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It was a serious and dangerous accusation and, in this period, women were guilty until proven innocent.is a play that asks us to examine the position of women in society, since it explores issues such as: clandestine marriage, accusations of adultery, and it includes three different social classes of women.
Once a woman is married she has more rules to follow - she especially needs to be submissive to her husband and faithful to him or she could be branded a whore.
Women were warned in conduct books and in sermons preached each Sunday that if they misbehaved, they would be committing a sin. If a woman, married or not, is accused of being unchaste and labelled a ‘whore’, it could mean the downfall of her family in society, and the ruin of her future.
By equating her with a goddess, Cassio creates an ideal that seems impossible for a woman to actually live up to: it’s a bit like seventeenth-century airbrushing.
Once the ideal has been established in the mind of the audience, Iago then begins to slowly chip away at it and changes Othello’s perception of Desdemona.
Desdemona is from a noble or ‘patrician’ family in Venice and therefore would have the least amount of freedom; her behaviour would have been watched carefully and she would not have been allowed to go out in public without her gentlewoman.
When Brabantio hears Desdemona is with Othello he cries ‘?
In Shakespeare’s time, women did not enjoy the same freedoms that they do today.
This was a time of strict social hierarchies and stringent rules about how women should behave in the home and in public.
Bianca (whose name very ironically means ‘white’ - a colour associated with purity and virginity) is a prostitute or ‘whore’, but the only fate she suffers is heartbreak, since she appears to love Cassio quite genuinely.
What might Shakespeare be trying to say in this play about women in his time?