Comparing Othello's two speeches: Act I, scene iii, (126-169) & Act V, scene ii, (1-23) in relation to his feelings towards his wife, Desdemona.

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Textual analysis - Take home

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I n Shakespeare's Othello, the protagonist, Othello, changes his attitude towards his wife, and indeed all women, through the course of the play, initially viewing her as the nurturing figure to later perceiving her to have taken on the completely opposite role of 'the temptress'. Two speeches, in particular, Act I, scene iii, (126-169) & Act V, scene ii, (1-23), spoken by Othello, not only reflect the prevalent themes of the play but enable the audience to recognise the transition of feelings he undergoes in regards to his wife, Desdemona. This change is revealed through the use of language and imagery which also serve to introduce us to the major concerns of the play and the prevailing attitude, of Othello, towards this wife and to women in general.

Throughout history women have been marginalised on the basis of their sex with traditional female gender roles having two extremes, neither being very positive.

Women, traditionally, either take on the passive or the active role, and neither role, not even the active role, contains much power. The nurturer is covert, emotional, caring and passive holding no real power. The temptress is more overt, less emotional, self-centred and active, holding only slightly more power than the nurturer which is solely sexual. The traditional male role the provider and protector, possessing great power over women as they 'need' a male to survive. It is what women must give in return for their 'being looked after' that has created the two traditional roles; the male will provide the female with shelter, food and security and in return he needs just two things from them: to be cared about and sexual fulfilment.

Some central themes or concerns of Othello, presented overtly throughout the play, are that...