Perhaps the most spiteful, devious, and despicable character Shakespeare has ever created is that of Sago, the antagonist of his famous tragic play, Othello. Manipulative and cunning, he deceives everyone with his poise and “honest” words. However, in Act II, Scene l, his virtuous facade is momentarily diminished, when he puts forth his bigoted opinions on women. This disturbing series of dialogue illustrate his misogynistic values, his objectification of females, and his ideas of promiscuity among women.
Notably, an element of Sago’s sexism originates from his belief that all women are deceitful. Sago disputes that women are lazy and talkative behind closed doors, yet in public, they are modest and presentable. However, this is despite the fact that women in this era had little rights and were very dependent on their husbands. It was the social norm for wives to stay at home and perform housewifely duties, while men went out to work.
Nevertheless, he belittles and insults his wife for this very reason.In Act II, Scene I, Cassia greets Emilie with a kiss, and to Sago’s discontent, he sneeringly warns Cassia, ‘X;ovule she give you so much of her lips, As of her tongue she oft bestows on me You’d have enough” (2. 1, 109-1 11). Conversely, his anger may seem unreasonable as it is obvious that he does not respect, nor love his Wife.
Instead, his disapproval stems from his ideas of women being possessions. In his own manipulative ways, he uses Emilie and Discommode as objects to further his own desires.In fact, he states this in his oligopoly as his act of revenge on Othello, as he plans to get “evened with him, wife for wife” (2. 1 , 290). Sago truly believes he can accomplish this, because of his presumption that all women are promiscuous. Even a lady such as Desman with “fairness and wit, The one’s for use, the other Seth it” (2. 1, 135-136). He has confidence that Discommode will commit infidelity, due to her stereotypical need to satisfy her physical appetite.
Alas, Sago’s concept of love is no more than lust.Unfortunately, many of Sago’s concepts f women were common in the Shakespearean era. Women belonged to their fathers, and after they wed, they became their husband’s.
Society is still very much a patriarchal world. Even after hundreds of years of social development, this attitude has not been completely abolished. Especially in countries such as India, where wife burning persists, present-day society is still very much a terrifying place for women. Sago’s opinions on women as untrustworthy pieces of property, with a lascivious, sexual need, remain an unsettling mindset that lingers in modern culture.