After reading the play Othello, the interpretation I developed is a mix of "feminist" - as in females being used in male dominated society and "feminist" - as in females being strong in a male dominant society. This is because I believe that the play Othello incorporates both of these.
Society in the 1600s expected women to be submissive and obedient to their husbands and other men. William Shakespeare often described the women in his plays as strong, confident individuals, different to the stereotypical roles of the time. However, this is spoilt when they continue being dependent on men, when they submit to men and when they defend men.
Women were assumed to be untrustworthy. Eve seduced Adam banishing mankind from the Garden of Eden, and Pandora's curiosity made all hell break loose on the world. With this image, women had little chance for a good reputation.
Along with this was the belief that there was no way to tell if a woman was being unfaithful.
The quote: "O well painted passion" indicates this assumption (IV.i.250).
In Othello, all of the three women have no separate identity. They are all married or associated with a male character. Bianca is the mistress of Cassio, Emilia is married to Iago and Desdemona is married to Othello.
"That we call these delicate creatures ours and not their appetites," says Othello (III.iii.269). This quote shows that the men considered the women their possessions, and that they must be controlled like children. The women were also often referred to as jewels, food (to satisfy the men's appetite), or treasure.
At the time that Othello was written, men held all the power and the women were considered to be of low intelligence. But it is the women who speak the most sense throughout the...