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What characteristics does Iago think women have? What Is Iago's opinion of women, as...

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philiveyy | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 20, 2010 at 2:35 PM via web

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What characteristics does Iago think women have?

What Is Iago's opinion of women, as illustrated by the characteristics women have early in the play?

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 20, 2010 at 3:20 PM (Answer #1)

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Iago is a misogynist  - if not a complete misanthrope. He has no regard for humankind in general and has no respect for women at all.

Iago comments each of the females in the play crudely and negatively. He utilises Desdemona as the tool to bring down both Othello and Cassio, he says-

So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
And out of her own goodness make the net
That shall enmesh them all.

Iago is aware of, but maliciously uses, her innocence to bring about the downfall of the two soldiers and the fair Desdemona.

Bianca is not highly regarded at court and Cassio is also guilty of abusing her. However, Iago using Cassio's words about the hopelessly besotted Bianca to further anger Othello shows how he sees that women are mere toys.

He is crude and distainful of his own wife, Emilia, publicly and privately questioning her virtue and loyalty and labelling her as a scold-

 Sir, would she give you so much of her lips

  As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,

You would have enough.

It is Emilia who reveals her husband's evil machinations at the end of the play, and he slays her cruelly for it.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 20, 2010 at 10:22 PM (Answer #2)

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In the play 'Othello' by William Shakespeare, the author draws Iago as a man who despises women, even including the sweet and innocent Desdemona who seems never to have done anything to offend. She did however, unwittingly do one thing (in Iago's twisted eyes, that is) - she got in the way! Although this misdemeanour does not tally with the ugly, unfaithful version of her that Iago wants to sell to both her father and her husband ('the black ram' who is 'tupping' her father's 'white ewe') it is perhaps worse than that. Desdemona distracts othello from what Iago thinks he should be concentrating on - Iago! She takes Othello's attention away from Iago so that he fears hw will lose what he values most - control. He might lose his influence over the weak Othello for ever, so he resorts to his usual criticisms of women to counteract her innocent actions.

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