Is Desdemona a Victim or Vixen?
Desdemona is portrayed in the play Othello by Shakespeare in many ways. Two of these are as a victim and as a vixen. Victim defined means somebody who is tricked or taken advantage of where as vixen means an offensive term that deliberately insults a woman regarded as vindictive and bad-tempered as defined by the Macquarie dictionary. In Othello Desdemona is portrayed mainly as a victim. This is through numerous ways, firstly Desdemona is a victim due to the men in society determining social organisations, secondly how Desdemona is viewed by the men as a prize and not and human and lastly the way Desdemona is uneducated.
Desdemona is a victim and not a vixen as Desdemona is openly taken advantage of every day by the males that surround her. Desdemona is not at any stage of this play aggressive, vindictive or bad-tempered as the word vixen implies.
The only vixen quality that Desdemona holds is the deceitfulness at the beginning when she marries Othello and does not tell her father.
Within the society that Desdemona lived in, was patriarchal and therefore her status with in the community was determined by the male influences in her life, who organised her life within the home and out. These conditions in addition to the submissiveness that Desdemona would have seen from her mother and other influential women in her life would have conditioned Desdemona to accept the men ruling her. It is these conditions which turn the women in Shakespeare's play Othello into victims. Desdemona had little to no control over her life. She aimlessly followed the men without question as she had been taught from an early age. Desdemona is a victim and not a vixen as she had no control over her life.