Gender in Othello


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Gender in Othello

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