Shakespeare introduces race in his play Othello. Jealousy, envy, inter-racial marriage are just a few of the ways Shakespeare uses race as one of its themes in this tragic and extraordinary play. I will explore how the Venetian people view Othello’s race, how Brabanzio 's views of Othello change from trusted friend, to accusing Othello to using witchery to marry his daughter, and how Iago manipulates Othello into thinking that perhaps the color of his skin has been working against him, and how Iago uses Othello’s race against him.
Throughout history, societies have succumbed to the toxic concepts of racism, causing an unthinkable amount of chaos and devastation. While racism on its own can lead to many societal evils, racism coupled with jealousy can create a truly catastrophic force that can only lead to pure destruction. When someone of a different race and culture is placed in this kind of society, this destruction will only naturally follow. In the play Othello, William Shakespeare focuses on the tragic outcomes of Othello, a Venetian general and black Turkish Moor, and Desdemona, his white Venetian wife. Throughout the play, both covert and overt racism, assimilation, and jealous dispositions all foreshadow the untimely death of Desdemona and Othello.
Zhu Yongpeng (Roger) Mrs. Todoric ENG 4U 20 March 2018 How Marginalization and Racism Destroy Othello It is very hard for someone’s identity to not falter when they face bias and discrimination. Staying true to one’s roots requires a large amount of willpower which Othello has unfortunately lacked.
Manipulation of the African Race in Othello In William Shakespeare’s Othello, racism is a principal theme that drives the plot of the entire play. An outlier in Venice, Othello the moor or African, is targeted by his ensign Iago because Cassio who seems to be unqualified, was promoted to a lieutenant before he was. Iago is driven by envy and jealousy and creates a confusing and elaborate plan to deprive Cassio of his position. Iago also shares these envious motives with Roderigo, a man lusting over Othello’s wife.
Gender is a common thread that is woven through most major Shakespearean plays. An argument that follows the story lines of works such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and a more dominant role in Othello. Written in 1603, Othello examines the contrast between female and male characters, and where their place is in society. As this was written in a time where women were seen as the lesser sex compared to their male counterparts. Males take on more power hungry roles, drowning out the roles of females by minimizing their thoughts and actions. Othello, a man with military power as well as the other male roles such as Iago, Roderigo, Cassio and Brabantio who also hold roles with power and dominance over the female characters. This ultimately leads
A wise philosopher once stated, “Racism is man’s gravest threat to man — the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason” (Schwartsz). It is no revelation that racism often manifests hatred towards minorities. This concept has been widespread throughout the world for centuries. Racism has prevailed through several works of literature including “Othello” by William Shakespeare. In this particular play, the character, Othello, is allegedly a black man who experiences several accounts of racism from other characters, which eventually leads to his downfall. According to psychoanalysis studies, “Hate is grounded in some sense of perceived threat. It is an attitude that can give rise to hostility and aggression toward individuals or groups” (Abrams). Racism is arguably one of the strongest forms
In Cohen’s elucidation of Othello, he comments on the strong and prominent theme of white supremacy. Othello has pushed aside most, if not all, of his cultural characteristics in favor of adopting Venetian traits. He does this as a way to earn back some respect that he lost because of his skin color. Throughout the whole play, Othello is the victim of racial slurs that would demand serious punishment if they were directed at a white man. Cohen contradicts himself in this article when he says that Othello’s suicide “proclaims the triumph of the white civilization”(325) while demeaning himself, but then comments on how Othello reasserts his value with a simple statement. He goes from saying how Othello’s suicide reassured people’s beliefs that black people are inferior in their actions, to how his death left him with a clear resolution of the difficulty that he faced in his life. (150)
Words are not always interpreted by the audience as the speaker had intended. Certain words could have multiple connotations that could change the context of the word from being a praise or a nickname to a slur or an insult. In literature, there are many examples, some controversial, of words not being taken how they are meant or just the use of such words in general. In novels such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Othello, words such as the “Nigger” and “Moor” are used in such fashion to either discriminate, praise, or a blend of the two to make certain characters of color stand out amongst the other characters. The use of words that could bring up a negative connotation such as “Moor” in Othello and “Nigger” in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, should be used in educational facilities to teach students of the past so that the nation and its citizens can move past
Iago expresses he “hates the Moor” (I, iii, 368) because Othello gave the promotion to Cassio instead of him. Although a good reason to dislike Othello, not receiving a promotion should not lead to the conclusion of the murder of Othello. To continue, Iago explains that “it is thought abroad that ’twixt [his] sheets/ [Othello] done [his] office. [he] know not if’t
As the tragedy begins, Othello and Desdemona had run off and gotten married without telling Desdemona’s father. When Iago finds out he did not get the job he wanted, he tells Roderigo to “Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen”(I. I. 76-80). Brabantio, who did not know about his own daughter’s marriage, is finding out from two strangers. This allows Iago to take advantage of Barbantio’s surprise and to come in between the newly weds with his disapproval.
Since Othello utters that since he is with Desdemona, her reputation “is now begrimed and black,” it presents how a black man can tarnish the “fresh” identity of a white women. Since Othello is accepted and praised as a war hero, but not accepted as lover, love becomes a barrier that leads to a tragedy. Societal expectations push people to the point where they try to surpass society’s norms. Though, when they reach this tipping point, tragedy will
It is clear from the first scene that Roderigo is bitter towards Othello because Othello and Desdemona got married, because he also loves her and his jealousy is his motive throughout the entire play. After he saw that Othello and Desdemona were truly married, in a conversation with Iago, he stated "I will incontinently drown
Roderigo, is a young and rich man. He becomes furious when he finds out that Othello marries Desdemona. Once again we see how emotions take over the characters and commit foolish decisions. Roderigo is so in love with Desdemona that he gives all of his money to Iago because Iago promised him that he would help him win Desdemona’s love. Iago once again betrays another one of his victim.
Defining Racism To properly lay out the issue of racism in the play it is desirable to know how the term itself is defined. The Oxford English Dictionary explains Racism as follows: A belief that one’s own racial or ethnic group is superior, or that other such groups represent a threat to one 's cultural identity, racial integrity, or economic well-being; (also) a belief that the members of different racial or ethnic groups possess specific characteristics, abilities, or qualities, which can be compared and evaluated. Hence: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against people of other racial or ethnic groups.