Harlem Duet-Modern Play Essay

1304 Words Dec 20th, 2013 6 Pages
Harlem Duet-Modern Play Essay
Despite of being declared free and living in a free society, many times characters remain restricted due to their own conflicting matters. This can be seen evidently in the play Harlem Duet through the main character, Billie. Despite all blacks being declared officially free from slavery by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Billie still feels ‘enslaved’ many times due to pressures of external factors, such as racism that still exists in society, and internal factors such as her inability to remain in control of a situation. There are many instances where a character is not in control of the situation and yet it affects them on a regular and frequent basis. These external factors, such as a racist
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Due to a racism-exiting society, while it shapes Billie’s identity, it also affects her personals relationships, especially with Othello. Although Billie’s identity is strong despite the racism in society, it weakens her ties with Othello, who does not want to be recognized as a Black person and devalues the black race. Due to their conflicting nature, they are in heated arguments, which make them say and, do things they might not mean to. For example, the quote in Act 1 Scene 4, where Othello says “I’m so tired of this race shit, Billie. There are alternatives--,” shows that he is obviously frustrated with Billie for repeating the same things on race without listening to his perception on race. Billie constantly feels like the society is coming down on black people and it is a duty of a black person to push against those forces, which Othello does not believe. He thinks there is no difference between the whites and blacks and what Billie feels is just an illusion. Because of Billie’s strong connection to her race and Othello’s disinterest towards his race and issues, they share a sharp contrast, and therefore a lot of conflicts take place between the two, some are expressed and some go without. Thus, racism existing in society emphasizes Billie’s and Othello difference in perception, due to which they have

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