Research Paper- Othello - Michelle Abercrombie Mr. Ryan...

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Michelle Abercrombie Mr. Ryan Paul English 103H-30 21 November 2007 Othello and Marriage In the 16 th century marriage was sacred , there was only one wife and one husband for life , “till death do us part.” A wife was expected to be submissive and supportive of her husband in all things . Adultery was an attack on honor and integrity, punishable by death, although many women suffered through their husbands straying from their marriage without much consequence . If a woman was ever caught in such an act, she would no doubt be severely punished by her husband as he saw fit without much intervention from the law . In Shakespeare’s Othello , the idea of the conventional marriage of the time era is challenged by an interracial marriage and the assertive Desdemona , yet also demonstrates what tragedy befalls such a woman. Shakespeare portrays a window into the culture through the marriages of Othello/Desdemona and Iago/Emilia, yet also contests the customary marriage in the twisted plot of this tragedy, which results in death and regret. Othello takes place shortly after the Elizabethan period, when marriages had specific protocol, and any marriages that didn’t follow the rules of the church and society were often annulled by the church (Cressy) . In the play, Desdemona’s father, Brabantino, challenges her and Othello ’s marriage in court and pleads to the duke to intervene. His objection to the marriage has more to do with Othello being dark skinned, a racial prejudice, than anything else. When Brabantino is delivered the news of his daughter’s marriage, “With the Moor say’st thou?-Who
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would be a father? - How didst thou know ‘twas she…. Where may we apprehend her and the Moor?” (Shakespeare 9), his immediate reaction is of horror and worry that Desdemona has been
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2008 for the course ENGL 103h taught by Professor Spallholz during the Fall '08 term at University of Arizona- Tucson.

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Research Paper- Othello - Michelle Abercrombie Mr. Ryan...

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