The construction of desdemona s personality as


Marilyn People from france asserts that Shakespeare simply constructs two styles of women, the “virtuous subhuman or misleading subhuman. inches[1]In conjugation with the Elizabethan expectation of your “acceptable version of the feminine” woman, a female who is unaggressive, obedient and chaste, Shakespeare has made Desdemona as a “virtuous subhuman. ” This kind of supports the feminist criticism that “literary representations of ladies repeated familiar cultural stereotypes. “[2]Desdemona is identified by the guy characters as a non-entity, a “subhuman” instrument to be employed and possession to be had in the form of a partner or little girl, as male characters, in accordance to Kate Millet, happen to be “denigrating, exploitative and repressive in their relationships with women. “[3]The role of submissive girl and obedient wife is the role predicted of an Elizabethan woman in a patriarchal culture. Women who will not conform to these types of expectations will be painted since deceiving seductresses. Shakespeare’s construction of Desdemona’s fall, Othello’s perception of Desdemona being a seductress who is no longer real and chaste and thus kills her, coincides with the contemporary view that female self-reliance “leads to dislike and rejection”[4]since independent females who are not pure or submissive are generally not considered “acceptable version[s] with the feminine” woman. The purpose of this kind of, according to Bertens, is usually to prolong the imbalanced electric power relations among men and women in order to preserve the mechanisms of patriarchy. However , one need to note that it really is Desdemona’s ‘acceptable’ feminine nature that makes her susceptible to Iago’s plotting which will ultimately contributes to her downfall and thus, you can infer that what is considered ‘acceptable’ regarding a feminine girl is actually undesirable, according to Shakespeare, when considering the survival of girl in patriarchal societies, hence possibly producing Shakespeare a proto-feminist.

Toril Moi defines the perfect female figure as a “passive, docile and above all selfless creature. inch[5]Desdemona’s created role as wife and daughter, her passive, non selfish and obedient behaviour in addition to the value positioned on her chastity, embodied through the symbol of her handkerchief, is a product of the patriarchal society in Othello, reflecting the ideal womanly woman because thought by simply Elizabethan contemporary society. The angelic connotations encircling the spiritual language associated with “Divine Desdemona” emphasises her purity and angelic attributes and leads to her building as a suitable feminine woman, whose representation of beauty will satisfy patriarchal targets, as well as to the audience’s objectives of her character. Feminist critics debate as to whether a society’s concept of femininity arises from biology, in this it is the actual them feminine, or from social health and fitness. Barry asserts that these girly traits happen to be underpinned simply by conditioning and “socialisation”[6], thus one could infer that Desdemona’s declaration, “I am obedient”, is because of social health and fitness enforced by patriarchal culture where her expected work is to abide by her partner and father. Thus your woman conforms with her society’s requirement of her as a virtuous subhuman.

Desdemona appreciates the duty this wounderful woman has to her partner and father as well as the practice passing of the duty because “so very much duty as my mother showed/To you, preferring you before her father, /So much My spouse and i challenge which i may profess/Due to the Moor my head of the family. ” This ritual switch in responsibility may be interpreted as a shift of control. She was property of her dad until her marriage exactly where she was “won” simply by Othello, as a result becoming his property. The of her as property, a subhuman, is emphasised further by simply Iago’s use of animal symbolism, referring to Desdemona as a “white ewe”, an animal to be owned by her master. This not only emphasises the perception of her like a possession and a tool, but also denigrates her status and location in world, maintaining the men’s position as superiors. This objectification of women can be described as strong feature of virtually any patriarchal contemporary society, as it would have been during Shakespeare’s period. Thus, you can infer that Shakespeare’s goal behind her construction is usually to reveal to females what variation of girly behaviour is acceptable to ensure one to locate a husband, that was considered the purpose of every woman.

One may argue then believe the planned message lurking behind Desdemona’s loss of life, as place by Bertens, is that “dependence leads to indulgement and reverence while self-reliance leads to dislike and denial. “[7]Desdemona lives while her chastity and purity remains in one piece, however , the moment she manages to lose her handkerchief, the image of her chastity, the lady becomes perceived as a “deceiving subhuman” by leader in the patriarchal universe in which she lives, Othello. Shakespeare discloses this move in the transform of dialect associated with Desdemona which is no longer angelic and divine, nevertheless crude and wicked since Othello identifies her like a “strumpet” and “cunning whore. ” As being a deceiving temptress, she turns into a threat to the mechanisms of patriarchy and thus “she must die, else she’ll betray more men. ” Desdemona’s growing self-reliance from her husband leads to the “dislike and rejection”, as believed by Bertens, as the lady hides her intentions concerning Cassio’s restoral to favor from her husband. This kind of independence turns into evident while Desdemona and Othello find it difficult to understand every other’s utilization of language with Othello’s generally calm and measured use of blank verse being changed by mental bullying, echoing the disintegration of their marital harmony. Freedom and deception provide the basis for the theme of jealousy in the play, which eventually leads to Desdemona’s demise. The structure in the play as well supports the supposition it turned out Desdemona’s activities of deceit and concealing the truth from her husband that led to her fatality as we happen to be initially brought to her like a virtuous embodiment of the “acceptable version with the feminine” woman, and at this time she is safe. However , while her actions transgress and she isolates herself by her hubby, becoming perceived as an unsatisfactory version of femininity, the girl dies. This kind of suggests that Desdemona is created in order to reveal the importance and safety granted by embodying acceptable female traits plus the dangers of digressing from them.

