The Black Man In Shakespeare's Othello

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Othello is a black general from Africa who is respected by most of his white colleagues. However, all of the racist judgment he faces throughout the play, start to make him believe he is an evil, unstable black man. When Iago tries to ruin Othello by telling Brabantio about Othello and Desdemona he uses Othello 's race and Brabantio’s racism as a scapegoat. Othello portrays Othello and black men in general as monstrous, unstable, and unreasonable making its younger black male audience believe that they could never amount to anything more than stereotypes.

Everyone in Othello uses racial slurs when talking to or describing Othello, especially one of his best men, Iago. Although Iago has to respect him he uses Othello’s race as a scapegoat
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Othello explains to the Duke that he does not fear Barbantio disapproving because he knows that he is a good general. “Her father loved me, oft invited me… From year to year- the battles, sieges, fortunes That I have passed. I ran it through, even my boyish days” (1.3.127-131). Othello believes that because he is a good general, Barbantio will be able to overlook his relationship with Desdemona. Othello is also counting on the fact that Barbantio once loved him. Ruth Vanita claims that Othello is also a good husband who has an intense love for his wife Desdemona, ‘’the difference between Othello and Shakespeare’s other jealous the far greater depth and intensity of Othello’s love for his wife’’ (1). Othello’s devotion to Desdemona is nothing in comparison to Shakespeare’s other husbands. Othello is deeply and utterly in love with Desdemona. Desdemona’s father accuses Othello of using magic to get Desdemona to fall for him but Othello reassures him that he does not use magic, he just tells stories. “...She loved me for the dangers I had passed And I loved her that she did pity them. This only is the witchcraft I have used” (1.3.66-168). Barbantio thinks that it is unnatural for his daughter to love an older black man. Because Othello understands Barbantio’s uncertainty he explains to Barbantio that despite their differences Desdemona…show more content…
As Iago manipulates Othello, Othello starts to believe that his marriage with Desdemona has become ‘’blackened’’ with lies, Othello becomes more aware of himself as a black man in a white world and begins to use racial stereotypes. He now too views blackness as something negative. “Her name, that was as fresh as Dian’s visage, is now begrimed and black as my own face” (3.3.387-391). When Othello starts to suspect that Desdemona is cheating on him he suggests that his reputation is soiled and begrimed because of her adultery. Othello slanders his race when talking about his reputation, he compares his prior good reputation to the freshness of a white face and now that Othello feels like Desdemona tainted his reputation, he compares it to his ‘begrimed and black face’. Othello starts to internalize the racist slander and now associates his reputation with his own skin; something dirty and stained. When Othello feels like he no longer has control of Desdemona he becomes unreasonable and vengeful, “arise, black vengeance, from thy hollow cell” (3.3.48). Othello believes that Desdemona is unloyal. He becomes angry and wants to get revenge on her for ruining his reputation. In Act 5, Othello becomes so Irrational, aggressive, and filled with hate that he kills the love of his life. “She’s like a liar gone to burning hell T’was I that killed her” (5.2.130-131). Iago uses
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