The dehumanization of female characters in Othello by viewing them through antiquated and dichotomous views of women and female morality is a major factor in the play's tragic ending. These women exist in the context of changing marriage customs that came along with changes in government and religious structures of authority. Through Iago's influence, Othello comes to shift from the more modern companionate view of marriage into an outdated patriarchal model. The play is one of many Early Modern Dramas examining marriage but does not fit in with Patient Griselda plays or with domestic tragedies in which unfaithful wives are murdered. Othello stands as a challenge to these plays' retribution ideology and examines domestic violence as a shared responsibility. Modern discomfort with the play arises both from the outdated gender roles and from the confrontation with domestic violence and societal inaction that are still present.
Miller, Sophie A.
"Othello as a Domestic Tragedy: Marriage and Moral Extremism,"
Global Tides: Vol. 14, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/globaltides/vol14/iss1/6