February 22, 2017

Homework Help: english- URGENT

Posted by sarah on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 9:13am.

could somebody please look over this outline I made saying how Adrienne rich would view the women in Othello and how they are victims of patriarchy?

Adrienne Rich defines patriarchy on pg. 57, Of Woman Born, as “Patriarchy is the power of the fathers: a familial-social, ideological, political system in which men- by force, direct pressure, or through ritual, tradition, law and language, customs, etiquette, education and the division of labour- determine what part women shall or shall not play, and in which the female is everywhere subsumed under the male.”

-even though women are portrayed as insignificant, they play a vital role and are the cause of man’s fall
-ex. If it weren’t for Desdemona there would be no jealous murders. She is the center point the play revolves around

THESIS: Shakespeare’s Othello portrays its women, Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca, as victims of patriarchy, and living under conditions and suppression that Adrienne Rich, a progressive feminist, would disapprove; Rich believes it is only through breaking the mold men create that women will gain independence and respect.

ARGUMENT 1. In a patriarchal system, women are held to higher standards and obligations than men. While women are required to be completely devoted and committed to men, men are not expected to be committed to females and can ignore, use, and suppress their wives

A-Cassio and Bianca- Ignoring her
-Doesn’t pretend to be interested in her or need her. Leaves her for extended periods of time without telling her where he is going. Doesn’t have a full commitment
-“ What, keep a week away? Seven days and nights? Eight score eight hours? And lovers' absent hours More tedious than the dial eight score times! Oh weary reckoning!” (act 3 scene 4)

-Uses her, sweet talks her to get what he wants
-“Sweetheart, take me this work out”

B-Iago and Emilia- Using her
-Iago uses her to manipulate Othello, wants to dominate over her
-“Give it to me”

C. Victims of Husbands- Suppressing
1. Desdemona- the depth of Othello’s love for her and her innocence makes her the ultimate victim. Thus, Othello is very jealous and says he loves her too much
-“Of one that loved not wisely but too well”
2. Emilia- even though she is a strong individual, the deceitful nature of Iago allows him to use and dominate her
** Adrienne Rich feels these females, similarly to her history, are being used and suppressed by males. -Rich says that this is the time for women to wake up. She disagrees with this form of patriarchy and feels that the women need to break away from the mold men set and become independent

-“The eldest daughter in the house with no son, she who must overthrow the father, take what he taught her and use it against him.” (398)
-“most dangerous place, the family home.” (398)

ARGUMENT 2. When husbands and fathers are set up to believe they are dominant and domineering over females, they will act in a degrading and demeaning way. These women are affected by the patriarchal system they are living under because their husbands do not respect them, show affection, and state degrading comments.

-Iago calls Bianca a prostitute-
-“A housewife that by selling her desires Buys herself bread and clothes: it is a creature” (Act 4 Scene III)

-Is used and abused by Cassio- sweet talks her when he wants something
- Sweet Bianca, (giving her DESDEMONA's handkerchief) Take me this work out.

-Iago, when attempting to take Desdemona’s scarf calls her a wench
-“ a good wench, give it to me” (act 3 scene 3)
-“villainous (expletive)”

-Iago talks about how it is in women’s nature to cheat on husbands and be focused solely on sex. Says it is against a women’s nature to turn down men. He can smell the dark and ugly desires inside her, the unnatural thoughts.
-“As, to be bold with you, Not to affect many proposèd matches Of her own clime, complexion, and degree, Whereto we see in all things nature tends— Foh! One may smell in such a will most rank, Foul disproportions, thoughts unnatural.”(act 3 scene 3)

-Othello is rude and cold towards her. Doesn’t believe she is obedient and wants her to get out of her sight- calls her the devil
- Oh, devil, devil! If that the earth could teem with woman's tears, Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile. Out of my sight! (Act 4 sc 1)

ARGUMENT 3. Men and Society have programmed the women into believing they are there for their use and their benefit

-Women feel as though they have an obligation/debt to males
1. Desdemona says that she feels torn between her obligation to her father, and to her husband. She owes her father because he gave her her life and education, but she owes her husband just as her mother owed him over her own father. She is forced to giver her obedience to the Moor, her lord and her husband. Thought of as property
- “My noble father, I do perceive here a divided duty. To you I am bound for life and education. My life and education both do learn me How to respect you. You are the lord of duty.I am hitherto your daughter. But here's my husband. And so much duty as my mother showed To you, preferring you before her father, So much I challenge that I may profess Due to the Moor my lord.” (act 1 sc 3)
2. Othello believes Desdemona should obey his every whim. States this in a jealous rage, making a speech about how is wife is to do as he says and be obedient
-“Ay! You did wish that I would make her turn. Sir, she can turn, and turn, and yet go on and turn again; and he can weep, sir, weep; and she’s obedient; as you say, obedient. Very obedient. Proceed you in your tears. Concerning this, sir-O well-painted passion! I am commanded home. –Get you away; I’ll send for you anon.- Sir I obey the mandate and will return to Venice.” (act 4 Sc. 1, lines 252-260)
** Adrienne Rich would feel that these women are being taken advantage of, being made to believe that they need men
-“That women need men as social and economic protectors, for adult sexuality, and for psychological completion…that women who do not attach their primary intensity to men must be, in functional terms, condemned to an even more devastating outsiderhood than their outsiderhood as women.” (221)

B-Bettering Husbands, no matter the cost
Women will do whatever it takes through whatever means necessary to better their husbands, no matter how horribly they are treated
A. Emilia asks Desdemona, who wouldn’t cheat on her husband to make him king and give him everything? She would risk everything, including her reputation and sacrificing her body’s purity to better Iago
- “Why, who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch? I should venture purgatory for 't.” (Act 3 Sc 3)
-Emilia steals Desdemona’s napkin in attempt to gain Iago’s favor and approval
** -Rich would say Monica, and other submissive women, are like the living dead being suppressed by men. Women identify/discover themselves in relation to men and this needs to stop, - loosing passion and not speaking their minds/thinking outside box

ARGUMENT 4. Although the women in Othello embody characteristics of a patriarchal society, Shakespeare demonstrates a progression of their society in which Emilia, is able to stand up to husband, gain independence, and break the societal mold.

A. Emilia
-strength is seen towards the end of the play. Despite the dominance Iago has over her, she challenges his position and helps bring about his downfall, Rats Iago out to Cassio letting the audience know it was Iago who set up Cassio and he never had her handkerchief. Society is advancing away from primitive views
“She give it Cassio! No alas, I found it and I did give’t my husband.”
-Ironic because in her moment of strength, she is shut down and killed
** -Adrienne Rich would emphasize with Emilia and support/encourage her decision to strive for independence. Was also once in a similar situation where her husband, Arnold, required her to be submissive
-“Arnold demanded absolute loyalty, absolute submission to his will. In my separation from him…I was learning in concrete ways a great deal about patriarchy” (234)

-Shakespeare designed this patriarchal environment as a representation of society of his time, and to eliminate communication between males and females so that the characters would easily be manipulated and lied to

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