However , Shakespeare’s use of dramatic irony, because we while the audience know that Iago and Othello’s claims of Desdemona are fake and that the girl with not guilty of adultery and has remained obedient out of duty to her husband over the play, improvements the reception of Desdemona’s construction because an acceptable girly woman whom dies resulting from her atteinte. Desdemona at this point appears as being a “victim of impossible ideals”[8]expected of ladies. It may consequently become evident that it is her supposedly “acceptable” feminine behaviour of conforming to patriarchy’s expectations leading to her fatality as her femininity and angelic self-sacrifice means she’s unable to conserve herself by death, as a result implying the fact that supposed acceptable feminine behaviour is unsatisfactory if you wish to endure in a patriarchal world. Consequently , it may be asserted that William shakespeare reveals “scepticism about the size of women”[9]as to whether or certainly not the nature related to women by simply patriarchal communities is satisfactory. Desdemona’s female nature plus the emphasis placed on the ideal, satisfactory woman staying “selfless” makes her struggling to save her own existence for the girl with “characteristically woman” and “cannot plead for herself. inches[10]Desdemona blames herself for her death acknowledging that the girl herself “hath done this deed” but still seeks forgiveness from her husband, asking Emilia to “commend me personally [Desdemona] to my kind lord. inch Even by the end, her character is unable to locate fault in her hubby who murdered her. You can therefore determine that William shakespeare is adopting a proto-feminist stance throughout the implication that it is a woman’s supposedly “acceptable” female nature that may lead to her downfall, mainly because it Desdemona’s unfailing sense of duty towards her husband that leads to hers. Therefore, it may be inferred that Shakespeare is rather creating Desdemona for example of an undesirable “version of the feminine” girl as the supposedly acceptable feminine version of her culminates in her demise.

Shakespeare evidently constructs Desdemona because an “acceptable version from the feminine” girl in terms of what a patriarchal society would consider ‘acceptable. ‘ But , in spite of her positive character attributes and ‘acceptable’ feminine character, she passes away at the hands of males, thus giving even more credit to the argument that Shakespeare is definitely illustrating, through Desdemona’s decline, what a female must imagine to be acceptable should she wish to survive. One may determine that William shakespeare is withought a shadow of doubt indicating that women ought to not conform to the expectations of any patriarchal contemporary society or to their very own social health and fitness as, relating to feminist critics, it is only a way to control women and to recreate all of them as non-entities and “subhuman” to be employed as tools. Thus, it really is evident that Shakespeare constructs Desdemona, to the full extent, since Elizabethan society’s “acceptable type of the feminine” woman, nevertheless this is only done so that Iago’s character has the capacity to manipulate her and carry out his plans which lead to her downfall, thus indicating to women the hazards of contouring to patriarchal constructions and expectations and for that reason subverts the presumed purpose behind literary representations of ladies repeating the cultural stereotypes. This suggests that Shakespeare is usually illustrating girly behaviour that may be unacceptable in his view mainly because it will only bring about the demise of women and is therefore sending the meaning that women should be stronger, whole characters that embody equally virtues and deception in order to protect themselves from prominent patriarchal communities.


Barry, S. (2002) Start Theory (2nd Edition), (pp. 121-123), Manchester University Press. (Critical Anthology).

Bertens, H. (2010) Literary Theory: The Basics, (The Politics of sophistication: Marxism), (pp. 94-5), 97-99), Abingdon: Routledge. (Critical Anthology).

Dreher, Diane At the. (1986) Domination and Disobedient: Fathers and Daughters in Shakespeare. University or college Press of Kentucky.

Kemp, Theresa D. (2009) Women inside the Age of William shakespeare. Greenwood.

Lauren Cygan, Sexist Styles in Othello, The Toning down iof the Shrew as well as the Tempest, (english. illinoisstate. edu/rlbroad/archive/teaching/studentpubs/OneWishENglish/cygan. pdf) (Accessed 20 03 2014)

Moi, Toril. (1990) “Women Composing and Writing about Women. inch In Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory. (pp. 50-69, 176). Greater london and Nyc: Routledge.

Shakespeare, Bill. (2000) Othello, Heinemann.

Warren, Rebecca. Othello. (2003) York Notes Advanced, (London: York Press)

[1] Lauren Cygan, Sexist Themes in Othello, The Taming in the Shrew and The Tempest. [2] Bertens, They would. (2001) Literary Theory: The fundamentals, (The Politics of Class: Marxism), (pp. 94-5, 97-99), Abingdon: Routledge. (Critical Anthology) [3] Ibid. [4] Ibid. [5] Moi, Toril. “Women Publishing and Writing about Women. ” Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Fictional Theory, pp. 50-69, 176. London and New York: Routledge, 1990. [6] Barry, S. (2002) Beginning Theory. (2nd Edition), (pp. 121-123), Manchester University Press. (Critical Anthology). [7] Bertens, H. (2001) Literary Theory: The Basics, (The Politic t of Class: Marxism), (pp. 94-5, 97-99)), Abingdon: Routledge. (Critical Anthology). [8] Dreher, Diane Elizabeth. (1986) Domination and Defiance: Dads and Children in Shakespeare. University Press of Kentucky. [9] Kemp, Theresa G. (2009) Females in the Associated with Shakespeare. Greenwood. [10] Dreher, Diane Elizabeth, Domination and Defiance: Dads and Children in William shakespeare. (1986), School Press of Kentucky.

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