StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

Gender, Power, Authority & Violence in Shakespearean Drama - Essay Example

Nobody downloaded yet

Extract of sample
Gender, Power, Authority & Violence in Shakespearean Drama

In Shakespeare’s plays we witness violence, disorder and conflict both in comedy and romance and the concept of ordered universe appears widely, since disorder is extensively used in their plots. Clashes and conflicts arise between the members of the hierarchy when those below contradict their superiors or aspire to their positions. But the important conflicts are those which are between reality and appearance; love and friendship, male and female values and love and war.
Shakespeare’s Othello, along with Hamlet, King Lear and Macbeth is one of the four great tragedies, and thus a pillar of what most critics consider to be the apex of Shakespeare’s dramatic art. More than anything else that distinguishes Othello from the other tragedies is that it’s a tale of love and betrayal, secrets passion and intrigue. Iago, the villian uses Desdemona’s weakness and naiveté and succeeds in convincing Othello about the infidelity of his young and beautiful wife with his favourite lieutenant, Michael Cassio. Desdemona is almost overly virtuous, which causes her to feel that she must defend Cassio and speak in a public sphere where necessary. She is stronger than Othello believes her to be, and is not the private, withdrawn and meek woman he would ideally like her to be.
Desdemona, a young Venetian woman of high birth and good breeding marries Othello out of love. She is an ideal wife appreciated by everyone except the villain. Desdemona’s wifely loyalty and the physical abuse she withstands at the hands of her jealous and distrusting husband are issues that would have made headlines in today’s society. Her concern for Casio shows her generosity, for she will intercede for him with Othello.

We believe her when she says that she does not know what it means to be unfaithful and defends herself by saying that the word 'whore' is not in her vocabulary.

Though Othello loves his beautiful bride but does not know her that well. He is a strong leader, a great warrior, self assured in his abilities to handle military matters but he is insecure with his personal qualities. He is unsure why Desdemona chose him for a husband and could only fathom one explanation, "She loves me for the dangers I have passed." (Act 1, scene 3, 167)

Othello's sexist treatment of his faithful wife, states that Desdemona is an ideal wife and seems to fulfill even the most conservative expectations and is wise innocent and humble. (Angela Pitt, 1983). Still she has some quite serious faults as a wife, including a strong will of her own, which was evident even before she was married. This does not mean that she merits the terrible accusations flung at her by Othello, nor does she in any way deserve her death, but she is partly responsible for the tragic action of the play. Othello's behaviour and mounting jealousy are made more comprehensible if we remember what Elizabethan husbands might expect of their wives. If Othello was merely a pawn in Iago's hands, blinded by hurt and ruined by his own naivet, it can be shown that Othello allows himself to be manipulated. A suggestion of Desdemona's infidelity provides just the excuse Othello needs to show his authority and power to justify the destruction of the wife he believes cannot truly love him.

Although Desdemona's death is a result of Othello's pride and a rush of violent judgment and he may be innately a little evil but, he does little to prevent his base instincts from becoming dominant. Even though Desdemona shows ...Show more


In Shakespeare’s plays we witness violence, disorder and conflict both in comedy and romance and the concept of ordered universe appears widely, since disorder is extensively used in their plots. …
Author : graciehuels
Gender, Power, Authority & Violence in Shakespearean Drama essay example
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the essay on your topic
"Gender, Power, Authority & Violence in Shakespearean Drama"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Check these samples - they also fit your topic

Power, authority and decision making
Moreover, it explains the impact in which power and authority is further used in decision making especially in organizations and business entities. Introduction Power Power is a word that has numerous definitions in relation to the use of the concept. The common definition of power is the ability to do something or act in a particular way.
16 pages (4000 words) Essay
Shakespearean Drama
The women were often young children by our standards: 12-14 years of age. The play is a question of the ridiculous power struggle of the concept of contracts. Katharina was expected to take Petruchio without any say of the matter. Upon hearing about the marriage, she responds, "I'll see thee hang'd on Sunday first".
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
The exercise of power by women in most organizations shows how determined they are in proving their worth in the society. Although at times there are variations as to its implementation and acquisition, women, most of the time, gain power through their good attitude towards work.
2 pages (500 words) Essay
Gender and Sexual Violence
This study shall explore the different current issues in gender and violence. It shall mostly focus on violence directed towards lesbians, gays, and transgenders. Lesbians, gays, and transgenders are exposed to violence because of the discrimination which society often perpetuates against them.
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
These have ranged from political leaders, to individuals in management positions in organizations, to the homesteads. A man is considered the head of the family and in some cases he has abused his authority and power to control or intimidate his wife and children.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Violence in Modern Drama
But, in stead of understanding each other, and coming closer to each other, men seem to grow apart and view everyone with suspicion and intolerance. Violence and hatred has been a universal phenomenon of the twentieth century, continuing into present times. Modern playwrights like Athol Fugard have dealt with the increasing violence and racism encountered in different parts of the world. While the play, "Master Harold and the Boys" by Athol Fugard is set in South Africa during the 1950s, the film "American History X" is set in the U.S.A of the 1990s.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Creative piece of writing and rationale
nd the norms, values, traditions, conventions and taboos prevailing in a society which can be found and preserved in creative writing as the intellectual heritage of a particular culture and civilization. It is social and cultural features that provide the raw material to
8 pages (2000 words) Essay
Power, Authority & Influence
Introduction: It is a popular belief that if you have talent or money, you are bound to be successful in your career. However, time and again history has taught us, whether it is politics, business or sports; leadership, power and influence play a bigger role than possessing only talent or money (Becker).
1 pages (250 words) Essay
Shakespearean Drama
Portia tries to make sure that everyone comes out with something but Shylock looses the most. Jews were banished from Elizabethan England until approximately 1655. No one really knew what a Jew did; what he looked
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
Gender violence
This could be true in all types of media ranging from books written in the 1950s to films in theaters today. In a person’s
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Hire a pro to write
a paper under your requirements!
Win a special DISCOUNT!
Put in your e-mail and click the button with your lucky finger
Your email
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment
Contact Us