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179. A Woman’s Roles in William Shakespeare’s Othello


Since women’s birth, their life and behavior are determined and set in certain limitations. Hence, women cannot do anything they want because they have to obey particular rules of society. Otherwise, men have freedom to do everything without feeling afraid of breaking the rules, because it almost no rules for men in behaving and doing something. Nevertheless, we have to know that the freedom will damage the world if women are not created. Actually, women are created not only to be the second creature but also to accompany and help men in facing the world. Men without women cannot pass this life because women with their softness can cast down men’s harshness and savagery. If men’s harshness and savagery are let down, the world must be gone. Then, to equalize the harshness, women are created with tenderness and full of affection. William Shakespeare’s Othello is a drama which tells about the woman’s femininity power in her role. Here, Desdemona becomes the central female figure, and her role as a wife of general military in Venice becomes the main focus in this research.

This research has two problems of study, they are (1) what are woman’s roles portrayed in William Shakespeare’s Othello? (2) What are the factors affecting the woman’s in William Shakespeare’s Othello? In this research, the researcher analyzes the novel to find the answer of these two problems of study. This research uses the feminist literary criticism. Here, it is about the concept of cultural feminism which involves the discussion to the concept of woman’s role in her family. The main thrust of cultural feminism is appreciating the different role and power between man and woman biologically and socially.

Accordingly, cultural feminists suggest to all women not to be masculine person in fighting the patriarchy because their own power is in their femininity. The cultural feminists also believe that woman should back to the traditional role in order to get the better life. It is because the traditional role of woman has a power which brings peace in the world.

From this research, two findings can be stated as the answer of the problem of the study. The first is, the roles of woman in Shakespeare’s play Othello, they are woman as a wife, woman as a lover, and woman as a friend. From those roles, the researcher finds that the factors that affect woman’s role in the drama are relationship and personal factors. In relationship factor, the interaction of each member in a society or family becomes the important thing in forming a person’s role and behavior. Meanwhile, personal factor means the role is based on personal motivation to do it which is added by person’s intelligence appears from inside her mind or soul such as fair and wit.
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