Love, Betrayal and Violence: A Female Subjugation in Shakespeare’s Play Othello
Keywords:power politics,violence matrimony, domestic heirarchy, male hegemony.
Women across historical, social and religious boundaries have been pitted against the asphyxiating patriarchal norms and rigid cultural constructs which bestow power, dominance and freedom on man, and push her into the margins of both, society and domestic space. The current paper attempts to explore the mechanics of domestic violence, and its treatment in William Shakespeare’s Othello. The aim is to ascertain how the playwright addresses the issue of crime against women within the familial and social world of his times. Based on the theme of power politics within domestic hierarchy, the play not only lays bare a grim picture of domestic abuse and violence against women in matrimony, but also offers an insight into the psyche of abusers. The dialectics of power struggle in the play written in the 16thcentury is a reflection of the playwright’s sensitivity towards the existential reality of women of his times and his negation of male hegemony and criminal violence in conjugal relations. . Vishal Bhardwaj adopted Othello to make the film Omkara in 2006. Bringing the 17th century Elizabethan society in the 21st century Indian setting, Bhardwaj deftly pointed out the present scenario. There are numerous cases of a father’s restriction on daughter’s freedom of choice, brother’s threat to the sister for not to disgrace their family apart from ‘honour killing’. This continues even in the household of her ‘soul mate’ for whom she dares to defy every challenge. The predicament of modern Desdemona’s in the hand of Othello bears the testimony of Shakespeare’s immortal creation and its never ending relevance. The universality of Shakespeare is still rejoiced due to his experiment on the core region of the human psyche which fails to alter even with high-tech service or ‘progressive’ education.
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