘work’ they can do in bed. This goes against respect and the common love for women in general. The same mind set seems to be true for Roderigo, the man who wanted Desdemona before she married Othello. Roderigo from the very beginning of the play is lovesick for Desdemona. He tries everything within his power to get her for himself. The lust he has for Desdemona makes him go as far as siding with Iago and going through with his orders. “Roderigo, most obviously a