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Othello Matrimonial Duty Essay

1003 words - 4 pages

Shakespeare's Ambivalence on Matrimonial Duty Shakespeare's Othello contributes towards the matrimonial duties each unified character portrays throughout the play. Othello is commonly regarded as a performer of depicting the ability to use man's reason towards evil intentions. A degrading and jealous ancient (Iago) in the general's army is cable to destroy him through manipulation and deceit. However, although Iago's treachery towards Othello is certainly a central theme in the play, another theme regarding the nature of the man towards woman is apparent. This play suggests that men mistreat women because each female character allows them to be mistreated. The abusive actions the men portray to their spouses occur throughout the course of the play. The main characters view their views or significant others as inferiors and usually simply as objects of lust and physical desire. The significance of hatred towards women portrays a view that is reflected in some form or other by all of the main characters.Iago's character reveals the most hatred and inconsiderate companionship towards the women within the play. He considers love to be "Merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will" (I.iii.377-378). He also believes all women are whores who "rise to play, and go to bed to work" (II.i.127). Iago's hatred towards women is evident given the way he treats and respects his wife. He seems to have only foolish and offensive words to describe his wife, and even strikes her, which essentially led to her death when she exposes his double-dealing plot at the end of the play. Furthermore, Iago exemplifies his hatred towards his wife when she has a conversation with Othello. The two of them Shakespeare's Ambivalence on Matrimonial DutyPage 1 of 4 finally conclude that Iago is to be blamed for all chaos and absurd behaviour each character attributes. Iago immediately felt the guilt rise upon his very own eyes and shouts, "Villainous whore" (V.ii.273) to his wife for ruining the mastermind plan he created. Nevertheless, the men regard the women as inferiors; the women never confront or resist their mistreatment. On the contrary, they remain subserviently loyal to their spouses. One such example from the play is when Emilia finds Desdemona's handkerchief. Although Iago mistreats Emilia and detests her, she remains more loyal to him than to gentle and caring Desdemona. Emilia hands the handkerchief to Iago even after he names her "a foolish wife" and "a good wench" which clearly justifies their relationship and characterization.Another female character, Bianca, also allows herself to be mistreated. Bianca believes that she is in love with Cassio and will do anything that he pleases. However, Cassio does not reciprocate Bianca's feelings and bonds with Iago indicating the feelings Bianca has for him. "Alas, poor rogue, I think i' faith she loves me." (4.1.128) which clarifies that Cassio essentially uses Bianca's love to his own means. He takes advantage and...

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