Gender in Othello
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Gender in Othello

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This presentation was created for EDU290: Education in Technology. Its intended audience is a high school English class.

This presentation was created for EDU290: Education in Technology. Its intended audience is a high school English class.

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  • 1. Gender in Othello
    Nicollette Brown
    Central Michigan University
    Microsoft Clip Art
    Microsoft Clip Art
  • 2. 5-Minute Brainstorm
    Think about your gender.
    What behaviors do you think are expected from you because you are a male/female?
  • 3. Gender and Othello
    Gender and gender relations are portrayed throughout the play in two major ways:
    Misogyny of men
    Gender roles, particularly of women
    Microsoft Clip Art
  • 4. Misogyny – A Definition
    Miso (to hate)
    +gyne (women)
    Misogyny: hatred of women
    “Misogyny is a cultural attitude of hatred for females because they are female.”-Sociologist Allan G. Johnson
    *Quote from
  • 5. Misogyny in Othello
    Misogynistic Smashers
    Female Fury
  • 13. “Misogynistic Smashers”
    Iago relentlessly degrades and controls Emilia. He also makes a habit of insulting females in general. Iago murders his wife.
    • See Act 2, Scene 1 for more details
    Othello appears to be kind-hearted towards women, but he later degrades Desdemona fervently both in private and in public. Othello murders his wife.
    • See Act 4, Scene 1 for more details
  • “Misogynistic Smashers”
    Cassio is seen as a gentleman of the era. Even still, he is often condescending towards his love interest Bianca.
    Roderigo is completely infatuated with Desdemona and showers her in gifts; therefore, he feels he deserves her.
    Barbantio sheltered his young daughter and was completely oblivious to her needs when attempting to quell her desires.
  • 14. “Female Fury”
    Desdemona frequently exhibits her own free will and independence. She holds power over her husband Othello, and tries to use it to pardon Cassio.
    • See Act 3, Scene 3 for more details
    Emilia submits to her husband’s desires, but eventually she rebels. It is Emilia who reveals the truth of Iago’s treachery.
    Bianca may be a prostitute, but she isn’t willing to wait around for Cassio to reciprocate his love.
  • 15. Iago: She that was ever fair, and never proud
    Had tongue at will, and yet was never loud,
    Never lack’d gold, and yet went never gay,
    Fled from her wish, and yet said “Now I may;”
    She that, being anger’d, her revenge being night,
    Bade her wrong stay, and her displeasure fly;
    She that in wisdom never was so frail
    To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail
    She that could think, and ne’er disclose her mind,
    See suitors following, and not look behind
    She was a wight, if ever such wight were
    To suckle fools, and choronicle small beer.
    *From William Shakespeare’s Othello: Act II, Scene I, Lines 148-160)
  • 16. Who is the victor?
    Misogynistic Smashers!
    But what are the implications?
  • 17. Misogyny: One Step Further
    “Misogyny is a central part of sexist prejudice and ideology, and, as such, is an important basis for the oppression of females in male-dominated societies.”
    -Sociologist Allan G. Johnson
    What do you think this means?
    *Quote from
  • 18. Consequences of a Male-Dominated Society:Then & Now
    Women are excluded from the government
    Women are expected to be housewives
    Women are property, not independent individuals
  • 19. Women in the Government
    In Othello: 1600’s
    • Not one woman held any position of power
    There were no female representatives in the government
    In America: 2000’s
    • Females are the minority in positions of power
    Females comprise 50.8% of the population yet 16.8% of Congress
    Out of 44 presidents, 0 have been women
    *Data from, author Jennifer Manning
  • 20. Women as Housewives
    In Othello: 1600’s
    • Desdemona and Emilia were expected to perform “housewife” duties and not hold a job
    Duties include: cleaning, obedience, sexual intercourse
    In America: 2000’s
    • These past expectations have lingering effects on women entering the work force
    Women, on average, earn 80% of what men make
    *Statistic from women/397821/
    narrator Eric Schurenberg
  • 21. Women: Independent / Property
    In Othello: 1600’s
    • Wives are seen as their husband’s property, not as individuals.
    Emilia blindly obeys Iago and endures his insults
    Desdemona ultimately bends to Othello’s will…all the way to her death bed
    In America: 2000’s
    • These past expectations still have social implications
    The practice of “giving the bride away” at wedding ceremonies portrays the women as a possession being handed down from father to husband
  • 22. Conclusions
    Gender disparities still exist today. This has been a consistent pattern, dating even before Othello’s setting.
    In the play, gender can be looked at in two main ways:
    Misogyny – All male characters exhibit varying degrees of hatred towards women. Their words and actions portray this attitude.
    Gender Roles – Because of misogyny, women live in a male-dominated society and are given specific roles, roles that often portray them as inferior.
  • 23. Extended Learning Opportunity
    Choose ONE
    Find a passage of the play that embodies the themes discussed in class today. Explain what the passage literally means, and then tell how and why you believe it demonstrates gender disparities.
    Explain a recent event that demonstrates how gender disparities continue today. It can be political, economic, social, etc. Do you think there is a connection between this event and the history of gender inequality? Why or why not?