Othello: Shakespeares Radical Depiction of Race in the 17th Century - Research Paper Example

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‘Othello’ is a story about a black decorated soldier who secretly married a rich white woman and found himself a victim of doubt and malice because of the color of his skin. The role of race is strongly manifested in context, form and plot of the story. …
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Othello: Shakespeares Radical Depiction of Race in the 17th Century
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Download file to see previous pages Iago then plotted his revenge by conniving with Rodrigo who is known for his admiration for Othello’s wife, Desdemona. In their discussion, the two men repeatedly mention Othello as merely a “Moore” and indicate that he is not human and doesn’t deserve to be called by his name (Halio). There is an obvious effort to degrade Othello's character by using debasing terms. Rodrigo regarded him as “What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe, If he can carry ‘t thus!” (Othello, I.i.65-66). In the 1600s, racism was accepted as a part of normal life. White Europeans regarded themselves as civilized and the black Africans as savages. Although Othello’s character in the story was accepted by the Venetian society, his demise is unavoidable because of his race, because the color of his skin is part of his nature, his blood and his primitive drives. However, it is very important to point out that Othello’s race is not the main reason why Iago despises him so much. It can be said that Iago is jealous of his master because of his high position in the military and the blissful marriage that he has with Desdemona. His hatred to Othello started at a professional level that gradually developed into an attack to the latter’s physical qualities and led to racism (Muir). Furthermore, Iago and Rodgrigo tried to sabotage the marriage of Othello and his wife by convincing Brabantio that the former forced the latter to a union without her consent. To point toward the difference of the color of the skin and stature of the two, Iago and Rodrigo called out to the senator, “An old black ram/Is tupping your white ewe” (Othello, I.i.87-88). They insinuated that Othello is still a moor, and amidst the high regard that people give to him, he is still...
The role of race is strongly manifested in context, form and plot of the story. It provided the greatest prominent substance for the struggles that become evident in the play (Bate). With the help of the villain Iago, Othello felt deceit and insecurity therefore doubted his worth too which propelled him to commit a savage act of murder. Through the manipulation of Othello and others, Iago was able to associate the color of Othello’s skin to his inconsistent behavior. He planted doubt and suspicion to his master by exposing the existence of prejudiced ideas and persuaded him to do something about it. By making Othello believe that racism exists, Othello himself created it (Coleridge).
Discrimination may be rooted from reasons of fear, jealousy, greed and aspiration for power. The most common form of discrimination is attacking the skin color since it is very easy to distinguish and an innate trait that can’t be changed (Halio).
Othello’s color was primarily an unimportant factor for most of the members of the Venetian society. It is observed that his skin color was only judged by the people who admired and respected him when he committed the cold-blooded murder of his wife. They can’t comprehend why such an irrational and brutal act can be manifested by such noble man, why a generous general would destroy his name and reputation from mere hearsay and gossip with baseless accusations (Bate).
Nonetheless, race played a key role in the story. ...Download file to see next pagesRead more
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