Women in Othello

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In Othello, Shakespeare gives a representation of three types of women: the privileged noblewoman,
the tough middle-class servant, and the low-class prostitute. Examine his depictions of each of these
women. Was Shakespeare sexist? That is, do you think he would agree with Iago that women are useless
creatures who “rise to play, and go to bed to work”? Was he classist? For example, would he agree with
Cassio that it would be ridiculous to marry a common prostitute like Bianca? Does he mean for us to
view the high-class Desdemona as a more pure and better person than Emilia? Brainstorm on these
questions, and then come up with a thesis statement about Shakespeare’s depiction of women. In your
essay, use quotes and examples from the play to support your thesis.


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