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The Role of Desdemona in Shakespeares Othello The character of Desdemona represents a woman of the 17th century who surpassed the norms of sexual morality set for Venetian women of that time When Desdemona left the house of her father Brabantio to wed the Moor Othello it was the first step in redefining her role as a woman Desdemona instead of asking her fathers permission decided on her own to marry Othello It seems as though Desdemona was breaking away from the strictness imposed by Brabantio She denied her father any right in choosing or granting allowance to Othello to marry her Instead she chose the man who she wanted to marry and felt it unnecessary that her father intervene in their relationship This act of independence by Desdemona tore away the gender barriers of the Venetian patriarchal society and posed a threat to male authority The other aspect of Desdemonas mutiny was the miscegenation in Desdemona and Othellos marriage 1The choice of mate made by Desdemona further deviated from the role in which Venetian society would cast her The traditions of the Venetian society are discovered when Iago speaks to Brabantio and plants both the ideas of miscegeny and loss of power into Brabantios mind Iago cautions Brabantio Your heart is burst you have lost half your soul Even now now very now an old black ram Is tupping your white ewe Arise arise Oth I i 88-90 These lines highlight the fact that in Elizabethan society Brabantio like other fathers considered Desdemonas body to be his possession while also tapping into the fear of miscegenation that existed in Venice at that time 2In his book Sex in History Rattray Taylor describes patriarchal societies in which the power was placed in the hands of men to be based on father-identifier schemes 77 Taylor explains that children who are father-identifiers model themselves after their fathers because of their interest in authority and in an
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