Theme Of Belonging In Othello

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An individual’s sense of belonging helps guide their experiences and shape the relationships they form. The need to belong fuels the formation of relationships and the connections created within these relationships heightens our sense of belonging and this, in turn, allows people to engage in worlds individuals might otherwise not have experienced. Shakespeare’s Othello explores the dynamic nature of the Moor Othello as he struggles to build a sense of belonging in Venetian society. Othello formulates relationships with Venetians and this allows him into Venice to experience the luxuries of white life. However as hard as he tries to belong, Othello never truly does and so the characters that believe in Othello’s inferiority and manipulate him…show more content…
The renaissance city Venice was home to not only prosperity but racial injustice and harmful stereotypes that created a further divide between people. Othello, already a foreigner, is dehumanised for his also different race. Being a black man absorbed by white renaissance culture has meant that his ‘pitch black’ stereotype is far harsher than those belonging to other foreigners. In Venice, Othello is out of his cultural depth and he knows it as nothing he can do can change the nature of society. Iago exploits this weakness of race to instil fear in the father of Othello's wife through the simple phrase “Or else the devil will make a grandsire out of you.” (Act 1 scene 1, line 90) Iago has used the notion that black men carry an animal like lustful sexuality, made plausible with the use of modality. The metaphor refers to Othello as the ‘devil’, a reminder of the evil that was believed to surround those of that ‘black’ ‘barbaric’ race. Iago simply has to remind Barbarossa of Othello’s race and automatically the prejudice intertwined into Venetian culture unfairly thrust his daughter's husband into a bad light. Desdemona, too, is the victim of the culture of 16th century Venice. A culture that clung to sexist tradition and societies inbuilt gender roles that separated people amongst themselves. Desdemona represents all it means to be a woman of that time. She is a wife, daughter, and lineless character that is nothing but a possession to the men around her. Despite being a major character audiences hear more of her rather than from her. This verbal oppression is explained when Iago yells “Thieves, thieves! Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags!” (Act 1, Scene 1, Line ___) The imperative tone and listing of possessions, one of which is Desdemona, proves the character of little worth, which relates to her role as a female. Desdemona is not meant to
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