White Supremacy In Othello

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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)

In Solomon’s interpretation of Othello, Emilia’s courage is greatly accentuated. This article puts Othello in a completely different light. Instead of the spotlight being directed on one of the main characters,
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Empson produces his information in a way where it is easy to understand and comprehend without adding in personal bias. He explains that, if anything, Iago is true to himself about his own desires. He knows what he wants and he is not afraid to put in work to get his desired results. When he is twisting the truth, “the feeling is genuine but not the sense it may imply”(180). Iago tells people variations of the truth but has such conviction and belief in his words that it would be difficult not to believe him. For instance, Desdemona had only good traits that Iago managed to turn “into a positive insult”(181) against her, such as her being fruitful and free. Iago is able to trick everyone because he believes that his words have truth to them and “thinks [them] credible”(181).
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