While considering the time period and by closely evaluating how events and people play against each other, Shakespeare's Othello can be considered a full bodied and consummate feminist work. In fact, Shakespeare's close and dramatic critique of a system of absolutes in a patriarchal military society makes this work a template or preceding influence on what is known as feminist ethics, or care ethics today. While reading this play again I could not help but evaluate it under a feminist lens, and by scrutinizing how each character reacts in a system of events I feel that Shakespeare moves closer and closer toward an ethic of care, or one based on a personal relationships, individuality, and communal responsibility. This sharply opposes the existing system in the play that is military, justice-based, and overwhelmingly focused on honor.
[...] There is only Cassio who insists, was great of heart ii, Then there is Lodovico telling Iago of his fate and leaving to tell the state This heavy act with heavy heart relate ii, 381-382).” This is not the most consummate ending, because although we know that Lodovico is going to tell the state of what has happened, there is no further commentary that this knowledge of the destructiveness of social templates will ever be known, and perhaps this is a fact that Shakespeare himself knew. Although I personally do no wholly agree with care ethics, I am able to evaluate Othello with its concept of morality based on a system of interpersonal relationships, because the play [...]
[...] Emilia's sensitivity and intelligence are also tragically ignored when Desdemona is wondering what is causing Othello's behavior and she muses that, moor's been abused by some villainous knave, some scurvy fellow ii, 146-147).” In a living moment of clarity Emilia begins putting things together in a system of events and realizes that someone has tricked Othello for hierarchal, societal gain, but she is silenced by Iago's violent demand that she shut up. It is only after Desdemona's death that Emilia finds the strength to speak, even with the knowledge that she will most likely be killed. [...]
[...] He is easily able to take advantage of the multiple layers of isolation that surround Othello such as his race, his extrication from the template of government he is used to, and the fact that his gender itself isolates him from Desdemona. One of the greatest strengths of the play is the painful inability of Othello to go from existing in the military world he has always known to a more intimate, civilian world. The reader knows little else about his life other than the fact that he has only known battle and military affairs since he was a little boy. [...]
[...] Othello is never quite able to separate his military life with his romantic one, and he even becomes so enraged over the idea of Desdemona's infidelity that he goes into an epileptic trance, which may also be symbolic of his fierce inability to reconcile the behavior that would be appropriate in a civilian setting to the violent behavior he is inured to. He eventually drives himself insane enough to kill Desdemona, because her chastity is another one of the absolutes of morality that he so depended upon. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee