Morals And Values In Shakespeare's Othello

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From Traditional Theatre to Dubious Drama: How Morals and Values Influence Interpretation

The play Othello by William Shakespeare was written in a time of discovery and new knowledge that lay the foundation for today’s society. Nonetheless, the traditional morals and values of the era differ vastly from the morals and values nowadays. This can be seen when looking at Othello. At the time when Othello was written, it was read by people who agreed with the morals and values that Shakespeare had incorporated in the play. However, it is still read nowadays, by people with a vastly different world view. The play would be read and interpreted differently by a member of the bourgeoisie in Elizabethan England and a 21st century middle class high school student because of their different morals and values.

First of all, the readers
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The mentioning of “black” as a characteristic of the ram shows that this is a matter of racism: Iago considers Othello to be beneath him because of his dark skin.
The modern-day reader would immediately recognize this as racism, yet the person from Elizabethan times would not. This is because nowadays, it would cause an absolute outrage to compare someone to an animal because of the colour of his or her skin, however, during Shakespeare’s time, it would not have. The fear of foreigners during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I allowed the development of racist views, whereas nowadays most people are quite tolerant of people who happen to have a different skin colour. Their morals and values teach them that everyone is equal, regardless of skin colour.

Secondly, the readers would have different feelings about the theme of “marriage” in the play Othello. According to Elizabethan values, a wife is seen as her husband’s property. An illustration of this can be found in the third scene of the second
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