A Feminist Perspective of Othello Essay

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A Feminist Perspective of Othello

Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello closes the final scene of the last act with the spiritual superiority of the heroine firmly established over that of the hero. This is one of many aspects regarding the feminine perspective on the drama, the subject of this essay.

A.C. Bradley, in his book of literary criticism, Shakespearean Tragedy, describes the violence against the heroine as a “sin against the canons of art”:

To some readers, again, parts of Othello appear shocking or even horrible. They think – if I may formulate their objection – that in these parts Shakespeare has sinned against the canons of art, by representing on the stage a violence or brutality the effect of which is
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The daughter’s husband Othello expresses his sentiments to Iago regarding his relationship with the senator’s daughter, saying

that I love the gentle Desdemona,

I would not my unhoused free condition

Put into circumscription and confine

For the sea's worth. (1.2)

Once that Brabantio has located Othello, the father presses charges publicly in order to have Desdemona returned:

To prison, till fit time

Of law and course of direct session

Call thee to answer. (1.2)

The proceedings which take place before the Duke of Venice enable the audience to hear the feminine point of view for the first time in the play. Desdemona is compelled by the situation to stand before the senators and duke, members of the City Council of Venice, and present her side of the story in a convincing manner. She is both respectful of her father and loving of her husband:

My noble father,

I do perceive here a divided duty.

To you I am bound for life and education;

My life and education both do learn me

How to respect you: you are the lord of duty;

I am hitherto your daughter. 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. (1.3)

Brabantio’s rage, among other reasons, necessitate that Desdemona live with Iago and Emilia during the

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