Internet Shakespeare Editions


Attitudes to women

The men in Othello have varying attitudes to women, from Othello, who idealizes Desdemona, to Iago, who sees love as "merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will" (1.3.337). Attitudes in Shakespeare's audience are likely to have been at least as varied. There was a long and well-established tradition in the Church of what we now see as misogyny -- the distrust of women simply because they are women. Not surprisingly, the literature of the period illustrates these attitudes, sometimes approvingly, sometimes critically.