Women Defined by Marriages in Shakespeare Plays

Women Defined by Marriages in Shakespeare Plays

In this paper, plays by Shakespeare with women in them will be examined. The married women are examined whether their marriage had empowered them or put them into enslavement. Marriage can a liberating force when women get married. This is a time for them to live separately from their own families and perhaps get away from an authoritarian father or a domineering mother or away from troublesome siblings. Either way, marriage gives all these women the chance to craft their own lives and their own destiny with their new spouse. There is an overwhelming cultural belief that marriage uplifts a woman into a new pedestal wherein a new home she is now the undisputed mistress absent a bad husband. In other words, there is that once-in-a-lifetime chance to start afresh. But on the other hand, marriage can also be very confining whenever social and cultural constraints are imposed on the new wife. Oftentimes, marriage is a new form of enslavement for these hapless or unlucky women. They believed in marriage as a means of escape but instead falls into a new trap that degrades their life. Desdemona in the play Othello was defined by her marriage to Othello as the new kind of a feminist woman who is not afraid to stand up for love despite Othello being a black general (a Moor) serving in the army of Venice. She had defied her own father who was very much against her being in love with and eventual marriage to Othello. In this play, the marriage between Desdemona and Othello is defined within the larger context of racial discrimination. It was unheard of in those early times how a black man could take a white woman for a wife, more so if the white woman belongs to the higher levels of society. Her marriage to Othello is doomed from the start because many people were against their union who plotted to separate them in due time because of adverse cultural attitudes towardsmiscegenation.

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